My review philosophy
As this blog has grown, I’ve received requests from podcast producers for me to review their shows. First off, let me just say that this is an absolute honor. I’m very proud and flattered that creators have wanted my input on their shows. However, I want to be clear about what this blog stands for and how I plan on carrying those standards out.
Here are, what I consider, my standards and purposes for this blog:
- The purpose of my reviews on a large scale, is to help legitimize the podcasting community through serious critical review. In providing genuine, multifaceted critique, I hope to help creators strengthen their weak points, help the listeners know what to look for, and highlight exemplary podcasts.
- Wil Williams Reviews also exists to help lift up the indie podcast community. While larger podcasts, usually those that exist in networks, get plenty of press from old media, indie podcasts (and especially audio dramas) are almost always ignored. This blog exists to shine a light on smaller podcasts while showing the flaws in the bigger podcasts, both of which are ignored by traditional reporting. High-profile shows will be reviewed, of course, but I want it to be known that any podcast, regardless of listener count, can request a review.
- Wil Williams Reviews does not exist to routinely say negative things about any podcast. If the show is from a large network, I will likely write a review of why I stopped listening. If the show is an indie podcast, I likely will not. I do not see a purpose in writing negative reviews for small shows.
- Please note that this means if I write a review for your show, it still will have criticisms. While I won’t write a purely negative review, I’m also not going to say only nice things and gloss over any of what I would consider flaws in the show. This also wouldn’t be helpful for you or the podcasting community. My reviews of smaller shows will be honest and direct, but I try to make sure they are not unkind.
My review ethics
Here is a quick run-down of common reasons I will not review a podcast:
- The podcast is offensive, harmful, violent, or unnecessarily and pointedly unkind towards any group of people
- A creator on the podcast has a history of abusive, offensive, violent, etc. behavior towards others
- I already know a creator outside the realm of podcasting (e.g., if a personal friend makes a podcast)
- I have consulted on the show in the past
- The podcast is a small, independent podcast that I do not enjoy (see the last bullet point up above)
Becoming one of my supporters on Patreon will not gain you advantage when requesting reviews. Being a part of my Discord server will also not gain you advantage when requesting reviews.
Review requests versus press releases
- Review requests: Review requests are formal requests for me to write a review for your podcast. All review requests will be read and listened to if properly submitted (see below), but do not guarantee a review to be written. Review requests should only be submitted for podcasts that have produced five episodes, including episodes that have not been released but can be provided for an advance listen.
- Press releases: Press releases are short notices of something newsworthy about your podcast or network, usually relating to a new release, a new season, an exciting actor being cast, etc. Press releases will be read, but will often not get a response or an article written; they should be thought of as a way to keep me informed of important updates on your podcast or network. Press releases can be emailed to me directly and do not need to abide by the following guidelines, which are specific to review requests.
What I’m looking for
I’m looking for podcasts with a defined sense of identity. I’m looking for podcasts that will surprise me. I’m looking for podcasts made by creators who are serious about what they do, who are willing to put the work in. Here are some of the things that immediately excite me the most to see when I get review requests:
- Creators and casts that are diverse in race, gender, orientation–characters and creators with disabilities (including invisible disabilities)
- Actual play podcasts that are closely edited and feature music and/or sound design
- Nonfiction podcasts that have a unique specific single topic or novel structure
- Audio dramas that strive to innovate within the medium
What I’m (usually) not looking for
I don’t turn any podcast away simply because it doesn’t seem like the type of podcast I’ll like. I listen to at least three episodes of any podcast I receive before deciding not to review it. Here is a list of common reasons why I do wind up turning down review requests, though:
- The podcast is meant for kids. Honestly, I just don’t really know what to do with these. I’m obviously not the demographic, as I am neither kid nor mom.
- The podcast has fewer than five episodes. I write my “First Impressions” review based on five episodes, so I can’t really give reviews until a podcast has hit five. I do listen to advance copies if you’d like your show reviewed before they’re released–more on this in the “how to request a review” section.
- The podcast is conversation-only with minimal to no editing and no very, very specific topic of discussion (good examples for specificity in topic: Spirits, Most Important Meal, etc.)
- The podcast is an actual play with minimal to no editing
- Industry podcasts (e.g. podcasts focused on accounting, marketing, entrepreneurship, being an influencer) unless they have a very specific, innovative, and compelling structure, premise, and presentation
- The podcast does not do anything novel or unique, and the discussions/plot/characters/structure/etc. could be found in several other shows
- The podcast takes 10+ hours to “get good”–unless there is a moment past those 10+ hours after which anyone could jump in and miss nothing, or very little, from those 10+ hours (if this is the case, please also send the episode I should start listening on in your review request)
- The podcast has multiple Podcast Problems or does very few things on my “10 Things I Wish Every Podcasts Would Do” list
How to request a review
Review requests must be emailed to email@example.com between the 15th-20th of every month. If you require assistance with submitting your review request for accessibility purposes, please contact me.
Review requests must be sent with:
- At least one landscape-oriented header-style (not square) image of at least 800×600 resolution
- A description of your podcast
- A link to your website (can be a Libsyn, Soundcloud, Tumblr, etc. if a full site has not been made yet)
- If applicable, advance copies of the episodes you’d like me to review
- Any additional information you think would be relevant before I listen
- Written confirmation that you have read my review policies
Optional, but preferred information to send with your review request:
- A full press kit
- A trailer or short excerpt from your podcast
- Images like official art or cast and crew photos to be included in the review
- A listening guide with preferred listening order, episodes that shouldn’t be missed, etc.
- The podcast’s Twitter handle
Review requests received outside of this timeframe will be deleted, unless it has all of the following:
- A full press kit
- An upcoming important release date (e.g. a season finale, a season premier) and/or an upcoming Kickstarter, IndieGogo, etc. that the review could potentially help your podcast find supporters–please make sure to include all important dates in the body of the email
- A subject line formatted as such: “Review Request: [Show Title] [Explanation of Urgency]” (for instance, Review Request: “We Made a Podcast,” Upcoming Kickstarter)
- The rest of the requirements for a standard review
What to expect
In about 48 hours, you should receive an initial email response from me confirming I received your request. If you don’t receive an email within 48 hours, absolutely feel free to send me another email.
If I do not plan to review your show, you will receive a stock response letting you know. If you would still like feedback on your show, you could take this opportunity to use me as a consultant, should you so choose.
If I have let you know I am going to review your show, I will send you a follow-up email with further information. Please note that while I try to be mindful of upcoming important dates for your podcast, the review may take up to a full month to be posted, dependent on my posting schedule.
Thank you for your work!
Thank you all for the work you do. This community would not be nearly what it is without such incredible creators. Please know that even if your work isn’t my taste, the fact that you make it at all is something to be so proud of.