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📹 Video in podcasting and what to do about it? 💡
🤸🏻♀️We hear from industry professionals on how, if at all, can you use video for your podcasts. 🌈
Sigh. It’s quite unavoidable to talk about video in podcasting at this point. Last week alone Spotify made the creation of video podcasts possible in over 180 markets AND YouTube released a 67-page guide on getting started with podcasts on YouTube.
I (hi, Shreya here!) talked to industry professionals from different parts of podcasting, from creation to hosting, to get their honest takes on video in podcasting. From if video even belongs in podcasting to who could benefit from having a video element, we hear it all.
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Note: to make for easy reading I’ve arranged the quotes by topic. If you have a specific question or topic addressed, scroll through to find it
If you only have time for ONE thing
For some, a video component might give the show a leg up on the competition, while for others it adds nothing. This is a great time to ignore received wisdom and let your audience be the judge.
Shreya’s Top Takeaways:
Since this is a longer issue, I wanted to share my top takeaways right off the bat:
✅ Start with your audience in mind: what are their online watering holes and are these video platforms one of them?
✅ Whether or not you use video in podcasting depends on what your final goals are.
✅ Audio and video are not binary. Content that finds a way to weave them in together has a higher chance of success.
✅ There’s no doubt that video makes audio more accessible to audiences who might suffer from hearing loss. It also makes audio easier to consume for those who may not speak the language your content is in fluently.
✅ Repurposing your content is key. This does not mean simply re-sharing your content from one platform to another – think about what works for the medium and your audience on it.
Now, let’s get to it!
Quotes from the contributors have been edited for brevity and clarity.
Let’s address the
elephant in the room monkey in my brain: does video have any place in podcasting?
This is a loop I constantly get stuck in. Podcasting is supposed to be audio, right? So where does video come in? And what place does it have, if any? Thankfully, I got these folks to break it down for me.
Despite common perceptions, pure audio and video content need not be thought of as binary medium or competitors. They can both live together, we are constantly surrounded by screens, why not have the option to take advantage of that "white space" and open up new avenues for engagement and monetization.
I think it’s impossible for podcasters to avoid video nowadays. However, I still think that what distinguishes podcasts from YouTube series is that podcasts are audio-first. Video can be a great tool to add something additional to your podcast (short video clips used for promo tools, videos for post-listening watching to provide additional context, etc), but at the end of the day, podcasts are so powerful because you can engage with them while multitasking.
Video, and in particular YouTube, can play a role in discovery and distribution - there is no better content search engine than YouTube. But you don’t need to just dump your audio show there. What else could you do in a short form piece of native video content that could bring attention to your show?
Someone has to ask it: does video, in any way, disturb the “sanctity” of podcasting as a medium?
When talking about video in podcasting, I get a range of reactions from nose-wrinkling to eyebrow-raising. There’s this unsaid almost-gatekeeper-like question of “yeah but aren't podcasts audio-only?”
Here’s what my contributors had to say.
The power of audio is that users can create and dive into a world of their imagination while breaking all unconscious limitations that the eye has. Hearing is the most intimate sense; a voice alone can calm you. Social media apps are causing a certain saturation of video. Additionally, audio is also made to be consumed on-the-go, during times where video cannot be watched: commuting, working out.
Speaking of how we consume audio and video, Nathan Iyer shares:
Audio, primarily driven by our ears, is a passive experience generally consumed in a “lean-back” mode. Video, driven by our eyes, is more immersive; it can be digitally interactive and often requires our undivided attention. Consumer insights and performance metrics provided by video programming go far deeper than what audio does in both detail and accuracy. This is one reason why video programming attracts a greater amount of advertising dollars.
Lama often tells me that she and Podeo are as they call it, team audio. Which has made me wonder if there’s such a thing as team audio or video? Annalise Nielsen brings up an interesting point:
My only concern with this new focus on video in podcasting is that the distinction between a “podcast” and a “YouTube series” is blurring. I think it would be a mistake to forget about the power of an audio-first medium. But, as an industry we need to be open to pivoting and meeting our audiences where they are.
Tom Webster reminds us who we’re actually creating content for:
I have always been a proponent of figuring out where your potential audience already aggregates, and then crafting content for that channel or environment. You stand a better chance doing that than trying to change two behaviors at once (“try my show,” and “go to this new platform to hear it.”) Anyway, I’ve never thought podcasting was sanctified to begin with ;).
Let’s be real: what kind of content could actually benefit from having a video component?
Lama Masri says it depends on what you want to achieve:
It goes back to the initial podcast goals set by the podcaster. Are your goals brand awareness or simply entertainment? Any podcast can use video as a supporting marketing tool as long it’s aligned with the goals.
Nathan Iyer shares that a video component might work better for some than others:
Crime, Sports, Travel, Food podcasts can definitely benefit from having a visual option. Any content that can take advantage of a visual medium is a good candidate for it. A video layer on top of a podcast when used carefully, could be used as leverage to create additional engagement.
What’s the role of video, from an accessibility point of view?
Video could potentially open up the world of audio to a wider audience, in many ways. Let’s hear what my contributors had to say.
Annalise keeps it focused:
Live captioning on YouTube can change the game for those that are hearing impaired, and video even allows for ASL translations of podcasts.
Nathan draws on data to express the benefits of video in audio:
More than 5% of the global population suffers from hearing loss, which is 360 million. The end users benefiting from captions are not only people with hearing loss but also those for whom English is not the primary language. Or it could be someone who is in a distracted environment where they can't turn up the volume and so are able to turn the captions on if available and enjoy the podcast.
What’s the role of video in growing my audience? (Plus, some real challenges.)
Annalise shares how pivotal video in all forms can be for podcasters looking to grow their audiences:
YouTube can totally change the game for discoverability of your podcast– that’s the main reason I would recommend podcasters not ignore video altogether. Beyond YouTube, TikTok’s algorithm keeps working hard and a short clip from your podcast can easily go viral on TikTok and bring lots of new awareness to your podcast.
But, this does not come without challenges.
The conversion rates for someone discovering your show on YouTube or TikTok, to moving over to downloading the audio version of your podcast, are probably not going to be super impressive. But if it’s possible to build a presence for your podcast on YouTube or TikTok without too big of an investment, the payoff could still be great in terms of audience growth.
Nathan shares a very real obstacle when it comes to including video:
The most common reason why creators make audio podcasts is it does not cost as much to produce as compared to a video and it works for people who are camera shy. Creating a video-first podcast is expensive, time prohibitive, requires expertise, special video equipment, post-production software, or editors. However, there are tools, such as Adori, that can support with that. (sorry for the shameless plug here!)
Tom offers what might and might not work when thinking audience growth on YouTube:
I don’t know that audio-only content is going to fare well there. I think the key is to make a different thing, a thing for YouTube, with detailed descriptions/metadata that enables it to be both findable and recommendable. And maybe that is the thing that pulls people to listen to more of your content. I don’t think it’s a trailer—trailers aren’t necessarily what people are seeking. But crafting a compelling, short video that entertains and leaves people wanting more - shouldn’t that always be our goal?
What it comes down to: whether or how to use video in podcasting?
As Tom said, ignore this received wisdom (I know I’m undermining this whole issue here but come on!) to let your audience be the judge.
To summarize, it really does come down to:
Your budget (both time and money)
I hope this gave you a little clarity and things to ponder upon, when considering the role of video in your podcast.
✨ From the desk of TINK ✨
Grief, like joy, is one of our human conditions. Yet it is the one we, as Americans, are the least willing to confront, even as it becomes more essential to do so than ever. We prize pushing forward, but maybe it’s time to pause. As we emerge from the catastrophic losses of the pandemic — and wrestle with the regular traumas of modern life — how do we heal ourselves to plant seeds for our future? What wisdom can we call upon to create hope for a more introspective, joyful and honest culture?
Grief, Collected tackles how we begin to grieve, and how America, and Americans, can begin to recover its sense of self after such immense loss.
Rebecca Lehrer and Amy S. Choi, of The Mash-Up Americans, examine American culture’s unique relationship to grief, how we can make a shift towards creating grieving practices, the risks we take if we don’t properly grieve what we’ve lost — and what clarity, empathy, and liberation we can gain if we do.
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Quick editorial note: Hi! It’s Shreya again👋🏽 . This is going to be my last Podcast Marketing Magic issue until next year. I am taking it easy until the end of this year because burnout (yay?). Bless Lauren and Devin for allowing the space for that. I’ll be planning our editorial calendar for 2023 so if there’s ANYTHING you want us to cover, drop it in the comments or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. (But expect a delayed response to that email).
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