How to record great podcast ads

Last week, we read an article by Ashley Carman for The Verge, a roundup of podcast ads that have gone wrong. As the podcasting industry is moving towards programmatic advertising, the automated technology is intended to place ads with minimal effort required from podcasters. 

However, the technology is causing problems for some shows as ads show up in places they shouldn’t, have little relevance to the show, or are inappropriate for the audience. As a result, the trust and connection that creators work so hard to build are in jeopardy. 

So that you can avoid your podcast experiencing the same fate, we’re sharing our top tips on creating podcast ads that actually work.  

Creating effective podcast adverts
Whether you’ve secured a sponsor for your podcast or you’re organically plugging brands you’re a genuine fan of, always keep these things in mind. 

Keep it short & sweet
Podcast ads used to be around 30 seconds long; they’ve gotten longer over the years. So, to avoid your listeners skipping your ad, keep it short & sweet – ideally around 30 seconds. 

Avoid repetition
Chances are, you’ll be including multiple ads into one episode. If you’re exclusively promoting one brand, switch up your ads. Use those 30 seconds to introduce something new, mention a new feature or share some advice. Remember, if your users are listening to your podcast consistently, they don’t want to hear the exact same ad week on week. 

Go off-script
If your sponsor has given you a script and it’s the same script that every other podcaster uses, push to go off-script. Even if you genuinely like the brand or product you’re plugging, if listeners have heard the exact same ad elsewhere, they’re going to tune out very quickly. More importantly, your ad may come across as inauthentic and damage the trust you’ve established with your audience. 

Be strategic with your placement
Whether you choose to go for pre-roll or mid-roll ads is an important consideration. Think about how your ad placement will impact user experience and use it to guide your ad placement in a non-intrusive and logical way. For example, if you’re discussing a sensitive topic, cutting to an ad midway will ultimately hinder the impact.  

If you’re using automated ads, it can be more challenging to naturally lead up to an ad. However, try to let listeners know there will be a quick break, even with something as simple as ‘we’ll be back shortly’. 

Include a clear call to action
Within your short and sweet ads, keep your call-to-action crystal clear so your listeners will take the intended action. For example, let listeners know whether you want them to use a unique promo code, sign up for a service or follow a specific URL. 

Make use of show notes
If you have a code or link to share, include them in your show notes so that your listeners don’t have to do any heavy lifting. The easier it is, the more likely they are to take action. 

If you’ve read our other articles, you’ll already know how critical authenticity is. So, when you’re planning podcast ads and sponsors, our final word of advice is to keep integrity at the forefront. For more on securing the perfect sponsor, click here

If you need some inspiration for your podcast ads, check out really good podcast ads, the world’s largest database of podcasts and advertisers. 

What’s driving the podcast movement?

In recent years, podcasting has become increasingly popular and rightly so. As millions are taking to the mic to share their stories as a full-time job, hobby or side hustle, we’re about to see a whole lot more of that, according to Acast. In a recent survey by the world’s leading independent podcast company, more than 1 in 10 brits plan to start a podcast this year. 

In the survey of 500 people in the UK, 12.4% said they intend to join the world of podcasting this year, with 42% of those sharing that the decision was a new year’s resolution. The survey also found that 60% of these respondent’s plan to launch their show in Q1, with February being the most popular month. 

If Acast’s findings truly reflect the wider British public, we can expect to see around 8 million new shows launched in 2022. 

According to The Infinite Dial 2021, over 27 million brits have listened to a podcast in the last month. Of the 16.7 million that listen weekly, a third enjoy four or five episodes, with over a third (35%) listening to 6 to 10 episodes a week. In a nutshell, around 70 million podcast episodes are consumed each week in the UK. 

So, what’s driving the podcast movement? 

A shift in the way we consume
With multiple lockdowns and more time on our hands, COVID-19 has contributed to the growth of podcasts, with 44% of Brits consuming more podcasts since the start of the pandemic. With listeners turning to podcasts to learn new things, explore new cultures, join debates, improve their mental health and escape from everyday life, the evergrowing medium has become part of everyday life for many of us. 

As consumers had more time to listen, creators had more time to record. With everyone from celebrities and industry experts to brands and individuals finding their voice, the past two years have seen creators embrace podcasting like never before. 

The power of technology
Thanks to the mass adoption of Zoom, recording a podcast became easier than ever as both the logistics and costs associated with recording were now eliminated. In addition to the world embracing a virtual connection, with user-friendly audio creation and hosting platforms, the power of technology has made podcasting an accessible medium for creators worldwide. 

Demand for authentic voices
Consumers have been turning to new mediums for trusted voices in recent years, with both social media and podcasting becoming a go-to source for the masses. As many creators have found their voice through social media, podcasting has become an extension, allowing them to foster deeper connections with their audience. 

Last year, we delved into Gen Z listening habits finding that 40% of Gen Z listeners trust podcasts over traditional media sources, including newspapers, radio, and national TV news. Further research has found that it’s much the same across the board. As creators take to the mic to share their unfiltered views on every cultural area, from dating and careers to politics and crypto, audiences value the authenticity that traditional media often lacks. 

If you’re keen to launch a podcast this year, the Content is Queen community is on hand to help you tell your story – find out more about our membership here

Before you take to the mic, check out these five lessons in podcasting from Steven Bartlett, the voice of the leading podcast, The Diary of a CEO. 

Finding sponsors for your podcast

We know that listeners turn to podcasts for authenticity and trusted voices. Therefore, your engaged listeners are perfectly primed to act based on your recommendation. Brands know this, and they’re ready to take advantage. In this article, we’re on hand to help you secure the bag and find a sponsor for your podcast. Finding podcast sponsors is the easy part; finding the right ones is what makes all the difference. If you’re ready to cash in without compromising your values, read on. 

How podcast sponsorship works 

Typically speaking, podcast sponsorship is set up in three formats, CPM (cost per mille), CPA (cost per action) and value-based model. 


With a CPM sponsor, brands will pay you an agreed fee per every 1,000 downloads. While it can vary for each platform and based on the type of ad, with A cast you expect to earn between £4-25 per 1,000 downloads. 

CPA – affiliate basis 

While CPM works well for bigger shows, a CPA model often works best for podcasts with a smaller audience. With a cost per action agreement, your sponsor will reward you for every action – this may be the number of sales, sign-ups, or downloads you drive for them. To measure this, your sponsor may provide you with a unique tracking link or referral code. 

Bonus: with affiliates, you won’t need to offer exclusivity, so you can promote brands that align with your audience on your podcast and across your socials to generate additional income.

Value-based model  

Podcasters with a highly engaged following may find that a value-based model will work best. In this case, advertisers will pay you a flat rate to promote their product or service, regardless of download numbers.

Preparing for podcast sponsorship

Now that we’ve covered the basics of podcast sponsorship, here are three of our top tips to ensure your ready to start reaching out to your ideal sponsors.  

  • Know your niche – after you’ve worked hard to build the trust of your listeners, you’ll want to team up with a sponsor that truly aligns with your brand in order to maintain that trust. Before you start your outreach, ensuring you’re crystal clear on your niche and your audience’s interests is essential. 
  • Prepare a quality pitch – this is your chance to showcase why a brand should sponsor you. In addition to crafting personalised emails, you should create a media kit that includes a description of your podcast, your stats and audience demographics, links to your socials and clips from your podcast. 
  • Fine-tune your marketing strategy – not only will having a solid marketing plan in place benefit your future sponsor, but it benefits your podcast. Take the time to solidify your marketing strategy and showcase it to potential sponsors. If a brand believes in your vision, they’re more likely to invest in you.  

Five ways you can secure podcast sponsorship 

  1. Pitch directly

Granted, pitching directly can be daunting and time-consuming. However, building genuine connections with brands that align with your podcast is an excellent starting point. Furthermore, pitching directly removes the need for any third-party involvement, meaning more money in your back pocket. 

  1. Join a podcast network 

One of the biggest pros of joining a podcast network is the sponsorship opportunities. But, on the flip side, one of the biggest cons is revenue share – weigh up your options after reading our take here

  1. Partner with a hosting service 

Many hosting platforms such as Anchor, Buzzsprout and Transistor offer the tools to monetise your podcast and connect with potential sponsors. 

  1. Use a podcast ad marketplace

Podcast marketplaces connect brands with podcasters looking for a sponsorship deal. While competition can be high, you may strike gold on the marketplace with brands offering as much as 30% commission. If you’re not sure where to start, check out Podcorn, Gumball and  Acast

  1. Join affiliate programs 

As we mentioned earlier, joining affiliate programs is a great way to establish partnerships with brands. Using platforms such as AWIN or Skimlinks, you can join programs for hundreds of brands and start earning commission right away. Once you’re able to showcase your value to a particular brand, it may open up conversations around sponsorship. 

Finding the right sponsor can feel like an uphill battle. However, this is something you’ll want to get right from the offset. If you could use the help of a supportive podcasting community, Content is Queen has got you covered – find out more about our membership here. Good luck & happy podcasting! 

Is Spotify is trying to dominate audio?

Last month, streaming giants Spotify announced that they’re acquiring leading audiobook platform Findaway. As the company plans to spend an ‘undisclosed amount of money’ to purchase the platform, they continue their plan to become the go-to place we consume all audio content.

As part of the announcement, Spotify said: “Together, Spotify and Findaway will accelerate Spotify’s entry into the audiobook space and continue to innovate the industry, working to remove current limitations and unlock better economic tools for creators. Findaway’s technology infrastructure will enable Spotify to quickly scale its audiobook catalogue and innovate on the experience for consumers, simultaneously providing new avenues for publishers and authors to reach audiences around the globe.” 

As Spotify aim to become the leading platform for music, podcasts and now audiobooks, there’s a lot to unpack as we explore their latest move further. 

Money talks 

There’s a lot of money to be made in the audiobook space, hence why Spotify is keen to tap into the market. According to reports from Statista, sales revenue from consumer audiobook downloads in the UK reached £133 million in 2020, up from £97 million the previous year. Much like the UK, stats have followed an upward trend in the US since 2018 as sales revenue reached an impressive $1.3 billion in 2020. 

One of the most interesting aspects of the acquisition is that Findaway currently distributes and displays audiobooks for various apps and platforms, including Kobo, public libraries, and their biggest competitor in podcasting and music, Apple. So simply put, there is real potential that Spotify will be supplying audiobooks to Apple. 

As Spotify is also set to become a bookseller in 2022, it’s safe to say there’s some serious money to be made. 

A single destination for audio 

Spotify setting itself up as a one-stop-shop where you can stream your favourite album, tune in to your favourite podcast, and digest a couple of chapters of a book. If you want our two pence, we predict that Spotify will indeed be dominating the audio in the next five years. In the digital age, we know what listeners value convenience. With Spotify set to house music, podcasts and audiobooks in one space, it certainly offers convenience like never before. 

Another key driver for listeners is often cost, so if Spotify can roll all three audio formats into one affordable monthly subscription, they could win over listeners from competitors. Furthermore, with a huge database of engaged listeners that they know well, Spotify is exceptionally well-positioned to influence listeners’ habits to their advantage. 

The battle for Gen Z Listening

Recent data showcases that digital audio has benefited from the UK lockdowns. According to forecasts by emarketer, digital audio listeners will continuously rise until 2024, as they’ve forecasted an impressive 39.3 million listeners next year. 

With Spotify being the preferred streaming platform for 68.4% of Gen Z listeners, will they win the battle for Gen Z audiobook listeners? If they’re able to emulate their success with podcasting, they likely will. 

As we know, Gen Z turns to podcasts for escapism and healing, diverse and trusted voices and storytelling. So, there’s certainly an opportunity for Spotify to position itself as the new audiobook destination for this particular audience. 

According to a survey released on 1 December by Dolby Laboratories, Gen Z is big on quality. Nearly half of those surveyed who pay for a music streaming subscription want access to the latest cutting-edge audio technologies with their plan. Comparing various types of in-car entertainment, most see the biggest opportunity for enhancing the listening experience when enjoying music in the car (43 per cent), followed by audiobooks and podcasts (23 percent). The takeaway? If Spotify continues to deliver a high-quality listening experience across all three mediums, it’ll continue to be the preferred platform for Gen Z. 

According to reports, Spotify is tipped to overtake Apple as the largest podcast provider before the end of 2021. After moving into the podcasting space just over two years ago, is it just a matter of time before they dominate the audiobook space too?  

A Numbers Game: Can indie podcasters still make it to the top in the UK?

Another day, another debate. In a recent discussion within the podcasting community, numbers took centre stage. So, in this article, we’re sharing the numbers that could bag you the top spot as we explore if indie podcasters can still make it to the top in UK podcasting. 

Competing with the giants 

With the likes of Joe Rogan, Kim Kardashian West and the Obamas signing multimillion-dollar deals, what does that mean for indie podcasters? In an article titled “listen up: why indie podcasts are in peril” [Guardian, August 2021], Miranda Sawyer said: “Podcasting, which has been around for about 15 years, is getting its moment in the fiscal sun. We’ve all heard the argument for big money: if cash goes in at the top of a culture, it eventually swirls down and benefits the smaller people.” 

She continued, “Still, Big Money does have a tendency to invest in names it understands (celebrities), or take smaller ideas, brush them up (add celebrities) and make them commercial. In doing so, it can stomp on cultural ecosystems and creative support networks that have been built up over the years. Money skews attention, brings in PR and marketing teams against which smaller shows cannot compete.” 

While Miranda presents some valid points, there’s no need to throw in the towel because the space is becoming more competitive. There are plenty of indie podcasts killing it right now, and you absolutely can too.

At the time of writing, the Chartable Top Spotify Podcasts in Great Britain is peppered with independent podcasts. Today [18 Nov 2021], Sweet Bobby sits at number 10, while The Diary Of A CEO with Steven Bartlett takes the 13th spot (You can read our article of The Five Lessons you can learn from Steven here). The Girls Bathroom is number 26 and For You From Eve is number 30, climbing 11 places this week. One of the most significant climbs up the podcasting ranks comes from Girls That Invest, which currently sits at 36, climbing an impressive 22 spots, while Feel Better, Live More with Dr Rangan Chatterjee sits at 46. 

What do these podcasts have in common? They’re all independent, and thanks to their loyal listeners, consistently in the charts. Are you ready to join them? 

The Numbers
In a 2020 episode of Buzzcast with Tom Rossi – co-founder of podcast hosting platform, Buzzsprout – they explored how many downloads the average podcaster using Buzzsprout gets in 2020. 

 According to their data, in a 30-day period:

  • 98 downloads put you in the Top 50% of podcasts
  • 302 downloads put you in the Top 25% of podcasts
  • 982 downloads put you in the Top 10% of podcasts
  • 2,373 downloads put you in the Top 5% of podcasts
  • 14,959 downloads put you in the Top 1% of podcasts 

While numbers aren’t everything, these stats are a useful gauge of where you’re at now and the kind of numbers that will get you where you want to be. Of course, to get there, you’ve got to do the work and the shameless self-promotion that goes alongside.  

Advocating for your indie podcast   

If you’re keen to move up the ranks and take on the podcasting giants, you need to be your own biggest fan. If you just want to get your message out there, that’s also fine. 

Here are some tips / advice / thoughts from some members of our network. 

‘As independent podcasters without a celebrity host, we know we have to work twice as hard as others to get attention. First things first: we’re dedicated to making a good podcast with a unique format and high-quality production. That’s easily within our control. Beyond that, we’ve worked hard to build our audience through making connections with like-minded organisations and individuals, on social media and offline. Sometimes this is through the people we interview for the podcast, sometimes it’s ‘only’ for audience development. For The Log Books to work, it has to be from and for our community. It’d be a mistake to think we could get an audience without putting in the work to develop connections with our community.’

Adam Zmith, co-producer of The Log Books podcast

‘I think with The Breakup Monologues, my initial priority was to have a consistent brand across different platforms. I always hoped that the podcast would also become a book, audiobook and a live show. Given that they have the same title, each can bring people to the other strands. I also set about using my PR skills acquired during my time as a freelance publicist to get press coverage for the show. A strong clippings folder of reviews and features seemed like a good piece of ammunition to have.’ 

Rosie Wilby from The Breakup Monologues 

‘We are very much resistant to the ‘market of podcasting’ and neoliberal projections of growth. We are interested in broadcasting inclusive political education in a conversational format that makes academic research accessible. Our ambition isn’t to compete with celebrity-facing podcasts, nor are we concerned with chasing downloads or streams. We record and produce our podcast in a hope that it might help people who broadly agree on most aspects of social and political life to better understand the structures and histories instrumental to the shaping of society and how the proliferation of local and global inequalities persist. Emancipatory education is our priority and if more people join us whilst we keep this at the forefront of our work – great!’ 

Chantelle Lewis, Tissot Regis & George Ofori-Addo from Surviving Society 

If you’re ready to take your podcasts to the next level with the support of Content is Queen and our incredible community of indie podcasters, find out more about our membership options here

Weighing it up: the pros and cons of podcast networks

Some of the most popular podcasts in the UK and beyond belong to a podcast network. In this article, we’re exploring what joining a podcast network would mean for you as we weigh up the pros and cons. If you’ve been pondering about joining a network, you’ll want to read this. 

The basics of a podcast network 

Simply put, podcast networks are a collection of podcasts that share a common goal – to grow. The podcasts that are part of the network can be produced, distributed, or promoted to advertisers and listeners through a single company. Typically speaking, the podcasts under one network are often connected by similar themes or audiences. 

Networks vary significantly; from one of the longest-running networks, Quick and Dirty Tips which gets 2 million monthly downloads, to more niche offerings such as LadyGang, there is a wide variety on offer. 

How podcast networks operate 

Although some podcast networks are ad-free, most networks help podcasters become more visible to advertisers. Once you’ve joined a podcast network, your network will likely promote your show on their other shows, support your digital marketing efforts, and connect you with sponsors for your show. 

Of course, such a platform comes at a cost and, often, strict entry requirements. While it varies from network to network, the typical requirements include: 

  • Ad revenue sharing – which is usually a 70/30 split 
  • Frequency – at least one episode each week
  • Downloads – typically 1,000 per episode or 5,000 per month (note, larger networks often have higher requirements)
  • Cross-promotion of other shows within the network 

So, now that we’ve covered a top-line overview of podcast networks let’s delve into the pros and cons. 

Podcast Network Pros

Sponsorship opportunities – your network will offer you access to high-paying advertisers, the kind of sponsorships that can be difficult to access on your own. Plus, as networks do the leg work, you can focus on creating content. 

Boosted visibility – as mentioned earlier, many networks will work with podcasts with similar themes or audiences. By joining a network, your show will be in front of thousands of listeners who are your target audience. 

Production support – while not all networks offer production support, many do, which will allow you to ensure your show is of the highest possible quality. 

Credibility – to do well in podcasting, you need trust. Being part of a recognised network often adds credibility and gives your show greater authority. 

Networking opportunities – from meeting like-minded podcasters to finding guests to interview, joining a network is an excellent way to find valuable connections that will help you grow your pod. 

Marketing support – in addition to the opportunity for cross-promotion, some networks will also support you with your marketing strategy. So, be sure to check out what each network is offering. 

Improved insights – networks boast the resources to pull together an in-depth analysis of listener data, which is key to growing your podcast. 

Podcast Network Cons 

Potential loss of creative control – As of now, you’re in complete control of your podcast. However, some networks will ask you to hand over veto power on your content, ultimately giving you less control and creative freedom. 

Revenue share – as mentioned earlier, you’ll have to share your revenue with your network. Typically, you can expect to give 30% back to your network, although it does vary. 

You may have to switch hosting services – it’s not uncommon for a network to want all of their shows hosted and produced using the same platform. Not only can this be an inconvenience, but you may also lose loyal listeners. 

You’ll likely have to end existing sponsorships – if you already have sponsors for your podcast, you’ll likely have to bid them farewell as your network requests exclusive rights and control over your sponsors and advertisers. 

Despite the many benefits of joining a podcast network, there is no guarantee of success. If you’re thinking about joining a network, take the time to carefully consider the pros and cons and what they mean to your podcast. While for many, the pros will outweigh the cons, ultimately, only you can make the decision. As a word of parting advice, do your research, speak to fellow podcasters and take the time you need to make an informed decision. 

If joining a network isn’t suitable for you, perhaps becoming a member of our supportive and knowledgeable community is the next step for you. 

Five lessons in podcasting from Steven Bartlett

If you’re not familiar with Steven Bartlett, you should be. Steven is the founder of world-renowned agency Social Chain, serial entrepreneur, recently appointed Dragon and the creator of The Diary Of A CEO, a podcast that makes him $1.2 million a year. In this article, we’re sharing five lessons in podcasting from the man himself. 

Lesson 1: Authenticity always

“Without further ado, I’m Steven Bartlett, and this is a diary of a CEO. I hope nobody’s listening, but if you are, please keep it to yourself” started as an off the cuff statement when he recorded his first-ever episode solo. Today, it’s Steven’s signature intro to every episode. 

Since launching four years ago, Steven has created a safe space for himself and his guests to speak openly and honestly, despite those conversations airing to tens of thousands of people. How? By being his authentic self from the offset. Steven’s vulnerability not only fosters connection with his audience but genuine friendship with his guests. So, if you take just one lesson from this article, let it be this. 

Lesson 2: Consistency is key

Speaking on the importance of consistency, Steven explained, “Whenever I was consistent, and I managed to publish predictably, every Monday for several weeks in a row, the podcast audience would grow and grow and grow.” 

After identifying the value in being consistent, Steven pledged to publish a new episode every Monday without fail. From that point onwards, he’s been on an upwards trajectory of growth. As creatures of habit, your audience will value predictability. So, never overlook the power of consistency; it can make all the difference. 

Lesson 3: Never compromise quality 

Setting a high standard should be equally as important as consistency when it comes to your podcasting. Describing a deep sense of responsibility to deliver quality to his audience, Steven focuses on providing value within every episode. So much so, Steven has filmed entire episodes with hugely popular guests and decided not to publish them in the name of quality. Steven’s particular, and you should be too. 

Lesson 4: Leverage your guests

Carefully consider your guests and how they’ll allow you to tap into wider audiences. For example, by inviting industry leaders, voices and gatekeepers to join you, you’ll be able to reach new audiences and leverage their existing community to grow your podcast. 

Lesson 5: Remember your non-financial drivers 

From having a genuine impact and connecting with his audience to reflecting and learning from his personal experiences, Steven highlights the importance of knowing why you started your podcast and new reasons to keep going. So, when we take away the potential income, be clear on your ‘why’ and never forget it. Sometimes, you have to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. 

If you have 30-minutes to spare, we highly recommend you watch How I Make $1.2 Million A Year From This Podcast. You’ll be learning from one of the best. If you’re ready to put these lessons into practice with the help and support of the Content is Queen community, find out more about our membership here


Owning your audio: Does NYT Audio have the power to transform the podcasting landscape?

Last month [12 October], The New York Times announced it sought volunteers to beta test its newest experiment, New York Times Audio. The new app for audio journalism and storytelling will be the go-to for all the audio offerings under The Times’ including podcasts, read-aloud journalism from the likes of New York Magazine, Rolling Stone and BuzzFeed News, Audm-produced pieces and more.

In the words of The Times’, “We’re building something to help you understand the world, just by listening.” The publishing giants added: “With New York Times Audio, you’ll find context and clarity on current events, perspectives that will challenge your own stories that will entertain and illuminate. And it’ll all be curated by our editors.” 

What does this mean for the podcasting landscape? In short, if the Beta test is successful and the app captures its intended audience, other publishers may follow suit and remove the middlemen too. 

In an article for Adweek, Mark Stenberg explored how the potential success of the platform could change the game, explaining: “If The Times builds a standalone audio product that succeeds in attracting repeat listeners, it could mark a new era in the audio industry. The last decade has bred a reticence amongst media companies to rest their content strategy on algorithmically driven third-party platforms, but publishers have largely ceded control of their audio distribution to companies like Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Amazon. In testing the willingness of its audience to seek out its content on a standalone app, The Times is gauging the viability of an owned-and-operated product, which would reduce its reliance on intermediaries, as well as offer a host of data and advertising advantages.”

Will we see media companies such as Bloomberg Media, The Wall Street Journal, or Vox Media follow suit if this is a success? We think so!

Potential benefits 

With benefits to both the publisher and its audience, the New York Times App is an exciting development in the podcasting space. For publishers, such a development will allow increased control and more accurate data, ultimately benefiting listeners. 

From a listener’s perspective, as a result of improved data, they’ll experience improved recommendations, more personalised ads and a one-stop-shop for their favourite audio products.  

Potential drawbacks 

While there are plenty of benefits to media companies owning their audio, there are also drawbacks, particularly when it comes to podcasting. 

Firstly, we need to consider user behaviour. For example, are listeners really likely to download apps for each media company, or will they continue to favour streaming platforms that play home to a wealth of content from varied publishers? 

Secondly, podcast listeners often discover new podcasts on streaming platforms through recommendations and ratings. So, while publisher-owned apps allow for tailored suggestions, limiting those recommendations to purely their own content is a significant downfall. 

As we continue to consider the benefits and apparent drawbacks, it will be interesting to see how this plays out. So, we’ll be watching closely over the coming months! 

If you’re keen to beta test the new app, you can register your interest here

The Rise of the Vodcast

Is it a podcast if it’s only on YouTube? More importantly, does it really matter? 

As the audio and visual space has expanded rapidly in recent years, vodcasts are becoming more and more popular. In this article, we’re exploring the rise of vodcasts as we aim to help you decide which medium is best suited to you. 

A vodcast, video podcast, is a step beyond traditional podcasting. But can you have one without the other?

The differences between vodcasts and podcasts

One of the most apparent differences between vodcasts and podcasts is that it’s relatively easy to convert video content into audio, but not vice versa. So, while you can take audio from your video and repurpose it as a podcast, it’s not as straightforward to turn audio into video content.

So, if you’re planning on delivering your content across several mediums, vodcasting would be an excellent place to start, providing you’re comfortable on camera. In addition to having the ability to transform your video content into a podcast, you’ll be able to create video content to use across socials and plug your pod. 

Is accessibility a key factor for you? It should be. When considering accessibility, it’s clear that video is a step ahead of audio technology. With closed captioning, speed adjustment, and lip-reading potential, vodcasting offers an immersive experience that podcasting alone can lack. 

On the flip side, one of the pitfalls of creating video first podcasts is that creators can almost forget that their audience can’t see them when converted into audio. As a result, hosts may rely on body language and implied knowledge which gets lost in the audio version and ultimately takes away from experience.

If we were to go down a rabbit hole of comparing the two mediums and their pros and cons, we’d be here all day. So, let’s cut to the chase. 

Ultimately, you are the decider of your fate regarding video vs audio; personal preference plays a big part here. With that said, it’s worth considering the stats when choosing your medium. So, if you’re undecided on vodcasting, read on…

Video stats 

  • Online videos will make up more than 82% of all consumer internet traffic – 15 times higher than in 2017. There’s no denying video is on the rise. Are you ready to be on the right side of the trend? 
  • 78% of people watch online videos each week, with 55% viewing online videos every day. While podcasting is on the rise, video stats are significantly higher when it comes to regular consumption. 
  • 72% of customers prefer learning about a product or service through a video – something to bear in mind when it comes to sponsorships, right? 
  • Viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it through video. Does this mean video content is the best medium for storytelling? Maybe so. 
  • 92% of mobile users share videos with others. When it comes to reaching your audience, shareability is an important consideration! 
  • The average YouTube views from mobile devices last more than 40 minutes. While humans generally have a short attention span, this stat tells a different story! Once you’ve hooked them in, you’ll win over dedicated watchers. 
  • 1.5 billion YouTube users play 1 billion hours of video each day. Granted, that’s a lot of competition, but equally, it’s a whole lot of potential! Are you ready to tap into it?
    Source (Social Media Week)  

Is vodcasting for you?

Thanks to the versatility, accessibility and the fact that you can easily repurpose vodcasts, it’s easy to see why many creators favour vodcasting, but that doesn’t mean a video-first approach is free of limitations. 

While podcasting requires a lot of skill, the demands increase when it comes to vodcasting. Successfully shooting a vodcast goes far beyond a simple point and shoot setup. When weighing up your options, ask yourself the following (and answer honestly!):

  • Are you comfortable on camera? 
  • Are you confident you can create and edit video content? If the answer is no, do you have the budget to pay for the expertise you require? 
  • Do you have a space to shoot your vodcast?
  • Is there anything you can do to make your podcast more accessible without the need for video? 
  • Are there any limitations to vodcasting for you? 

While we’d love to give you all of the answers, the choice is ultimately yours – you know your audience, goals and capabilities best. 

If you’re keen to explore the pros and cons further, check out this video from the creator of Smart Passive Income, Pat Flynn. 

Happy Podcasting! … Or Vodcasting

An Accessibility Game-changer

Have Vox Media cracked podcast accessibility once and for all?  

Many of us listen to podcasts regularly. What If we could hear and feel them too? Thanks to Vox Media, we can. If you’re not familiar with their immersive transcript, you’re in for a treat. Simply put, this is a game-changer. 

For their new show, More Than This, Vox Media has transformed the way we consume podcasts. In a bid to recreate the podcast experience to be accessible to deaf and hard of hearing audiences, the immersive transcript was born.

(Screenshot from More Than This transcript)

Giving an option for their audience to “experience the podcast visually”, Vox Media have injected life into transcripts, an element of podcasting that is often an afterthought. Generally speaking, automated transcription often leads to inaccuracies and omissions of the elements that make the audio version so captivating. Putting transcripts at the forefront of this project, Vox Media have created a series of beautifully designed transcripts that emulate the listening experience of podcasting perfectly.

Speaking on the project, Annu Subramanian, supervising producer of audio at Vox Creative, explained: “We know transcripts are a popular product in podcasting, but with the features, we built for More Than This, we wanted to elevate the experience of a transcript, by making it more visual by translating the emotions, pacing, and atmosphere of the podcast into a visual medium“, and they have done precisely that. 

The project, a “first of many“, was inspired by musician Mandy Harvey, featured in the first episode, who lost her hearing as a music student in college. To bring the project to life, Vox Creative worked with a team of talented engineers, graphic designers and user experience designers before the outcome was tested by a focus group of deaf and hard-of-hearing users led by disability activist and accessibility consultant JamiLee Hoglind. 

(Screenshot from More Than This transcript)

Reiterating the need for such developments, JamiLee explained: “As a Deaf creative who grew up in a Deaf artistic family, in a world designed for hearing people, there’s one thing that I can affirm: the Deaf Community is often an afterthought, either intentionally or unintentionally. Within the podcast industry, it’s sacred to discover an authentically accessible podcast that is engineered, designed, and created with an accessibility lens for approximately over 400 millions of Deaf and Hard of Hearing people globally.” Read JamiLees complete statement on accessibility here.  

Impressive stuff, isn’t it? Naturally, the entire team at Content is Queen was blown away and overjoyed after experiencing the immersive transcripts. Of course, our first question was, “damn, how can we make this available to every podcaster?” 

Enter reality. While it would be incredible to see immersive transcripts widely available, there are two major roadblocks; time and money. Is it likely a one-[wo]man-band could pull off what an entire team at Vox Media did? For many, the answer is no. Unfortunately automated transcripts and close captioning are lacking and often full of inaccuracies. We speak from experience as for Season 4 of our Wanna Be Project,  we introduced transcripts, and even after spending time and money on getting them done correctly, there were still mistakes which took a lot of time to correct meaning they couldn’t be released in real-time. Still, it’s a step in the right direction and Vox Media just took a huge leap forward.

If the accessibility of your podcast is something you’ve overlooked previously, here are three things you can implement: 

  • Add transcripts to your shows
  • Ensure your website is accessible
  • Convert your shows to an MP4 and upload to YouTube with closed captioning enabled

Happy Podcasting!