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! 

 

Do you need to watch your language?

F*ck, sl*t, c*cksucker. Unsurprisingly these were the words deemed as highly offensive in Ofcom’s  38-page report detailing public attitudes towards offensive language on TV and Radio. The lengthy report summarises views towards the acceptability of individual words on TV and radio, which of course, can be used as a guideline for your podcasts too. 

The report has ranked 186 English words into one of three broad groupings: 

  • Mild: Words in this category are unlikely to concern audiences in most circumstances and require limited context. 
  • Moderate: These words have a greater potential for offence than mild words, and a higher level of context should be considered based on what audiences would reasonably expect. 
  • Strong: These words are perceived as highly offensive and need clear and strong contextual justification for broadcast.

Participants were asked to rank swear words, sexual, political and religious references, along with references to body parts, mental health, physical ability, sexual orientation, gender identity, race, nationality and ethnicity.

While the aforementioned words were perceived as highly offensive, along with the words half-caste, he-she and cripple (for good reason!), on the opposite end of the scale, terms such as cretin, a Karen, Freshy, boomer, pissed off, and bint were perceived as mild.

So what does this mean for podcasting?

There have been many debates around profanities and use of language that may be seen as offensive in podcasting. While the rules when it comes to language on podcasts are more flexible than on live TV or radio, and many argue podcasts are a place to be authentically yourself, the language you’re using should be an essential consideration for podcasters. 

When reviewing the language you use on your podcast, ask yourself these questions: 

  • Am I using profanities in context or to sound cool and edgy? The latter is peak cringe.
  • Are any offensive words and terms I’m using relevant to the topic?
  • Do I know enough about my audience to gauge what they will find offensive?  
  • How do my current/potential sponsors feel about profanities? 
  • Am I tagging my podcasts correctly, ensuring they’re marked as explicit if needed?  
  • Do I have an audience in countries that have banned explicit podcasts? 

In reality, no one is in control of the language you use but yourself. So, take the time to understand your audience, consider the bigger picture and put yourself in the listener’s shoes. Yes shows like Guys We F*cked, My Dad Wrote A Porno and Shagged. Married. Annoyed exist, and yes they are thriving but it’s worth considering that these might be the exception to the rule. While podcast content can be almost anything you want and we personally don’t mind a bit of bad language, to get featured on podcast platform front covers/ discovery pages you might want to be a little more vanilla. You may not be afforded the same grace, luck or success for your unfiltered language.

Tread carefully. 

Podcasting gets personal – On Spotify’s polls and Q&A rollout

Earlier this year, Spotify began beta testing several new features to make podcasts on the platform more interactive. Last month, the streaming giants announced that podcasters can now build interactive polls and Q&As into their podcasts. There’s just one catch; the features are exclusively available to podcasters who create their shows in Anchor, Spotify’s creation software. At current, the new features are available to Anchor creators in Spotify users in 160 markets across the globe, from 178 markets. 

Similarly to Instagram polls, listeners will be able to vote on polls before seeing how others have voted. The Q&A function also mirrors Instagram as answers will be privately sent to podcasters. Podcasters will then have an option to pin the response while publicly displaying the Spotify username of the listener who responded. 


Credit: Spotify 

Spotify says that podcasters have used the features to hear feedback, receive guest suggestions, and gamify their shows during beta. By offering increased interaction, Spotify is likely to keep podcasters on the app as they aim to eliminate the need for creators to switch to Instagram or other platforms to use similar features to engage with their audience. 

While benefiting Spotify, they’re good news for podcasters and listeners alike. The new features offer an excellent chance to engage your listeners in new ways and gain insightful feedback with minimal effort on both sides. We’re all for it!

Is Anchor the right podcasting platform for you? 

In addition to boosting interactivity for both listeners and podcasts, the new features may also attract creators searching for a hosting provider. If you’re thinking about making the switch to Anchor, here are some of the features on offer:  

  • Unlimited hosting
  • Streamlined distribution
  • Insightful and straightforward analytics 
  • Convenient creation tools
  • Monetisation 

Hold tight if you’re not an Anchor user, as we suspect the features will be rolled out to creators using Megaphone (Spotify’s podcast hosting platform) soon as they continue to battle it out with Apple podcast on user numbers. 

The launch of these two new features comes as the platform strives to rework the traditional podcasting experience. In addition to polls and Q&As, Spotify has also launched paid podcast subscriptions, their “Music + Talk” show format and Greenroom, an app for hosting “live shows.” With growing competition between Apple and Spotify, we expect many more features to come on both platforms as the giants transform the podcasting space, one feature at a time. 

Things we’ve learned about Gen Z listening habits

According to reports in 2020, Gen Z wasn’t listening to podcasts as frequently as millennials. Fast forward to 2021, and a survey from YPulse found that Gen Z is now just as likely to listen to your podcast as millennials. As Gen Z makes up a large market segment, understanding their listening habits is essential for podcasting success. In this article, we’re sharing some of the things we’ve learned about Gen Z listening habits in 2021 so far. 

 Gen Z digital habits in 2021: 

  • More than 74% of Gen Z say they spend their free time online 
  • 66% of Gen Z reports using more than one internet-connected device at a time
  • In the UK, Gen Z spends an average of 10.6 hours online each day
  • 60% of Gen Z visit YouTube daily 
  • On average, Gen Z will pay attention to content for eight seconds – four less than millennials

(Source: Hubspot – Gen Z Stats )

We know that Gen Z are big fans of social media, particularly TikTok and Instagram. But where do we find them when it comes to streaming platforms? 

Gen Z Music Streamers Preferred Platform:

  1. Spotify – 68.4%
  2. Apple Music – 32.9%
  3. YouTube Music – 30.4%
  4. SoundCloud – 26.6%
  5. Amazon Music – 7.6%
  6. Google Play Music – 7.6%
  7. Don’t Stream – 3.6%
  8. Other – 1.3%

(Source: Digital Music News)

As we delve a little deeper into the listening habits of Gen Z, the third volume of Culture Next, the Annual Culture and Trends Report, is our first port of call. As 71% of Spotify Free listeners are under the age of 35, it’s safe to say the streaming giants know a thing or two about Gen Z. 

The full report is assembled through countless interviews with creators, advertising executives and listeners in 18 countries, along with quantitative, qualitative, and first-party data analysis. To help you understand Gen Z listeners better, we’ve pulled together some of the key takeaways from the report, which surveyed 9,000 Gen Z and millennial respondents. 

Escapism and healing 

Gen Z listener Joe told us he likes to listen to podcasts for “distraction” and he’s not the only one. With unhealthy tech habits and excessive screen time, the younger generation’s norm, the Gen Z audience turns to audio for an escape. With 67% of Gen Z respondents saying that they use audio to reduce their stress levels, audio is far more than entertainment for this audience. 

As they turn to technology for wellness, Gen Z listeners worldwide are using audio to help themselves self-regulate, meditate, manifest, and heal. From Q1 until the report’s publishing, podcasts in the Mental Health category saw a 179% increase of Gen Z listeners while the Self-Help category saw a 108% increase.  

A demand for diverse voices

In the year that Spotify calls a “cultural rebirth”, Gen Z audiences have indicated that they trust audio platforms to expose them to diverse voices. 52% of Gen Zers believe that audio amplifies more diverse perspectives, with 62% agreeing that streaming platforms, including audio, have significantly impacted how they discover and connect with broader culture. 

48% of Gen Zs have sought content from more diverse creators in the past year, with 61% sharing that they have used music to learn about cultures and experiences that differ from their own. 

Gen Z listener Natalia echoed this point when she told us: “I listen to them [podcasts] to get different perspectives on things and listen/talk about ongoing trending topics. Some podcasts that I listen to give me a sense of relatability, whether it’s the things they talk about (like public enquiries or dilemmas that they send in) or because of the podcasters themselves – it’s like a sense of belonging outside of your friendship group.”

Trusted voices 

Thanks to diverse voices found on streaming platforms, younger generations trust the medium of audio more than others. According to the report, 40% of Gen Z listeners trust podcasts over traditional media sources, including newspapers, radio and national TV news, with 52% of Gen Zers using podcasts to learn about social issues. 

As podcasts are fast becoming a favoured news source, 17% of the Gen Z audience identify as “cord never” who have never used traditional cable TV. 

As audio creators can go off script and show their authentic selves, listeners are more likely to feel connected to hosts. 41% of global listeners say they trust ads more if they hear them during a podcast, with 81% reporting they’ve taken action after hearing a podcast ad. 

Story Telling 

While podcasting was once viewed as niche, voices across every cultural area from politics and news to humour and gaming, creatives are using the medium to forge deeper connections. 

When asked what he likes about podcasts, Joe told us that listeners often feel as if “you’re part of the conversation”, showcasing how connection is valued by Gen Z. 

61% of the Gen Z audience surveyed shared that they believe audio formats like podcasts are one of the greatest ways to tell stories. So, if you’ve got a story to tell, Gen Z is eager to hear it. 

Applying what we learned about Gen Z listening habits to your podcast 

Although many takeaways will be specific to your podcast, we wanted to round off this article with some standout learnings.  

We know that Gen Z listeners have a short attention span, so you need to hook them in with a strong title and an intro to match. Attention span should also be taken into consideration when it comes to promoting your podcast, those first eight seconds need to be gold. 

The platform you choose for your podcast is an essential consideration for your entire audience, not just Gen Z. For example, if you were to host your podcast on Apple Music, you’re excluding a whole audience who don’t use Apple products. Therefore, if you choose to host exclusively on one platform, it should be accessible to everyone. 

We also learned that trust and authenticity are important to Gen Z. So, providing factually correct information and being unapologetically yourself should be high on your list of priorities. As they say, if it means something to you, chances are, it will mean something to someone else. Happy podcasting! 

Download the full Spotify Culture Next report, which was compiled in April 2021 here. 

 

10 Black-led podcasts you should listen to

While Content is Queen champions black creatives every day of the year, as October marks Black History Month in the UK, we wanted to spotlight some of our favourite Black podcasters right now. So, if these podcasts aren’t already in your library, now is the perfect time to discover these talented creators. 

Black Gals Livin’

Black Gals Livin’ sees hosts Vic, and Jas get together every week to discuss all things mental health, pop culture and random shenanigans. Listen here. One of my favourite episodes was a recent instalment featuring Toni Tone, as the trio discussed getting the ick, Channel 4’s Highlife and Toni’s new book: I Wish I Knew This Earlier: Lessons on Love.” 

 

Pints of Malt 

Brought to by four Nigerian-Irish lads Femi, Kenny, Charlie and Jibbz, Pints of Malt is a laugh out loud worthy podcast sharing insight into growing up and living in Ireland. Check it out here. If you’re not sure where to start, The Sticky Situation episodes are sure to brighten your day. 

 

Unpretty Podcast

Hosts of Unpretty Podcast, Chinazo Ufodiama and Basma Khalifa, are on a mission to unpack the perceptions of beauty through the lens of Black and non-Black people of colour. For me, a stand-out episode saw Chi and Basma joined by Evelyn Mok and Vick Hope as they discussed racial dating preferences. Join the conversation here

 

Pennies to Pounds 

The Pennies to Pounds podcast is the brainchild of Pennies to Pounds founder Kia Commodore. With an ethos of empowering the youth to enable their future with complete knowledge, this podcast is arming listeners with the financial literacy we aren’t taught in schools. If Cryptocurrency feels like the dark arts to you, you’ll appreciate episode 47 featuring Alex Entrepreneur. Get your finance fix here.

 

The Echo Chamber 

The Echo Chamber sees hosts Ez and Jade discuss issues that resonate among Black British people from their perspective as working-class women. From shadow work to sisterhood, the duo covers an array of topics. I particularly enjoyed episode 70 as Milk Honey Bees founder Ebinehita Iyere joined the duo to talk Back British Girlhood. Listen here

 

Black, Broke and Brilliant  

Black, Broke and Brilliant is a podcast by two twenty-something women, Ivy and Samira, discussing the struggles of adulting one bi-weekly episode at a time. As a freelancer, it’s only right I plug episode 39, Adulting Part 3 – no one teaches you how to freelance – I can most definitely relate. Add it to your library here

 

Who We Be TALKS

 Every Thursday, hosts Harry Pinero and Henrie dive deep into the lives of artists, music, and culture as they celebrate the creatives who shape Hip-Hop, Afrobeats, Dancehall and RnB. Listen exclusively on Spotify here. One of my favourite recent episodes featured Love Island’s Ovie Soko on taking shots, drip and his rules for love. 

 

Halfcast Podcast 

Brought to you by ChuckieOnline and Poet, the Halfcast podcast sees the duo get together each week to discuss everything and anything in a self-dubbed ‘counselling session’. If you’re a Santan Dave fan, you’ll enjoy the guys discussing whether or not he’s reached his potential; listen here

 

Black Women Working 

Black Women Working, hosted by Chantelle, Natalie, Rachel and Tolu, is a safe space for black women to speak openly about their experiences of working life in the UK as they provide support, inspiration and advice to the sisterhood, get involved here. If work-life balance is something you struggle with, S4 EP8 – Compromise or Sacrifice comes highly recommended.

 

Disunomics 

With a straightforward ethos of making economics relevant, relatable, and entertaining to the general public, Disunomics breaks down the latest news in the simplest way possible. If travel is on the agenda anytime soon, episode 219 will tell you everything you need to know. Get your weekly news fix here