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Should your podcast be audio or video?

 

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by in Podcasting
Video or audio?

Before starting a podcast a lot of people get hung up on whether it should be audio or video.

While you’re more likely to build a strong connection with your audience if you’re staring into their eyes, if your content doesn’t require a visual element, video isn’t always the best option and here’s why…

Video makes things unnecessarily complex

When you inject video into your content mix you also inject a little thing called ‘production value,’ which in layman’s terms means money…or expertise.  Production value is essentially the quality of the video you’re putting together – the lighting, sound, set etc.  Everything that could potentially make a viewer say “What kind of two-bit operation is this?”

Obviously if you’re a film graduate or your partner has their own production company you’ve probably got a laundry cupboard full of soft lighting and boom mics but if you’re just starting out you’re either going to have to dedicate serious time to self-education or serious money to hiring a professional or professional equipment.

Video or audio?And before you scream “But what about my iPhone??”  Let me say that if you want to create a podcast, whether it’s audio or video, you have to think of that podcast as a ‘show’ and that implies it’s professional. By all means use your iPhone for social media videos and little bits and pieces but if you’re serious about creating a professional podcast it has to look and sound that way and that means you can just whip out the iPhone and yell at it.

The other reason video can be a punish is because it adds an entirely unnecessary layer of complexity to your show preparation: concern for your appearance.  With an audio podcast you can record in your PJs but when a camera’s involved you have to think about things like make-up and clothing. When you’re already thinking about content, booking guests and getting an episode into people’s ears every week there are better things to do with your time (particularly if makeup isn’t your strong suit).

Why you should do an audio podcast

Homer’s trusty makeup gun

You’re more likely to intimidate your guest

If your show involves guest interviews it will be much easier to get them onboard if you’re only asking them to have a chat.  As soon as you add a visual element to the mix people start to get self-conscious and it also means they need to add extra time to their day to get their hair, makeup and outfit on point. You want to make it as easy as possible for your guests to be a part of your show and often video can make people think twice.

Editing is a pain in the butt

Editing audio by itself is much easier than video because you don’t have to factor in visuals. With audio if you want to cut out breaths and pauses or be a bit creative and piece parts of the interview together, you can.  If you do that with video you’ll end up looking like Max Headroom.

Video makes things harder for your audience

The one thing that makes podcasts so powerful is they can be consumed anywhere.  Your audience can actively listen to your content while they’re driving, walking the dog, doing the shopping, you name it.  So why, if the aim is to get as many people listening as possible, would you make it harder for them to ingest your content?  Switch to video and all of a sudden you limit your audience’s consumption options because they can’t watch a video while they’re doing other things.  Instead, they have to carve out time in their day, which means there’s a high chance they won’t get around to it.  The best way to grow your audience is to make sure your content is as easy to consume as possible.

So now that I’ve spent the first half of this post to poo-pooing video, let me dedicate the last half to the ways it can enhance your audio podcast…

It’s a great way to promote your show

Doing a quick piece to camera to tell your audience what’s coming up on the show is a great way to promote without being limited by 140 characters or sending out another piece of audio.  Talking directly to your listeners will help them put a face to your voice which increases their connection and since this isn’t the show there’s much less expectation that it will look professional.  In fact these videos often work best if they’re more casual so that means no need for the soft lighting.

It’s a great way to get a guest to promote your show

If you’re interviewing a guest that people would recognise or who your audience might know but have never seen, video can be a great way to plug their upcoming interview.  If you’re going to get them to say a little something to camera, whether on Skype or in person make sure you warn them beforehand because no one wants to turn up in active wear only to be told they need to be ‘camera ready.’  If your guest is open to it, get them to record a little piece explaining what they’re going to talk about so people can get a sense of what you’ll cover in the episode.  It’s also nice to get video showcasing the rapport between you and your guest.  If your audience sees you enjoy each others company they’ll be more likely to get excited about the interview.

It’s great for behind the scenes content

While most people say it’s not a good idea to show how a sausage is made, audiences love a glimpse behind the scenes.  Whether it’s a look around your home studio, or an insight into how you prep the show, little additional elements can help deepen your relationship so listeners feel like they’re getting to know you.  The more opportunities to can give them to feel like they’re a part of all 360 degrees of your podcast the more attached they’ll be.

It’s great to keep the relationship going between episodes

A lot of podcasts release once a week and then disappear into the wilderness until the next episode and when you start to build a passionate audience they’ll want to hear more from you.  Usually, that’s not feasible from a time and content perspective but a quick ‘checking in’ video can be a great way to make sure you’re top of mind even when you’re not in people’s ears.

Maybe you forgot to include a tip or piece of info in an episode that you could make into a video to post through the week?  Or perhaps something you referred to in a previous episode needs updating.   These little bits of useful video info can be great evergreen content to share over time and direct people to old episodes rather than just recording them, tweeting about them for a week and letting them disappear into the ether.

So there you have it, some ways video can enhance your podcast but also a bunch of reasons why it’s easier to put on your PJs, plug in your microphone and press record.

Want to start your own podcast but need a little help?  Check out my online podcasting course, PodSchool

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WANT TO START A PODCAST BUT HAVE NO IDEA HOW? THIS GUIDE TAKES YOU THROUGH ALL THE TOOLS AND TECH YOU NEED TO GET GOING!

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