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Should you transcribe your podcast episodes?

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Why would anyone read a podcast?

Before we jump into this…if you don’t know what a podcast transcript is, don’t worry, you’re not alone.

Transcribing your podcast is just the process of turning the audio of your episode into text so there’s a readable version of your show on your website (a transcript).

If you’re thinking “isn’t podcasting about getting into people’s ears, not their eyes?” you’re right but there are a few reasons why taking some extra time to transcribe your podcast is a good idea…

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Podcast transcripts help with…

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Those three words are the difference between people finding your show when they search for topics in your niche on Google and your show remaining in the dark shadows of the interwebs.

Keywords are words and phrases people use when they’re searching for things that interest them in search engines.

Your content doesn’t pop up in their search results for no reason, it’s because it contains the keywords that people are looking for. So, if you’re building an audience from scratch, this can be a great way for people to find your show without knowing the name of it, or you.

Google is getting more sophisticated every day but one of the simplest ways to ensure all the words you say in your episode are picked up by Google is to include a transcript.

A beginner’s guide to podcast SEO

Read

Building your show notes

It’s a good idea to create show notes for each of your podcast episodes.

Again, this is so your content can be picked up by search engines but also so listeners have a place to go if they want more information or to find out more about you and the episode content.

Building these from scratch can be a pain but if you’ve got a podcast transcript you can use that as the base of your show notes and edit what you’ve already said on your podcast into a blog post.

If you’ve done the work already you may as well use it!

What are show notes and why do you need them?

Read

Making your content more accessible

A less selfish reason to transcribe your episode is so your show can be enjoyed by people who are hard of hearing.

Do I really need to say anything more on that except that it’s a great idea?

Why you should design an ideal listener for your podcast

Read

So how do I create a podcast transcript?

There are plenty of paid services out there like Rev or Trint but you should also check inside your podcast host to see if they offer transcription as part of your hosting plan.

I should stress that whether you’re using a website or your podcast host, automatic transcription is not perfect.

That means you’ll have to read through your transcript and edit it so it doesn’t sound like a robot wrote it.

Some transcription sites offer human transcription for a higher price which is much more accurate but it’s always a good idea to cast your eye over it before you press publish.

This process can take a lot of time especially if your show features more than one voice so you’ll need to weigh up whether it’s worth it or whether you can just provide your audience with more comprehensive show notes.

Got a burning podcasting question you’d like answered? Send me an email.

Want to start your own podcast but need a little help? Download my “How To Start A Podcast” guide or sign up for my online podcasting course, PodSchool.

4 Comments
  1. Fausto Fonseca says:

    I’m doing transcriptions of my podcast at the moment, but I’ve been having this question in my mind: am I not possibly partitioning my audience between transcriptions and audio? If I want the podcast to grow and want to show analytics to possible sponsors, shouldn’t I try and push everyone to listen to the audio and just make a short excerpt or just some show notes on the description? I’m using anchor.fm to host the podcast but then I create posts in my website with an audio player for the episode.

    1. rcorbett says:

      Hey Fausto, Transcribing your episodes is useful for a bunch of reasons including providing a way for people who are hard of hearing to read your content and to help with SEO. Having people find you via your show notes pages where you’re providing valuable content can be a way for people to discover your podcast so if it’s helping your SEO it can grow your audience rather than detract from it. Hope that helps. Rach

  2. Emily says:

    Thoughtful article. I came to find out why I should continue transcribing our podcast show (or not). But I wanted to add: Rev actually uses real people to transcribe. So it’s not automated. And that’s one of the reasons it’s better. Take one look at Youtube’s machine-made free captioning if you’re in doubt of the difference. Cheers.

    1. rcorbett says:

      Hey Emily, Thanks for your message. Rev actually has an option for human transcribed but also machine transcribed, Rach

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