Should your podcast be audio or video?


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Illustration of a film projector

Are you making content for people’s ears or their eyes?

There’s no doubt that looking into your audience’s eyes builds a strong connection and that’s one of the great benefits of video.

But, is the right place for your video content in your podcast or are there better ways to include it as part of your content mix?

A video podcast makes things more complicated 

When you’re putting together an audio podcast there are a LOT of things to think about if you want to create a high-quality show.

This goes to another level when you’re shooting video because you’ve got to consider a whole bunch of additional factors, including…

Does the footage look good?

Injecting video into your content mix adds a little thing called ‘production value,’ which in layman’s terms means money…or expertise.

Production value is the quality of the video you’re putting together – the lighting, sound, picture, set etc.  Everything that could potentially make a viewer say “Wow, this looks so professional” or “Wow!  This looks like it was thrown together in five minutes!”

Video equipment is getting cheaper and cheaper but you still need to spend time and money making sure you’ve got the shot right.

And that’s before you’ve even thought about editing.

It’s important to understand how much work goes into creating video content so you can be realistic about whether you’ve got the time to churn out a consistently good show.

How to record high-quality audio at home


Do you look good?

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 your outfit.

When you’re already thinking about content, booking guests and getting an episode into people’s ears every week this can add a whole lot of additional time and complexity to your to-do list and there are more effective things you could be doing to grow your show.

Are these things holding you back from starting a podcast?


A video podcast can intimidate your podcast guests

If you’re interviewing guests on your show it’ll be much easier to get them to say yes if they’re just recording audio than if they’re being filmed.

Adding a visual element means people have to worry about how they look and what they’re wearing.  It can also make them feel self-conscious.

Most people, unsurprisingly, don’t feel relaxed in front of a camera.  And since you’ll always get more out of a guest the more comfortable they feel, it might be a good idea to choose audio rather than video.

How to get the most out of your podcast interviews


Editing video is a pain in the butt

Editing audio is time-consuming and takes a lot of practice but video is a whole other beast.

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.  Do that with video and you’ll end up looking like Max Headroom (shout out to anyone who appreciates that 1980s reference)…

A video podcast is less convenient for your audience

The one thing that makes audio 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.  Switch to video and all of a sudden you limit your audience’s ability to consume your content because they have to be at a computer or standing still to watch.

When we’re all so busy, with so many distractions you want to make it as easy as possible for people to check out your show.

How long does it take to put together a podcast episode?


People don’t typically go to podcast apps for video

In the early days of video podcasting, YouTube wasn’t really a thing, but as the years have rolled on the “where do people go to watch video content” battle has well and truly been won by YouTube.

When people think of podcasts they think audio.  That doesn’t mean you can’t create a video podcast or have video as part of your content mix but you have to factor in people’s behaviour when it comes to consuming content and if people are looking for video they’re not usually going to a podcast app.

The benefit of this is you can get two bites of the cherry if you really want to create video by having your audio in podcast apps and your video content on YouTube.

How to promote your podcast


Not all podcast apps support video

If you’re spending hours creating video podcast content you want to make sure people can actually consume it and a lot of podcast apps don’t support video.

A bunch will also play your content but only the audio portion so all the hard work you’ve put into your visuals ends up being for nothing.

Since a big part of podcast growth strategy is making sure your content is available in all the places people might be consuming it, the fact video podcasts aren’t supported everywhere is a big reason to stick to audio.

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.

  1. Antony Robinson says:

    Great Read Rachel! I’ve been a little salty lately because I’m in video production and I just started a podcast. My go to is always video when recording my pod until I found out that I’m working backwards. Lol. My question now is HOW do I now promote my “audio only” podcast? Do you have an article on this topic?

  2. Wendy Coop says:

    Thanks so much for breaking this down! I have a question: do you have an article comparing an audio-only podcast vs repurposing audio from a video that lives on YouTube, such as the Think Media Podcast? I want to concentrate on podcasting, but I don’t want to lose what I’m doing on YouTube. Thanks!

    1. rcorbett says:

      Hey Wendy, I don’t have an article covering that as my workflow involves audio first with all my podcasts but if you were going to export the audio from a video to use in a podcast you just need to make sure the audio quality is good enough for a podcast (video lets you get away with a bit more room noise because you’ve got the visual but that doesn’t sound great on a podcast). You also need to make sure you’re thinking about the podcast audience when you’re recording your video as the way you’d present content can often be different so you want to make sure it works across both mediums. Hope that helps! Rach

  3. Caryl Westmore says:

    I’ve launched my Write the Book Inside You Podcast as both video (recorded on Zoom) and audio (after getting the audio mastered, for the interview we strip the audio and it gets uploaded to Buzzsprout (for all audio podcast channels) while also building my You Tube Channel.
    Early days yet but I intend to now find a way to showcase it on my website. As a former journalist, I prefer to see my guests and later I enjoy doing B roll on their interviews. Maybe I’d do more episodes if I only recorded audio!

  4. Joann says:

    Even with video podcasts, I almost never watched the video. Just close the phone cover (that doesn’t affect the screen lock, which would be relevant in case of YouTube). I, however, much prefer audio podcasts and podcasts apps, because:
    a) can listen to them while doing other things on my phone, b) can easily download on wifi and therefore save on mobile data when listening on the go, c) much less annoying and distracting ads than on Yt, which I often can’t skip (especially when, say, having wet soapy habds from doing dishes or some other housework.)
    In fact it was actually the recent (last year or so) increase in ads in the Yt app that has hugely motivated me to turn up to podcasts app and the experience turned out to be so much better!
    Now I just wish I had discovered it earlier! (eg the play in the background is so great. But then, I’m also one of those who can’t really concentrate on listening/watching if I can’t do anything with my hands, like doodling, making notes, playing a mindless puzzle game, manual work, housework, whatever, just can’t concentrate otherwise. I understand how some people may prefer video and are actually carefully looking at it).

    1. rcorbett says:

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Joann!

  5. Kerry Newsome says:

    I often get asked the question, why I didn’t start my podcast with Video. Your points raised here are the exact reason why. Thanks for the vindication. I love your work and appreciate these titbits of advice. Thank you.

  6. Ainslee Hooper says:

    What about accessibility? Video is important for those who cannot hear. This should be a part of any podcasting strategy otherwise it’s excluding a potential part of the market.

    1. rcorbett says:

      Hey Ainslee, I agree, accessibility in podcasting is really important which is why it’s a good idea to include show transcripts for your podcast episodes. I just don’t think a podcast app is the most effective place to put video because of the reasons stated in the article. Especially if you find the person is consuming content in an app that doesn’t support video or just plays the audio. Then you’ve spent all this time creating video content that can’t be consumed. You’re better off creating a video version of your podcast with subtitles and placing it on YouTube with a link to that content in the show notes for your ep. Thanks, Rach

  7. Paul says:

    Hi, what about making a video interview for uploading on youtube and then using the audio of the video as a podcast? I think that the video will give you plenty of content to use on social media to boost the vlog and the podcast. What do you think?

    1. rcorbett says:

      Hey Paul, You could totally do this but I’d just make sure the audio you record for the video is high enough quality for a podcast. Rach

  8. Brian says:

    Thanks for this! You’ve confirmed what I was thinking but still unsure about ha. I appreciate your work with the content on this website too!

  9. Markysmat says:

    Hi Rachel,
    I had a maybe silly question. Is there anything stopping me from creating a podcast that has some audio episodes and some video episodes? Is that allowed on iTunes?
    Thanks and really appreciate your awesome content!

    1. rcorbett says:

      Hey Markysmat. Only thing stopping you would be your podcast host…you just have to make sure they support uploading audio and video. Ultimately it will depend on your content and I’m sure there are great examples of why a mix of audio and video might work but I think an easier way to do it is to use YouTube for video and iTunes/podcasts for audio. That also gives you two bites of the search cherry. Of course, it’s entirely up to you but that would be my suggestion.

  10. Glen Moyer says:

    Hey Rachel, what about Audiograms? I’ve started using Sparemin’s free tool. You can add images to an audio clip to create a short “video” to post out on social media. Im using it to promote upcoming shows but you’ve made me think it might be a good way to promote older episodes too. Thoughts?

    1. rcorbett says:

      This is a great idea, Glen! I also use https://wavve.co to create videos as well. It’s awesome to come up with as many different and creative ways as possible to share your show so your audience aren’t getting the same product all the time. Rach

    2. Simeko Revador says:

      This information has been enlighting as I am preparing to start audio podcast. I am looking forward to the free guide. Thank you Rachel.

  11. Michael Young says:

    Thank you for this post. It answered by question and will save me the pain of making the mistake of starting out with video. Audio it is!

    1. rcorbett says:

      Thanks Michael! Really glad you found it helpful. Best of luck with your podcast! Rach

  12. Andrew Driscoll says:

    As always Rachel you completely nail this topic. Ok, I’m biased as I started my technical career in radio, ABC studios in Adelaide. I listen to your podcasts in the car, on my phone, tucked up in bed!! Marvellous!!

    1. rcorbett says:

      Thanks so much for your comment, Andrew. I’m so glad you’re enjoying the poddy’s. You’ve made my day x

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Discover all the tools and tech you need to get your podcast started. Plus get access to my weekly podcasting tips delivered straight to your inbox!