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Should your podcast be audio or video?

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by in Podcasting
Illustration of a film projector

Do you want to appeal to your audience’s ears or eyes?

There’s no doubt looking into your audience’s eyes builds a strong connection.  But while video is a really powerful medium it’s not always the best way to get your content in front of people.  And here’s why…

Adding video to your podcast makes things 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 add video because you need to consider a whole bunch of additional factors, like…

Does it look good?

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 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 hire a professional or professional equipment.

Even if you’re just using your iPhone to record you still have to put time into thinking about your “set” (even if that’s just your bedroom), the lighting and the sound.  And that’s before you’ve even thought about editing.

You don’t have to hire a production company and invest a million dollars but even when you’re throwing something together yourself you have to take all of these things into consideration to ensure you’re putting out the highest quality content possible.

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

Read

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 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 you’re not all that passionate about getting your hair and makeup on point).

Are these things holding you back from starting a podcast?

Read

Video 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 really 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.

Interviewing tips for your podcast

Read

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.

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?

Read

Using video to enhance your audio podcast

If you decide audio is the way to go that doesn’t mean you can’t use video as a part of your podcast strategy.

It’s a great way to promote your show

Doing a quick piece to camera to tell your audience what’s coming up on your podcast is a great way to promote your show.

Talking directly to your audience will help them put a face to your voice and increase your connection with them.

There’s also much less of an expectation that these videos will have high production value.  In fact, they often work best if they’re more casual so that means no need for the soft lighting.

How to promote your podcast before it’s live

Read

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.

This also means they don’t need to be filmed the whole way through.

After the interview is over and they feel comfortable because you’ve built rapport, you can ask them to record a little message.

This can be done by recording the Skype call if they’re not in the same location or just doing a quick video on your phone if they’re with you.

Just make sure you warn them ahead of time so they know they need to be camera ready coz no one wants to turn up in their active wear only to be told they’re going to be filmed.

Are high-profile guests a good way to grow your podcast audience?

Read

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 “backstage” elements can help deepen your relationship with listeners so they feel like they’re getting to know you.

Why you should make a podcast trailer

Read

It keeps your relationship with the audience 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.

A quick “check-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 covered something in an episode that would benefit from a video on YouTube?  Perhaps there was some funny behind the scenes stuff that happened between you and your guest that gives your audience a glimpse into who you are when the mics are off?

Popping into your audiences feed you can make sure you’re always top of mind so they remember to check in with your show regularly.

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.

10 Comments
  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. El says:

    Thank you so much for your content! Do you recommend using any specific podcast host for a video podcast? Do you know of any that split audio and video so we could launch video and audio or does that need to be done before uploading to the host?

    1. rcorbett says:

      Hey there, You’ll find a list of hosts that support video and audio here … https://itunespartner.apple.com/en/podcasts/partnersearch. I’d imagine you’d need to split the audio yourself but also be mindful that audio recorded for video isn’t always the best option for an audio podcast because it’s a different style of performance.

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GET MY FREE PODCAST GUIDE

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!

SEND IT TO ME!