Setting Up Your Corporate Podcast? Don’t Forget Transcription

By Erik Ducker, Director of Product Marketing, 3Play Media

The popularity of podcasts continues to grow. Whether listeners tune in on their morning commute to work or on a smart speaker while working around the house, the percentage of listeners has increased by nearly 30 percent in the last three years.

Businesses have taken note, too, launching their own podcasts, which are cheap to produce and not as time-consuming as other mediums. When done successfully over time, podcasts establish a personal connection with their audience, which, in turn, establishes credibility for a company as a thought leader, enables it to share its core messages through storytelling, and drives website traffic and lead conversions.

However, before you head to your local electronics store to grab everything you need to build your own studio and get started, let’s take a step back. As appealing as podcasting is, marketers can’t dive in without understanding the implications of this medium on their entire audience, including those who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Only about one percent of podcasts today offer transcripts. Just like you’ve needed to adhere to legislation to ensure your website and other public-facing communications are accessible to people with disabilities, the same holds true for podcasting. Last December, the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) sued SiriusXM, Stitcher, and Pandora – three of the largest platforms hosting podcasts – over the lack of transcripts for people who are deaf and hard-of-hearing.

This is a landmark case for the podcasting industry, much like the NAD’s lawsuit against Netflix in 2014 that forced platforms to adhere to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and provide captioning for all content. By filing against platforms and not content producers, the NAD is going for the most significant impact. Like streaming platforms before them, podcasting platforms will see transcription become ubiquitous for podcasts during this decade.

When thinking about transcription, don’t look at it as an inhibitor to getting your podcast produced and on the various platforms and stores – there are plenty of transcription options on the market at a variety of different price points. Rather, look at it as an opportunity. Here are three ways transcripts not only make your podcasts accessible but can also help your top and bottom line.

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Make Your Podcast More Discoverable

In the podcast industry, services like Apple, Amazon, Spotify, and Google own the discovery market for podcasts. These companies – like you – recognize the popularity of podcasts and are starting to create their own. Audible, an Amazon company, recently produced a podcast-like series with A-list Hollywood talent, including Jon Hamm and Giancarlo Esposito. With these platforms looking to cash in, you need to devise other ways to bring your audience to your podcast.

Your opportunity is to find ways to connect with your audience beyond the walled garden of the key distribution or listening apps.

Podcast transcripts are a great way to confront this challenge, as they can help search engines find your content more easily. For example, This American Life saw statistically significant increases in traffic to their website when they introduced transcripts across all their recorded content, proving the SEO benefits of transcription.

Audio on its own is exclusionary to the approximately 48 million Americans who are d/Deaf or hard of hearing. In addition, audio-only content is limiting for non-native English speakers and situational accessibility listeners, such as those in a quiet place, like work, or a noisy place, such as a crowded bus. By providing a podcast transcript, you increase accessibility and can reach a wider audience who would otherwise not have access to your podcast.

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Reach New Audiences with Repurposed Content

Content is king, and there is never enough of it. From creating videos with transcripts for YouTube to publishing transcripts as blogs, you can use transcripts to repurpose many pieces of quality content.

Transcribed content is also ideal for social media snippets, email newsletters, and other related marketing campaigns. Transcripts also increase the likelihood that you’ll get quoted in a tweet, blog, or article, which improves page authority and SEO. If you’re listening to a podcast and hear something you’d like to use in your content, which is easier: rewinding and transcribing the quote you want to use or looking at the transcript and cutting and pasting the snippet?

In short, providing a podcast transcript will make your episodes more shareable, quotable, and citable, which can drive new audiences to your show.

Drive A Higher CPM

Ads are at a premium in the podcast industry because the host typically needs to read them, which means they live on forever as part of the recording. By bringing on relevant advertisers, you give those companies brand safety and make them more memorable, keeping your CPM (cost per mille) higher.

By offering transcripts, you provide your advertisers with another text-based connection to your listeners. Advertisers can manage that data and take better advantage of a potential goldmine of information.

As you sit down with other leaders at your company to determine your podcasting strategy – format, audience, goals, etc. – remember that there are two opportunities for your company: the podcast itself and the written transcripts. The power of both offers increased exposure to new listeners, who now have the tools to become new buyers, too.

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