Podcast transcripts. Are they really necessary?
The short answer is–yes (if you want optimal visibility in search engines, maximum engagement with your content, and access to their other many benefits).
In this blog, we break down the 6 reasons you should use podcast transcripts, and how to get the most accurate renderings without spending a lot of time or money.
Reason #1. They boost the accessibility and inclusivity of your content.
As podcast popularity rises, there will naturally be more people who are hard of hearing who will need transcriptions to engage with your content.
Making your podcast more accessible also helps engage people in your audience who simply prefer to skim a transcript than listen to an entire episode.
And for people new to your content who have subscribed yet, a transcript gives them the opportunity to look over your episodes and decide whether or not it’s for them.
In each situation, the goal is to remove as many obstacles to people finding and engaging with your content as possible.
Reason #2. They help your podcast's search engine optimization (SEO).
Including transcripts on your podcast hosting website, your Podpage, and blog can improve the performance of your podcast in search engine results. You can even upload transcripts with your video file on YouTube, so you can optimize the performance of your video podcast.
So why do transcripts boost visibility, exactly? Essentially, they act as a really long blog post. The average podcast transcript (for a 30-minute episode) is around 3500 words. This added piece of content can go a long way toward making your podcast easier to find and increasing the chances people stick around after finding it.
Reason #3. They make it easier to repurpose your content.
Repurposing your content is one of the most effective ways to promote your content across channels without putting in a ton of effort for each individual outlet.
Here's a full list of creative ways you can use your transcriptions:
- Social media posts
- Blog post
- Videos from clips of the audio file
- Turn a podcast into an e-book
- Create show notes for each episode
- Rework into an e-book or PDF freebie
We think adding episode transcripts to your workflow pays you back in dividends for any time you put in on the front end.
Reason #4. They help build trust and credibility.
Accurate and timely episode transcripts demonstrate to your listeners that you’re serious about your podcast and consider the user experience above all.
Even small considerations like transcripts and chapter makers can make a significant impact on your levels of engagement.
This kind of attention to the needs of your listeners builds trust with potential new subscribers, who are more likely to stick around if they can easily find what they’re looking for.
In the end, your listeners love when you make things as easy as possible for them. And they'll likely repay you with their loyalty.
Reason #5. They make for easier editing and revisions.
A transcript is a game changer when it comes to editing your episodes.
Editing long podcast audio files can be time-consuming–especially if you have a show that’s longer than the average 30 minutes. You often have to listen through the entire recording at least once to make your edits–all without a guide for where topics are within your episode.
A transcript can include chapter markers and timestamps that allow you to more easily jump around your episode and zoom in on specific areas without wasting time searching for the right spot.
This time can add up for podcasters with longer-form content! Transcripts are a hidden secret for speeding up the process.
Reason #6. They can come in handy should any legal issues arise.
Most podcasters don’t run into legal issues, but if you do, having a transcript is a built-in written record of what was said on the show, which can help in case any potential issues arise from content discussed during an episode.
Again, legal issues in podcasting are rare (but do exist, thus the Podcast Lawyer) But, transcripts may be helpful for podcast episodes covering sensitive topics or with certain sponsors, so it's a good idea to have them available.
Keep in mind: Show notes don't appear within all podcast apps. Each app displays them in a different way, but PocketCasts, Overcast, and Castro display show notes most accurately.
3 Ways to create a podcast transcript (free and paid options)
There are a variety of tools you can use to transcribe your podcast. The best one for you just depends on your resources and budget.
Here are some options:
- Do it yourself. While this is the most time-consuming option, it's also the cheapest (and the only free one.) Of all the options, this one will get you the most accurate results–since only you know exactly what you said. Just re-listen to your episode, transcribe it into a google doc, and optimize it with timestamps.
- Use a service. If you don't have the time to transcribe episodes yourself, your best bet is podcast transcription software like Otter.ai. Just upload your podcast audio file and within minutes you’ll get an accurate transcription.
- Pay another human transcriber. Paying a human transcriber is the most expensive option monetarily, but will save you the most time and effort. Rev is an excellent human podcast transcription service and runs $1.50 per minute with 99% accuracy.
In our opinion, Otter.ai is the best option for most podcasters. Their free option gives you 300 transcription minutes per month. The only catch is the file size can’t be longer than 30 minutes. But, you can easily chop the episode in half if you have longer-form content.
If you have more than 300 minutes of content a month, they offer free trial of the Business Plan so you can see how it works for you. Just remember, AI isn't perfect, so you'll have to spend some time editing each draft.
Podcast episode transcripts make your content more accessible, improve SEO, help you repurpose the audio into other formats, build trust with potential subscribers, make editing easier, and provide added protection in case of any legal issues.
We hope this post helped clarify why this one added step can be so beneficial to your content!