Early on in my podcasting journey, I did not include transcripts in each episode — but I’ve realized now that was a mistake.
Since I heard conflicting opinions from more experienced podcasters, I chose to play it safe (or so I thought). “No one reads them.” “They are a waste of time,” they said. Well, almost three years later, I find myself transcribing an archive of over 65 episodes!
While admittedly time-consuming and not the most exciting part of producing my show, The Thought Card Podcast, I would have spent the extra time creating transcripts for each episode if I had known better. So, if you’re wondering, are podcast transcripts worth it? I’d say yes!
After reading this article, I hope that you begin to see podcast transcripts as an integral part of your long-term marketing strategy rather than just another task to complete.
Here are four reasons why podcast transcripts are worth it and some tools you can use to transcribe audio.
What are Podcast Transcripts?
Podcast transcripts share the word-for-word text of audio files. Find transcripts on podcast websites, usually inside the show notes specific to that episode. Embed them on your website with a WordPress plug-in or attach a pdf file. Some hosting platforms like Captivate have built-in features for transcripts; however, this isn’t mainstream yet. Furthermore, transcripts are not found on podcast players like Apple Podcasts or Spotify. Also, RSS feeds do not support transcription.
Benefits of Podcast Transcripts
Repurpose Existing Content
If you write blog posts, you can use your transcripts to uncover potential blog post ideas that you may have otherwise missed. By using a tool like Otteri.ai, copy and paste the sections you’d like to include in the blog post and expand on ideas where appropriate.
Another way to repurpose your transcript is by writing blog posts that summarize one or more episodes’ main concepts. For example, in this article, ‘How To Increase Your Salary & Advocate For Yourself At Work,’ I combined two podcast episodes with related themes. I also embedded the podcast players so potential readers can listen to each episode.
Lastly, use podcast transcripts to create social media graphics highlighting notable quotes or sound bites of an episode.
For audience members with a hearing impairment, podcast transcripts will improve your show’s accessibility giving listeners with hearing disabilities a chance to enjoy your content. Brée Nachelle, the host of Fabulous F**kery Podcast, shares: “Having a text version of my podcast reduces barriers for the neurodiverse community who would not have come across my content if it were audio-only.” Transcripts may also benefit non-native speakers who may need to look up words.
Enhance Discoverability with Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Unlike bloggers and YouTubers, search engine optimization is one of the organic marketing strategies underutilized by podcasters. While search engine bots cannot crawl audio files yet (they are working on it), they can crawl written text to find keywords.
Keywords are words or phrases people use when searching online. Using keywords in both your show notes and transcripts will help increase the likeliness of your podcast ranking in search results.
Overall, podcast transcripts are worth it because they can help you gain new listeners by including your episodes in relevant search queries.
How can you ensure keywords are included in your transcripts?
For the most part, you’ll have already mentioned keywords naturally throughout the episode, so there’s nothing more to do. Creating transcripts and sprinkling keywords throughout your show notes is enough for Google to begin working its magic.
Expand Show Notes
Instead of starting your show notes from scratch, save time by using your podcast transcripts as a starting point. Use your transcripts to summarize the main points and highlight overarching themes. Transcripts can even help you and your listeners pinpoint specific tips or topics quickly without having to listen to the entire episode.
Tools for Creating Podcast Transcripts
Various tools ranging from free to paid can help you quickly transcribe audio files.
If you’re on a budget, Otter.ai is an AI-powered transcription tool that will help you get the job done. Offering only 600 minutes per month on the free plan, upgrade to Otter Pro to improve the accuracy and transcribe up to 6,000 minutes per month. Otter saves you time by automatically skipping filler words like “um” or “hmm.” If you intend to use the free version, I recommend reading through the transcript and checking for errors before publishing.
Offering both automated and human-powered transcription, Descript is an audio and video recording and editing tool that works like a document. When you delete text, it simultaneously removes it from the audio.
If you prefer human transcription, Rev.com converts audio and video to text at a rate of $1.25 per minute (99% accuracy) if you prefer human transcription. Rev’s team of professional freelance transcriptions, captioners, and translators deliver transcripts within 12 hours and 4 hours for rush deliveries.
Helpful Tip: I recommend transcribing an episode after it has been edited. This will save you time, and as a result, your transcripts will only include what was mentioned in the episode.
Advantages of Transcripts
- Reach a wider audience through search engine optimization.
- Improve accessibility for hard-of-hearing listeners.
- Repurpose content into long-form blog posts and short-form social media posts.
Disadvantages of Transcripts
- Time-consuming to create.
- May not see immediate results in the growth of your show.
- An additional cost to make.
Should you transcribe your podcast episodes? Since the benefits far outweigh the cons, I recommend transcribing podcast episodes; however, if you’ve already launched and do not have the time to go back and tackle your archives, start where you’re at. Moving forward, work on transcribing each episode by adding it to your podcast production workflow. Save time by finding a transcription service that works for you.