Some people would say that making podcasts is as easy as making pie. After all, the only thing you have to do is talk and talk and talk, right? Having a solid grasp of the topic and a good and pleasant-to-hear voice helps, yes, but even without these, one can make, with the help of scripts and prompters, stunning enough podcasts for people to listen to.
Those who would believe that the above sentences are correct must not have any experience at all of making podcasts, nor even also of making pies, for like pie-making, there is an art and craft to the creation of good podcasts that are above and beyond the norm, and that truly deliver good content in an easy-to-understand way. There are many steps to follow, many things to consider, many points to remember, and many options to choose from.
One of the most important points to consider in podcast creation is whether or not to provide a transcript, i.e., a copy of a podcast’s content presented in the written format. Arguments abound whether or not to even consider providing one. While there are some valid points to be made about one not needing to provide podcast transcripts (one of the most important being the cost of getting good transcripts in the first place, although this can be abated by having your podcasts transcribed by a transcription company with vast experience and expertise in creating podcast transcripts which offer good rates for you to consider), there are also very great and convincing reasons to consider making a transcript available.
Importance of Podcast Transcriptions
1. To enhance user experience
One of the most important things to consider when making podcasts is the user experience of those who would listen to it. Of course, you want your listeners to be as comfortable and at ease as much as possible when consuming your podcasts, and the user experience when consuming your podcast as simple and as accessible as possible, because if they found your podcasts accessible and user-friendly and thus rather enjoyable, they would undoubtedly tell their friends to listen to your podcasts, thus increasing your audience and boosting your podcasts’ popularity, which is by no means a bad result, but rather is the end goal of producing podcasts.
A transcript would go a long way towards improving the user experience of your podcast, for not only can a transcript allow them to jot down notes and interesting segments far easier than it would be, it also gives them the option of consuming your podcast by reading through its content. Having these two options lets anyone – whether they like reading or listening, whether they merely like to skim over what they consider important parts of your podcast or listen to in its entirety – have their pick of how to enjoy podcasts, thus enhancing their – you guessed it – user experience.
2. Reading versus listening
As much as some people love listening to podcasts, there would no doubt be a rather significant population of your listeners who would prefer the option of having written records of your podcasts stored in an easy-to-access place for them to access and enjoy.
There are many reasons for this, one of the most obvious ones being that some people just like reading more than listening to podcasts, and thus they are able to extract better meaning and understanding from a podcast if they were to read it and engage their eyes rather than simply use their ears and merely listen to it.
Even those people who prefer listening to your podcast than reading it would appreciate having the option of getting a look-over at the contents of your podcast via transcripts, for then these transcripts could help them decide whether to listen to the entirety of your podcast.
3. To boost your SEO
What is the easiest way of knowing something in this day and age?
Going to the libraries is one way, yes, but it is not the easiest nor is it the most comfortable way. Asking friends for help is another, but there is always the chance that even with all of your friends combined, none of them would know the answer to a specific question you’re posing.
What, then, is the best way of knowing something in this day and age?
One answer comes to mind very quickly: the Internet, and more precisely, search engines like Google or Yahoo!
But alas, these search engines may profess to know everything, or at least knowing where to search to get the information you want, but there is still a field that they haven’t touched on as much as they probably should have: that of the field of audio content.
Most search engines are still unable to “listen” to audio recordings, podcasts, and the like to find content within them. There is a workaround to it, however.
There is nothing more than search engines love to “read” than the written text, and so posting transcripts of your podcasts on your website would allow these search engines to “see” your podcasts’ contents and position them higher in search results than what you would otherwise get without podcast transcripts.
4. Increase accessibility for everyone
Podcasts are a wonderful medium, but not everyone can enjoy them in the same way someone else might.
Consider, for instance, deaf or hard-of-hearing people. They wouldn’t be able to enjoy your podcast because of their auditory impairment. Or what about people whose first language is not English and thus may have some good bit of trouble following along on your podcast? Or people whose disorders may give them an inability to understand audio content, or even make it so hard for them to try to make sense of auditory content that the only recourse left for them is to consume content in other forms?
It may not even be practical or of good sense to listen to a podcast in certain settings. For instance, putting earphones on and listening to a podcast in the middle of the class would be rude to the professor or instructor teaching upfront, but opening up a transcript or two and reading it subtly on your laptop or a well-hidden smartphone would never hurt anyone. Just make sure to not get so engrossed in reading podcast transcripts that you forget to pay attention to the lecture!