Should You Transcribe Your Podcast?
Updated: May 31
In the 6 years since we started a podcast, there has been a total of one (1) request for a transcription of an episode. That was the Natasha Gargiulo episode back in 2018, and the person asking was hearing impaired. Natasha has a very large Canadian following, and I would have been more than happy to help out one of her followers. Sadly, at the time, I was largely clueless on how to do this. Today, I am happy to report that I know a little more on the topic.
At Podcast Movement last month, the Live New Media show with Todd
Cochrane and Rob Greenlee had Andy Bowers, Rachael King and James Cridland on as guests, and the subject of transcription came up.
I have to admit that after dabbling with the offerings from Headliner, Descript, and the Microsoft offering in my subscription, I was largely underwhelmed with its efficiency and honestly questioned its necessity. After a brief Twitter exchange, I pivoted positions; providing a transcription is the right thing to do for your show. There are some SEO benefits, and it adds a nice dimension to your website content.
But these questions were still burning:
-Why is it the responsibility of the content creator to provide them?
-Why would I want someone reading the show when I want them listening to it? (I get paid in downloads, you know.)
-Why should I pay for this? It’s expensive.
I think I can answer these.
Companies like Amazon, Google, Spotify, and Apple all have the technology to do this. But there is nothing in it for them. In fact, all it takes is a few mis-transcribed words to launch them into a lawsuit.
As for people reading the show rather than downloading it, that might happen- and if the person doing so is hearing impaired, that should make you feel good. But here’s a side marketing bonus you probably didn’t consider: Bloggers and writers can easily cut and paste quotes from you and your guests, and credit your podcast. This recently happened to one of my older episodes, and it led to a few more followers. Sometimes it’s the things that you didn’t plan for that make it all worthwhile.
As for justifying the price, that’s going to have to be a personal decision. It’s more than the subscription cost- it’s also spending the time after the transcription has been made to verify spelling and oddly pronounced words. It will likely take you even longer If your podcast is about something scientific or medical, or cities in Wales. As it stands now, some transcripts refer to me as Mad Kendall which I am considering adopting as my new wrestling name. And for networks who manage podcasts, between paying the humans reviewing the shows and paying for the subscriptions, the costs add up.
One of the big reasons podcasters get involved with transcription is for the SEO. However, there are some who believe that simply attaching a transcription to the bottom of the episode page on your website will result in Google judging the page to be too long for ideal consumption.
My thanks to James Cridland for the suggestion of finding a sponsor to assist with the payment of the podcast transcription costs. Your podcast is more than just pre-rolls and mid-rolls.
Look for newer episodes of the Sound Off Podcast to contain transcriptions of each episode via Poddin.io. We decided to partner with Poddin because of its efficiency and its downloadable player, ease of use, and now with the ability to pull from your podcast’s RSS feed.
Here are some of the other services we tried and largely liked. Choose wisely.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:00:00
One of the questions I get asked a lot is, should you transcribe your podcast? And I'm here to tell you, maybe.
Tara Sands (VO) 00:00:09
The The Sound Off Podcast. The Podcast about broadcast with Matt Cundill.... Starts Now.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:00:18
In the six years since we started The Sound Off Podcast, there has been a total of one request for a transcription of an episode. I think back to the episode I did with Natasha Guard Julie back in 2018, and one of her fans was hearing impaired and asked, Can I get a transcript of the show? And I have to admit, I was a little bit lost about how I would handle this. Most services asked for money, and I really wasn't in a position to buy a transcript for one person. Yes, sadly, at the time I was largely clueless on how to do this. But today I'm happy to report that I know a lot more about the subject at Podcast movement. Back in March, the new media show Todd Cochrane and Rob Greenley. If you listen to them on a regular basis, they say that you'll have a PhD in podcasting. I'm still waiting for them to send me one in the mail. Anyhow, their guests were Rachel King and Andy Bowers and James Cridland. And the subject of transcription came up and it got me thinking about the offerings out there from Headliner, which I subscribe to Description, which I've tried out, and the Microsoft offering in my subscription, which James Cridland told me I could access for free if I've got the subscription, which I do. So I was largely overwhelmed with the efficiency of that one. The other two are pretty good. And then I got into the Twitter exchange with them. I explained that with transcription services only being about 85, 90, 93% efficient, you still got to pay somebody to go through and correct it, or you could do it yourself. But again, time is money, and I'm aware that there are some SEO benefits to having a transcription on your website. It's a nice offer as well. But here are the questions I still have burning in my mind. Why is it the responsibility of the content creator to provide them? Why would I want somebody reading my show when I really want them listening to it? After all, there are ads in this podcast and this guy right here gets paid by the download. And then the other thing is the expense. Why am I paying for this? Who am I making happy? And could I be doing something else in the interim? I think I can answer some of these. So companies like Amazon, Google, Spotify and Apple all have the technology to do this, but when you think about it, there's really nothing in it for them. In fact, all it takes is a mistranscribed word or two, and then you, the content creator would go back and take them to court. As to those people who like to read the show rather than downloading it. Well, that might happen. And if the person doing so is hearing impaired, that should make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. But here's a side marketing bonus that you probably didn't consider. Bloggers and writers can easily cut and paste quotes from you and your guests and credit your podcast. That actually happened to me with one of my episodes a few weeks ago. This recently happened to me in one of my older episodes, and it led to a few more followers. Sometimes it's the things in life that you didn't plan for that make it all worthwhile. As for justifying the price, that's going to have to be a personal decision on your part. It's more the subscription cost, and it's also spending time after the transcription has been made to verify the spelling and oddly pronounced words. It will likely also take you even longer if your podcast is something scientific or medical, or deals with cities in Wales. And what if you have an accent, say, Scottish or from Newfoundland? As it stands now, some transcripts refer to me as Mad Kendall, which I'm considering adopting as my new wrestling name. And as for the networks who manage podcasts, they're going to be paying humans to review the transcripts as well as paying subscriptions to get the transcripts. Those costs add up, and you'll have to pass those on to your client. One of the big reasons podcasters get involved with transcription is for the SEO. However, there are some who believe that simply attaching a transcription to the bottom of your episode page on your website is just going to result in Google judging the page to be too long for ideal consumption. So tread carefully and this is where you bring in the SEO expert to double check your results. So my thanks to James Cridland for the suggestion of finding a sponsor to assist with the payment of podcast transcription costs. One of the things I have to remind myself the podcast is more than just pre rolls and mid rolls. There's other parts of inventory that can be bought or sold. So for instance....
Sarah Burke (VO) 00:04:37
Transcription for the Sound Off Podcast is powered by Poddin.io. Your podcast is an SEO goldmine. We help you to dig out start your free trial now at Poddin.io
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:04:48
We will make an attempt to go back and transcribe some of the more popular episodes of the Sound Off podcast. We're so happy to have partnered with them because of its efficiency and its downloadable player, the ease of use. And we'd also like to point out how it can maneuver accents, whether it be Scottish, English, Australian or Canadian. We also have a few other things that you can check out and make decisions on your own. Headliner descript Microsoft. If you have a subscription, AWS has one, and you can also check out Trent. For more, you can go to Soundopodcast.com and check out the transcription of this episode. See what I did there.
Tara Sands (VO) 00:06:23
The Sound Off Podcast with Matt Cundill.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:06:27
Okay, so a brand new podcast is coming out. You've heard me talk about the podcast Super Friends in the past. Johnny Peterson from Straight Up Podcasts, John Gay from Jagging Detroit Podcasts, Katherine O'Brien from Branch Out Programs, David Yaz from the Boston Podcast Network and myself, we form the podcast Super Friends. Every month we get together and we talk about the issues around making a better podcast, whether that's marketing or content creation. Where to Put Your podcast even transcribing your podcast. Much like the conversation I've just had here today, we stream it live and all the connection points are in the show notes of this episode. If you would like to connect to it, we're really excited to be sharing some of the information about the podcast space with you and feel free to connect with any one of them. If you're ever thinking about starting a podcast.
Tara Sands (VO) 00:07:14
The Sound Off Podcast written And hosted by Matt Cundill produced by Evan Surminski, Social Media by Courtney Krebsbach another great creation from the The Soundoff Media Company. There's always more at soundoffpodcast.com.