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You Can’t Rely on a Podcast Transcript To Do the Heavy Lifting of Promotion. Here’s Why

May 8, 2024

Creating and posting a podcast transcript for every episode of your show is now one of the gold standards of good B2B podcast production.

And while we wholeheartedly agree that a transcript is an essential element when publishing your podcast, merely posting a raw transcript on a page of your website isn’t enough to market your show.

Brands that get the most mileage out of their show don’t rely on a transcript alone because they know that isn’t enough. They invest in other efforts, going above and beyond for greater reach and maximum impact.

Keep reading to learn why posting your episode transcripts isn’t sufficient, what you should do instead, and why.

Why you should post your podcast transcript

A transcript isn’t an all-in-one marketing tool for your show (and your brand) on its own — far from it. But it does play a role in promoting your show, and you should post a transcript for every episode.

1. It makes your show accessible

When it comes to accessibility, small changes can make a major difference. Where much of your podcast audience likely think nothing of putting in their AirPods and listening to an episode, that’s not everyone’s reality.

Podcast transcripts give hearing-impaired individuals the chance to engage with your show by reading its word-for-word content instead of listening. As a result, providing a transcript widens your potential listenership while showing that your podcast is for anyone in your target audience.

2. It’s a start for SEO

As a baseline for SEO, a podcast transcript ensures that the content of every episode is available in written form. It can aid search within podcast apps, and it’s a starting point for SEO — but it’s far from a magic bullet.

Your episode is likely to include keywords and phrases associated with your brand’s expertise or the needs of your ideal customer profile (ICP), so a transcript can help people find your show. But since it’s not structured to respond to “search intent,” simply posting a transcript won’t land you on the first pages of SERPs.

It’s still a helpful tool, though, and there is a lot you can lift from the transcript to help people discover your brand and offerings. We’ll get to that soon.

Read more: Get Your Podcast on the First Page of Google. Here’s How a Niche Podcast Did It

How transcripts don’t measure up

A podcast episode transcript carries its fair share of limitations.

If you’ve ever tried to read a podcast transcript on its own, you know that the transcript is an unforgiving format. After all, it’s a full record of what is said during the episode. You’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone who loves reading a massive, unbroken wall of text, so podcast transcripts offer a far less-than-ideal reading experience.

Transcripts are also limited to the episode’s conversation verbatim, with no room to expand or help a potential reader understand the topic better. The conversation limits the tone of the transcript, too. If a guest on your podcast goes on tangents or speaks more casually than your brand voice, the transcript likely won’t fit the tone you want to project.

Luckily, a podcast transcript is far from the only way to help your audience interact with your podcast content in written form. Consider the wide range of ways to take your podcast episode content the extra mile:

⭐ Show notes
⭐ Blog posts
⭐ Listicles
⭐ Ebooks and white papers
⭐ Thought leadership social media posts
⭐ Short, shareable video or audio clips

All of these options will help promote and expand your podcast’s reach.

The reasons to go beyond the transcript

If you’re still ready to post your podcast transcript and call it a day, give us another minute. Here are some of the most compelling reasons to go beyond your podcast transcript — and how they help your audience and your brand.

👉Skimmability: a better reading experience

While a podcast transcript is helpful for reading along while listening to an episode, a full transcript isn’t exactly reader-friendly.

But when you turn your podcast into a value-packed long-form piece like a blog post or listicle, you’ve structured the information in a more compelling way for readers. These formats let you include skimmability features like:

  • Headers, which help readers know what to expect in a section
  • Pull quotes, which emphasize core ideas and takeaways and encourage external sharing
  • Bolded sentences, which draw readers’ eyes and show what’s important
  • Bulleted lists (like this one!) which make a list of steps more digestible or groups of items easier to understand

By shifting from the density of a transcript to a readable blog post or white paper, you give readers a clear picture of what they’ll get out of the content.

Ironically, these features designed to help someone skim are more likely to encourage them to read all of the content because you’ve proven that it’s worth their time.

👉Shareability: leverage insights for multi-platform audience building

When you translate podcast insights to other formats — from quotes to short lists of takeaways — you multiply your channels to share those insights exponentially.

Taken at face value, a podcast transcript is never going to be LinkedIn-ready — for many reasons, not the least of which is character count! But when you turn wisdom from your well-researched podcast episode (based on the transcript!) into succinct, value-focused LinkedIn posts or Twitter threads, you’re taking action to increase engagement and help drive awareness of your brand and your podcast. This isn’t always the fastest route to more downloads. But this approach will drive results in the long term.

Repurposing for social media lets you create what Amanda Natividad, VP of Marketing at SparkToro, calls “zero-click content.” Most platforms are making it a steep uphill battle to convince audiences to click a call to action. In this environment, providing inherent value within a post — with a click optional but not required — is essential to teach your audience and show them what you have to offer.

While the impact of zero-click content is far tougher to measure, giving away value and insights for free — AKA, even without requiring a click — builds trust. You’ll entice your audience to want more of what you have to say (through your podcast and otherwise) in the short run and in the long haul.

Distill your transcript into the nuggets of wisdom that are worth sharing, and you’ll massively expand your podcast’s impact.

👉Expandability: tell better, more in-depth stories

At some point, we’ve all encountered that one friend who just isn’t a great storyteller. The story might be super exciting, but hearing them tell it is anything but thrilling!

Now think of that friend who has the gift of gab. When they tell you a story, they leave no detail out and can describe a scene so vividly that you feel like you’re there. They know how to adapt to their audience, add helpful context (but not too much!) and weave in humor. Listeners hang onto their every word and remember their stories long after they’ve finished talking.

Which friend would you rather promote your podcast? The second one, right?

While a podcast transcript gives you a full rundown of the episode, you usually have to navigate quite a bit of text to get to the compelling details. It’s kind of like that first friend who isn’t a great storyteller.

Transforming your podcast content into different formats, like a blog post or white paper, lets you dig in deeper than your episode’s conversation. Did the guest mention a topic in passing? Use your written content to expound further or reference other sources. Do you have additional internal expertise to add to a topic discussed in a particular episode? Use your organization’s own knowledge to add more insights for the reader.

Repurposing or transforming the content lets you cross-reference other content and explain additional concepts to offer greater value to your audience. Plus, if you have multiple related podcast episodes, you can combine the insights from all of them for a larger, more in-depth guide. That wouldn’t be possible when relying on just transcripts!

👉Rankability: get your podcast found

As noted, a podcast transcript is a first step toward better SEO.

But repurposing that transcript to create long-form content is a much better approach for getting your content to rank and get discovered.

Plus, you can include backlinks to other places on your blog or website and make relevant callouts to your products or services throughout. These links will also help your site with SEO.

One of the biggest SEO wins of going beyond a transcript, though, is that long-form pieces can serve as an expert source for others’ content to link to. (When was the last time you read content where someone linked to a podcast episode transcript?) These references will be invaluable for establishing the authority of your site and helping your SERP ranking.

👉Enjoyability: it’s just more compelling

Listening to a podcast episode can make your audience feel like they’re in the room with you. They can literally hear your guest’s personality, and your rapport becomes quickly apparent.

But a transcript can lack some of that life and personality. When you craft a well-designed piece of content based on the episode, you can infuse it with your brand voice and bring back the personality missing from the transcript itself.

You get to set the tone of the long-form content and create the kind of reading experience that won’t just make your audience read to the end but will keep them coming back for future content — both written content and every episode of your podcast.

Jaclyn Schiff
May 8, 2024
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