I know what you may be thinking:

“Podcasts are a primarily audio medium, so why would I want to include a text transcript of what I just said?”

The truth is, there are a lot of reasons.

From improving SEO rankings to increasing subscription rates to increasing web accessibility, including an audio to text transcription of your podcast has numerous benefits.

With  Podcast Insights latest report noting that there are over 800,000 podcast shows out there, you need to do everything you can to make your show stand out and help your audience discover your work.

Here are some of the essential reasons to transcribe podcasts:

Improves SEO Rankings

According to Edison Research, 73% of US podcast listeners discover podcasts through searching on the web.

The problem with this is that search engines index content based on written words. Google can’t crawl through audio.  It needs text from web pages, transcripts and descriptions.

Yes, Google reported last year that it will begin using speech technology to start ‘reading’ podcasts for inclusion in search results. However, the reality is that the rollout is gradual and from my experience, not working brilliantly, yet.

Take for example the podcast Spectacular Failures, listed by Time Magazine as one of the top 10 best podcasts of 2019. Their 1 July 2019 episode entitled ‘Schlitz Beer goes bad, then worse’ starts off with a collector talking about his ‘Shlitz breweriana’.  Yet a Google keyword search doesn’t pull up this podcast, unless you include the word ‘podcast’ at the end of the query. Not ideal if you are trying to reach the 50% of individuals that still don’t know what podcasts are.

So for now, including subtitles and transcriptions is the only way to ensure that Google and other search engines have a keyword-rich, well-structured text to crawl and index.  This in-turn increases SEO rankings, which ultimately leads to increased viewership.

Don’t just take my word for it.

The radio show This American Life (TAL) found that after transcribing all of their audio content they had a 6.68% increase in search traffic directly attributable to transcripts.

Adding the transcript meant that TAL was able to bring in additional traffic who found it during a Google search, even whey they weren’t looking for a podcast specifically.

Callie Wright, moderator of the Podcasters' Support Group FaceBook Group, recommends transcripts.

Makes Social Media Sharing Easier

A transcription of your podcast makes it easier, and more likely, for a listener to post an interesting quote from your content into their Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts.

Why?

People are inherently lazy.  They don’t have time to listen, pause, and type out that great snippet of information you just bestowed on them.  They love it, but not that much.  

However, if that great quote is typed out for them, they just might take that extra step of copying and pasting it into their social media feed along with a backlink to your podcast.  

Yay for all!

Can Increase Subscription Rates

The Infinite Dial Report 2019 noted that among non-listeners of podcasts, 41% stated the reason they don’t listen to podcasts is because ‘listening to podcasts can use up a lot of a phone’s data plan’.  Forty percent of respondents also said that ‘podcasts are too long’.

Adding a transcript of your podcast may overcome these two issues to drive more listeners  - and subscribers - to your podcast.

Additionally, a lot of first time visitors to your podcast may prefer to initially skim a transcript of the show to gauge how interesting or informative the content is before deciding if its worth their time to listen to the whole show. Having a transcript, therefore, can help push them to subscribe to the podcast faster.

Easily Extends Your Content

Having a text document of your podcast makes it easier to repurpose your podcast content into different mediums such as show notes, social media posts, a blog post, or an engaging e-mail newsletter.

For one, with a transcript you can easily cut and paste the content without spending hours listening to, pausing and typing out new content.

Also, it’s easier to scan transcription text of several podcasts on a similar topic to find a common theme for a blog post or engaging e-mail newsletter than it is to re-listen to hours of audio.

Increases Web Accessibility

The European Federation of Hard of Hearing People estimates that there are 51 million individuals that are either hard of hearing or deaf within the EU. In the US, 20 million. This means that a staggering 71 million people in the US and EU alone have no way to engage with an audio only podcast. Providing a transcript of your podcast provides an accessible way to extend your content reach.

It can also provide a unique way to differentiate your podcast from the majority.

Happy Scribe’s recent review of the top 50 Apple podcasts in the the US found that only 8% of those podcasts provided text transcripts.  Including a transcript in your podcast provides a fantastic opportunity to differentiate your podcast, and open it up to the millions of individuals who require accessible content.

It’s Easy!

Providing and audio to text transcription of your podcast doesn’t have to be a tedious or expensive process.  Advancements in AI technology mean that automatic transcription services are becoming more accurate, cost effective and quick, meaning podcasters no longer need to spend valuable time manually transcribing or editing automated transcripts.

Are you a podcaster that uses transcripts?  If so, let the team at Happy Scribe know why you choose to include transcripts with your audio.  We would love to hear from!