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Should You Turn Your Podcasts Into a Vodcast?

Although most of us think of podcasting as an audio-exclusive medium, more and more creators are opting to record their episodes on video and upload them to YouTube, Patreon, and their own websites. These “vodcasts” are the same as any traditional podcast episode, but allow subscribers to watch the conversation unfold in real-time rather than simply listening along. But does this enhance the experience for listeners, or is it just an excuse for more ad revenue?

When Video is Necessary

There are several reasons why a video component might add value to your podcast. Shows like The Inclusive Storytelling podcast often include visual aids; others might involve costumes or physical comedy, and the physical appearance of the hosts is discussed in detail. Other podcasts which rely heavily on visual aids may benefit from video rather than posting referenced photographs on social media later on, when the listener’s interest has already faded.

Video is also a helpful component for broadening the listener base; some fans of the show may have temporary or permanent hearing disabilities and appreciate the ability to either read the hosts’ lips or enjoy closed captioning in addition to the audio. Furthermore, listeners are more likely to respond well to content that reflects their own identities; if the hosts are individuals from a traditionally underrepresented community, video adds value by revealing that to fans who may not have otherwise known the face behind the voice. You’ll see what we’re talking about in shows like The Dad Next Door.

Furthermore, video adds to the shareability factor. Short clips get gif’ed, or are spread around TikTok, YouTube Shorts, giphy, Apple Gifs, etc. Even if the video itself isn’t very visually compelling, the same level of shareability isn’t possible with audio-only content. Sure, clips can be used on TikTok for the sound, but if your target audience isn’t using that platform, your buck stops there.

When Audio is Plenty

It’s safe to say that if your original idea worked well in podcast format, it probably doesn’t need to be translated to video. Adding a video component requires additional equipment, editing, data storage, and upload time — and all of these require additional time, money, and manpower. If you have guests on your show, they may not necessarily desire to be shown on camera — after all, podcasting is the go-to medium for camera-shy creators — in which case you’ll have to decide whether you’ll only film certain episodes or if you’ll need to invest in face-blurring software.

You may also run the risk of cannibalizing your show’s success. If you begin to rely too heavily on the benefit of the camera, you may unwittingly transform your show into one that requires visual aids, making the podcast itself defunct. Additionally, your subscribers may not necessarily have the ability to enjoy your videos. If they prefer to listen to podcasts on their commute to work or school, it’s unlikely that they’ll be looking at a screen often. Your listeners may only desire to consume your show when their visual attention can be focused on other things. You wouldn’t put on a music video while you work on a painting or graphic design, and your subscribers won’t want to watch your videos while they drive or study.

Finally, an audio medium offers plenty of opportunity for interaction and innovation without relying on video. If you’re considering ways to make your audience feel more engaged, consider instead using a 360-degree channel microphone, which creates a highly-realistic illusion of audio being directly beside, in front of, or behind the listener. You can also make a point to describe the physical happenings in the room as they’re occurring — for example, “My fellow host is making a sort of disgusted face right now,” or “We’re looking at a photograph of a person with long, dark hair and a pronounced scar across their face.”

Final Thoughts

When you’re considering whether to use video for your podcast, it may be helpful to weigh the needs of your audience against the costs of labor and equipment required for adding a video component. You may even find that your show is better-suited for video, and that a YouTube channel, vlog, or digital web series is the way to go. When in doubt, it never hurts to ask your fans what they think. Check out more tips on handling the visual component of your podcast here.

Does your brand require a vodcast to get the message across? We can help with that. Email Mr. Thrive Media for all-around podcast support to bring your narrative to the next level.

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