Video podcasts: what they are & why you should make one

Video Podcast

Creating videos to go along with your podcast makes sense on every level. The videos will help promote your podcast on places like YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok (though please be aware that only teenagers understand TikTok, and they’re too annoyed by you to explain it). Posting videos expands your reach to people who haven’t downloaded Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, etc., or who prefer to watch, or just listen to, a video. 

And creating the video doesn’t add a lot of work. You can keep production simple, and there’s some amazing software out there that lets you edit video in the same app where you make your podcast. Surprise! That software is Descript. 

So you should do it. Here are the basics, starting with definitions, then breaking down some of the different types of video podcasts, and finally some basic steps for creating videos to supplement and support your podcast. 

Record or import audio, make edits, add fades, music, and sound effects, then publish online, export the audio in the format of your choice or send it directly to your hosting service.
Create your podcast from start to finish with Descript.

What is a video podcast?

A video podcast is, as its name suggests, a podcast with an accompanying video. The audio content is still the creative focus, and the video content usually isn’t elaborate. In most cases, video podcasts consist simply of edited video of the podcast being recorded.

Incorporating video into your podcast is worth a little extra work because it opens new avenues to audiences. In addition to publishing your audio podcast on platforms like iTunes or Spotify, you'll be able to post your video podcast on platforms like YouTube or Instagram. 

The pioneer of video podcasts is widely considered to be Never Not Funny, launched by comedian Jimmy Pardo in 2006. But the most well-known video podcast is The Joe Rogan Experience. The format is simple: a camera captures Rogan—a comedian and former UFC commentator—interviewing a wide range of guests. Since its debut in 2009, the podcast has amassed more than 11 million subscribers on YouTube. In 2020, Spotify acquired the rights to be the exclusive hosting  platform for over $100 million. (The video podcast medium may be especially well-suited to comedians, whose personalities have been groomed to come to life on camera.)

There are a number of ways to structure a video podcast. In addition to the guest-and-host format employed by Rogan, you can also get creative with b-roll, graphics, and other visual elements. It may seem similar to a vlog, but a video podcast is typically longer and is meant to present information, whereas a vlog is more like a video diary.  

Why should you start a video podcast?

More and more podcast listeners are getting their audio content from video platforms like YouTube. In fact, YouTube has become the top destination for consuming podcasts, with more than twice as many podcast viewer-listeners as Spotify, according to a 2019 survey from the University of Florida and Futuri Media

It’s clear that if you’ve been publishing an audio-only podcast, creating a video version to share on other platforms can help you reach a much larger audience. 

Plus, video podcasts allow you to diversify your ad revenue. Adding a video podcast to platforms like YouTube lets you earn ad revenue beyond your audio sponsors, and to diversify the kind of ads and sponsors you can pursue. 

Types of video podcasts

There are various approaches to creating video podcasts, each with pros and cons. 

In-studio recording

If your podcast has two hosts—or a host and guests—in the same location, in-studio recording could work well.

The setup can be simple: You can do it with one camera and two microphones, though you might want to use multiple cameras depending on where everyone sits in the studio, and how awkward it looks to jam everyone into a single frame. You’ll also eliminate the challenges—wifi, video broadcasting tech, art directing someone’s bedroom, etc.—of a remote interview. 

You will need to watch for mic bleed when you have many voices in the same room. Avoid this by testing different mic set ups and be mindful of each host’s pacing and spacing when recording.

  • Pro: Easy setup, minimal equipment
  • Con: Sound editing can be difficult with multiple people in one room
  • Example video podcast: The Joe Rogan Experience

Remote interview recording

Also called a talking heads podcast (regardless of whether it involves David Byrne), this format has become more common as the pandemic has stifled travel and in-person work. Video recording is fairly easy with platforms like Zoom, but you’ll need video-editing tool (we know a good one) and know-how to edit multiple video files—though if you’re smart you’ll just do it in Descript, which makes it easy

  • Pro: No location constraints
  • Con: Have to manage remote recording and edit video files from each participant
  • Example video podcast: Call Her Daddy

Static image

Using a static image for your video podcast works just like it sounds: The background is a single image that doesn’t move. This approach works for the camera-shy or those who want to make the minimal investment in video. The downside is that static image podcasts are less engaging than those with a true video element. The static image format is also ideal for re-releasing old podcast episodes on a video platform. 

  • Pro: Minimal effort
  • Con: Less engaging for those who like video
  • Example video podcast: Dark Dice

Footage + audio

Rather than filming the hosts speaking live, a footage and audio podcast has a speaker on top of other footage, either live or animated. Many true crime podcasts, for instance, include news clips or reenactments of the story they’re exploring, with the host or narrator’s audio playing on top. Similar to a documentary, it’s an ideal format for more visual storytelling.

  • Pro: Engaging visual storytelling
  • Con: Editing is more complex
  • Example video podcast: Kendall Rae

How to make a video podcast

Creating a podcast with video isn’t as difficult as it may seem, especially when you use the right resources to get the job done. Once you’ve chosen a podcast topic, follow this step-by-step guide to get video into the mix.

  1. Pick a format: Your preferred video podcast format may depend on your topic and logistical constraints. How would your podcast content be best served with video material? Could visuals break down complex concepts, or help the audience connect with your guests? Is everyone on your show local and available for in-studio recording? Do you have the time to edit multiple video files for a remote interview style show? Think about your favorite podcasts and how they incorporate video elements in an additive way. Use them for inspiration.
  2. Script and rehearse: Before you start filming, create a roadmap for the podcast episode. Write a script if you’re uncomfortable with impromptu speaking. Or simply make an outline if you prefer a natural delivery. Practice several times in front of the camera and watch your recordings to see what you like and where you can improve.
  3. Record: Anyone can make a quality video using a smartphone camera and a microphone purchased online. Or you can use a screen recorder if you want to use a static image or demonstrate something on your computer. 
  4. Edit: Use editing software to condense the video and remove word gaps and filler words. Then add audio, music, text, and images. You can also change the ratio to fit various platforms, like YouTube or IGTV. You can do all of this in any editing software; but you definitely shouldn’t do it in any except Descript
  5. Get approvals, if necessary. A guest on a podcast may ask to approve the episode before it goes live. Share the final cut of the video podcast with them for approval before you upload. 
  6. Create a thumbnail: If you don’t make your own thumbnail cover image on platforms like YouTube, the platform will choose it for you. Don't give up this creative control—many viewers make a decision on whether or not to watch a video based on the thumbnail. 
  7. Export and publish: Once your video editing is complete, it’s time to export your video. Then, publish the podcast elements that make sense for each platform. For example, you can include transcript text for show notes on your website or strip the file down to audio-only for traditional podcast platforms. 
  8. Share: Now it’s time to make sure people see your video podcast. Share on all of your social media platforms and invite any guests to do the same. It’s also helpful to include microcontent as a way to attract viewers. Create a small sound clip to include in places like Instagram Stories or LinkedIn.

Ready to jump into video podcasting? Get started with Descript today.

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