The Complete Guide to A Podcast Transcript

Last updated on November 29th, 2019

If you’re spending the time and energy creating podcast episodes, it’s important to make your content as accessible and discoverable as possible. You can add a ton of value to each episode with a podcast transcript. 

What is a Podcast Transcript?

A podcast transcript is a word-for-word account of your episodes. You (or automated software) simply listen to your episode and write down every word spoken by you or your guests. 

You can’t publish your podcast transcriptions on the big podcast directories like iTunes, Google Play, and Spotify, but you can post it on your own podcast website. It’s best to include a transcription for each episode on the same page as your audio player and show notes.

The Benefits of Podcast Transcriptions

Why should you include podcast episode transcriptions alongside your audio files? They have several benefits.

1. They Make Your Episodes More Accessible

According to the World Health Organization, 5% of people struggle with some kind of disabling hearing impairment. They all don’t have total hearing loss, but they may struggle with certain sounds, tones, or pitches. While podcasting is an audio-first medium, that doesn’t mean you can’t make your content available to people with hearing impairments.

An audio transcription gives people with hearing loss a way to enjoy your amazing content. They might use it to supplement the parts they can’t hear. Or they might read it through entirely. But without a written recount of the episode, they won’t be able to experience your show. 

Podcast episode transcriptions also make your show accessible to non-native speakers. If they didn’t grow up speaking their language, your listeners may struggle with certain words and phrases. You can help them out by putting that content in written form for them to look up.

2. They Maximize Your SEO Reach

Sadly, Google can only read and evaluate written text to rank your website. Maybe it will learn to listen to audio files in the future, but for now the only way to make your show discoverable on Google is to add written content to your pages. 

Your show notes are valuable ways to help Google understand what your episodes are about, but notes only create a few hundred words (at most, but usually less). That’s hardly the type of longform content Google likes to show at the top of its results.

A podcast transcript, however, can reach 6,000 words from a 30 minute episode. That’s a ton of content that creates a massive SEO boost for your website, which ultimately makes it easier for new listeners to find your content. 

3. They Encourage Other People to Link to You

Most content creators avoid linking to podcast episodes without audio transcriptions because there’s nothing for their readers/followers to explore without listening to an entire episode. Sometimes they cite the exact minute and second that relates to their content, but that’s a lot of steps for people to follow.

However, content creators don’t mind linking to podcast episodes with audio transcriptions because their readers/followers have something to explore without committing to a full episode or following a lot of steps. So if you want more backlinks (great for SEO!), publish transcriptions. 

4. They Create Content You Can Repurpose

A Podcast transcript is a valuable bank of written copy you can use to create other forms of content. You might use it for email marketing campaigns, social media posts, or infographics. Many podcasters use their transcriptions as sources for blog articles. 

How to Transcribe Podcast Episodes

Now that you understand the benefits of a podcast transcript, you’ll need to understand how to create them for your site. 

1. Castos Automatic Podcast Transcriptions

The easiest way to add a transcription to each podcast is to let software do it automatically. 

If you use Castos as your podcast host, our transcription service will automatically transcribe a full, word-for-word account of each episode. We’ve teamed up with the industry leading text-to-voice technology provider to offer an entirely seamless transcription experience that is available to all of our Castos hosting customers. If you’ve already published episodes with Castos, you can even go back and transcribe previous episodes.

This is a pay-as-you go feature. You can subscribe and/or cancel at any time. There is a $0.10 per audio minute charge that appears in your monthly Castos bill. A 30-minute episode would cost you $3 for a transcription. That’s substantially cheaper than paying someone to transcribe it for you. 

To learn more about using Castos’ transcription service, read this article: Podcast Transcriptions Now Available For Podcast Episodes.

2. Write it Out Yourself

Another option to create podcast episode transcriptions is to write them out yourself. The process is straightforward: Just listen to your episode and write what you and your guests say. 

This method doesn’t cost any money, but it costs your time. A 30-minute episode could take two to three hours to transcribe with pausing and rewinding. After transcribing a few episodes, most podcasters decide that their time is better spent producing content. 

2. Voice-to-Text Apps

A voice-to-text app is a tool that automatically types whatever you speak. Let it run while you record your episode and it will capture the audio and record it as text.

Voice-typing tools aren’t perfect, so you will have to clean up the app’s output. You’ll need to fix erroneous words, add punctuation, and create paragraph breaks in logical places. You’ll also need to create divisions for each speaker. This method doesn’t take as long as writing it out yourself, but it does come with a time investment.

The biggest downside to a voice typing pool is the trade-off between accuracy and natural speech. In order to get an accurate recording, you need to speak slowly and enunciate, but that sounds robotic to listeners. You’ll need to find a balance that sounds natural to your listeners but doesn’t require a lot of editing time. 

4. Human Transcription Services

If you want your episodes transcribed by a human, but don’t want to do it yourself, your only option is to pay someone to do it. This is expensive. The cheapest services cost about $0.50/minute of audio, which is five times the price of our automated service. If you need a native speaker (and you do), that price can be higher. 

A word of warning: Many of the “human” transcription services just use an automated tool on their end. If software will do the transcribing, you may as well pay less by using the tool yourself.

4 Shows Who Do Podcast Transcriptions Right

Need inspiration? Here are some examples of shows who include podcast episode transcriptions in aesthetically pleasing and user friendly ways. 

1. This American Life

This American Life keeps their pages need by adding a link to the transcript at the top of the page.

this american life podcast episode transcriptions

Clicking that link takes you to a new page with the full transcript.

this american life

This method doesn’t concentrate SEO value on one page, but it’s an easy experience for the user. There’s a link from the transcript back to the episode anyway, so if a Google search brings you to the transcript, there’s an easy path to listen. 

2. Freakonomics Radio

Freakonomics takes a pretty standard approach. They publish their podcast episode transcriptions right beneath their introduction paragraph. They put the whole piece in quotes so you know can identify the transcript at a glance. 

freakonomics podcast episode transcriptions

3. Masters of Scale

Masters of Scale takes their podcast pages very seriously. Each page is well designed with lots of information, including custom photography from the interview. The last element on the page is this nicely formatted transcript. 

masters of scale podcast episode transcriptions

4. StoryCorps

This is another podcast with a button to read the transcript. It’s right under the title, so visitors can’t miss it.

storycorps podcast episode transcriptions

However, unlike This American Life, StoryCorps keeps all the content on the same page in a popup overlay. This concentrates the SEO value while also keeping things organized.

storycorps

How to Post A Podcast Transcript on Your Website

You have a few options when it comes to making your podcast episode transcriptions available to your readers. Choose the option that’s right for your show and your listeners. 

On Each Episode’s Page

The best way (in our opinion) is to post each transcription directly beneath your show notes and audio player on a blog page. This way everything relating to that episode is in one easy to find place and Google knows what the page is about. 

Pro tip: If you provide transcripts for each episode, make sure to let your listeners know at the beginning of your podcast. This lets them know about the resource before they listen to the episode and encourages people to visit your site if they found your show through an app. 

Transcript Collection Page

A transcript collection page is simply a page (or group of pages) on your website that’s dedicated to podcast episode transcripts. If you don’t have many episodes, or if your episodes are short, you can post all of your transcripts on the same page. Otherwise, you’re collection page would contain a list of links to each transcript.

This is a useful method if you don’t publish your podcast on your own website, but want to make transcripts available for people who listened to your show through podcast app. Google will read these pages, so you will get that SEO value, but this format is usually harder for listeners to navigate. 

Downloadable Transcripts

Another method is to make the transcript downloadable. This method is easy if you received  the transcript document from a transcription service. All you have to do is upload the document to your website and created a link to that file on the episode’s page.

The downside, however, is that you lose all of the benefits we listed above. Downloadable documents are harder for people to access because they have to click another link. They might not be willing to download anything at all. Plus search engines can’t read PDFs, so you won’t get the SEO value. 

Boost Your Show’s Value

Now that you understand podcast transcripts and how to use them, we strongly recommend that you include one with every episode. They’re simple, inexpensive, and offer benefits you can’t ignore.

If you use Castos, learn more about our Automatic Podcast Transcription feature.

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