The definition of ‘what is a podcast?’ has become blurry in recent years. On the one side, you’ve got a TikTok influencer uploading a video and calling it one, whilst on the other side, you’ve got a seasoned veteran telling you if you don’t have an RSS feed, you don’t have a podcast.
So, does it really matter how different people define podcasts? Not always. But I suppose it can. For example, if someone hears you have a podcast, yet they can’t find it on their listening app of choice, that will cause a bit of confusion and frustration, which will, in turn, hamper your growth.
But we’ve already contributed to the ins and outs of the “what is a podcast?” discussion with Colin’s “explanation in plain English”. This time around, I’d like to talk specifically about video podcasts. What exactly is a video podcast, and should you make one? And are they essentially just videos on YouTube?
Can a YouTube Video Be a Podcast?
For years, you’ve been able to find loads of videos of podcasts on YouTube (most famously, Joe Rogan!). If we want to keep in line with that technical definition of what a podcast is, then these were video recordings of podcast episodes rather than podcast episodes themselves.
But YouTube now works more like a traditional podcast consumption platform because you can add the RSS feed from your hosting account, and it’ll automatically publish all of your new episodes, going forward. This is similar to how you distribute your show to places like Apple Podcasts and Spotify.
An audio podcast episode published on YouTube will appear with a static image (the show’s cover art) as its “video”.
One key difference between podcasts on YouTube and most other places is RSS feed ingestion. Again, this sounds like obscure technical minutiae, but it means that if you make edits to your published episode in your hosting account – anything from the episode title or show notes to the audio file itself – these changes will not automatically update in YouTube. You would have to log into YouTube and repeat these changes manually. You’ll also need to check your YouTube stats separately – they won’t be included in your main hosting download numbers.
Creators can log into YouTube Studio to create podcasts on the platform. This works by marking a playlist as a “podcast” or by submitting your RSS feed. Some hosting providers have “distribute to YouTube” tools, which are often much more streamlined if you are an audio-only podcaster.
So, from a creator point of view, you can now mark any of the videos in your channel as podcast episodes, and from a consumption point of view, you’ll now find dedicated “podcasts” sections within YouTube and YouTube Music.
In summary, videos on YouTube can be podcasts, but the platform isn’t taking full advantage of the tools and features available on your podcasting hosting platform.
Other Types of Video Podcasts
Podcasts are overwhelmingly done in audio, and are subscribed to or ‘followed’ in places like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Overcast.
Comparatively, the percentage of actual video podcasts out there is tiny. Yes, it’s now a growing wing of podcasting. But video is still dwarfed by audio.
The most popular places they can be found are Apple/iTunes and Spotify, but some other directories can support them.
An example of one on Apple is Ted Talks Daily, which is a video companion to the audio-only version of the show.
Here’s a list of popular video podcasts on Spotify, too. Creators can upload video exclusively to the platform if they’re hosting with Spotify for Podcasters.
So, as you can see, video podcasting is most definitely a thing, both on and off of YouTube. Does that mean you should make a video podcast if you’re already creating audio content?
Does My Audio Podcast Audience Want Video Content?
Nearly a third of the podcast audience surveyed here prefers to “actively watch” a podcast with a video component.
Consumers were asked their preference for three podcast experiences:
- Audio only without any video (43% preference)
- Play video in the background or minimize on device while listening (29%)
- Actively watch while listening (28%)
This data suggests that there’s undoubtedly a demand for video podcasts. Whether or not your existing audience wants a video element might not be the primary reason for deciding to go down this route, though. Instead, new visibility and extra discoverability could be seen as the primary benefit. If some existing listeners want to transition to watching your content, then treat that as an added bonus.
Where Do People Watch Podcasts?
In the same Cumulus Media/Signal Hill Insights data, mentioned above, there are some other interesting stats.
35% of weekly podcast listeners who prefer podcasts with video name YouTube as the podcast platform they use the most.
This is with Spotify in second place (21%) and Apple Podcasts third on 9%. Compare this to audio-only podcast data, and you have Apple top on 30%, Spotify second with 24%, and YouTube third with 6%.
So, if you’re going to create any sort of visual element around your podcast, then publishing on YouTube is a no-brainer.
You might choose to go above and beyond just uploading the entire episode, too. From a new visibility point of view, capturing someone’s attention with video content on YouTube for more than a few minutes is rare. Instead, you can use select clips that focus on one particular question or topic, and upload them as ‘micro-content’. This technique is explained in detail in Gavin Bell’s guide to running ads on Facebook.
A lot of the debate around video podcasts (as well as content in general) is centred on what medium is “best”. But podcasting (audio), YouTube (video), and blogging (shownotes) can all complement each other in a sustainable and effective manner. Check out our series on Content Stacking for a full guide on how to get the best from this approach.
Video Podcast Hosting Providers
First and foremost, let’s look at YouTube. As we’ve covered already, you can:
- upload content to YouTube directly and tag it as a podcast
- or, link your RSS feed to your YouTube account
- or, use your hosting provider’s “publish to YouTube” tools
If you want your video podcast to appear in Apple Podcasts, then Podbean and Castos are two great hosting services that enable this. I’ve linked to our full reviews of both so you can find out a bit more about them.
And, to create a Spotify-only video podcast on the platform, you’ll need to upload to Spotify for Podcasters (formerly Anchor).
If your show already exists on an existing hosting provider, I don’t recommend fully moving it over to Spotify for Podcasters, as it isn’t the most robust or stable platform out there. You might, instead, look at creating a separate video podcast version of your show there.
Just be sure to give the show a slightly different name, should you choose to go down this route. For example, Podcraft: The Video Series. This means you won’t have two almost identical copies of your podcast on Spotify.
The video component of your show would only be available on Spotify. Anywhere else that ends up listing the feed would only play the video’s audio. Because you wouldn’t be submitting this to Apple Podcasts, though, it won’t appear in a lot of other popular listening apps (if any at all, now that Google Podcasts is gone!).
A counter-argument to having both a video and audio version of your podcast is that it can split your downloads (as in Apple Podcasts) and could complicate metrics for any podcast sponsorship you plan to run. However, the audio version will almost always be much higher, and you can easily clarify this in your media kit if it’s an issue.
How to Record Video Podcast Episodes
Whether you’re doing a traditional video podcast, or recording videos alongside your podcast, there is no shortage of tools to capture it all.
SquadCast, Riverside.fm, Iris, and VEED are four popular platforms for video podcasters. Veed, in particular, has some great video editing tools as well as a free tool to convert videos to audio. We dive into these video podcasting and remote recording tools in more detail in our How to Put a Podcast on YouTube article.
Editing Your Video Podcast
There’s too much competition and too little attention out there for you to upload a raw video and get any traction with it. You’re going to need to do at least some editing to your video if you want it to have any hope of catching some eyeballs.
So, what video podcasting software should you use?
Fortunately, there are a lot of great options on the market, and some of the newer ones cater to complete beginners. If you’re new to video podcasting, opt for Veed. Or, consider Filmora if you’re on a very tight budget.
We also have an in-depth roundup of the best video editing software platforms where you’ll find more detail on Veed and Filmora, as well as Adobe Premiere, Final Cut Pro, and Camtasia.
Best Platform to Export Audio as Podcast Videos?
Of course, your video doesn’t always need to be “video” in the conventional sense. There are many different types of video podcasts. Some podcasters upload videos that are static images (usually the show’s cover art) with the audio recording playing alongside it. This means you can get your show onto platforms like YouTube without much additional effort.
Alternatively, you can go that extra wee step and create Audiograms for your podcast. These are similar to static images but can include dynamic waveforms and closed captions. Audiograms work better for pulling short clips from an episode, as opposed to being fully-fledged episodes in their own right. Our AI Tools for Podcasters roundup has more options for creating audiograms as well as shareable video clips, too.
Does Your Video Clip Thumbnail Matter?
We all know that old adage, “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” right? Well, as far as I’m concerned, it must have been coined by an author who didn’t have any illustrator pals. Now, more than ever, people judge everything by its cover, and if you think video is any different, you’re living in a fantasy world.
Crafting a great custom thumbnail for your video is essential for hooking a big portion of your views. The thumbnail is what makes viewers want to watch your video, and you should spend a good deal of time coming up with something creative. If you don’t upload your own thumbnail, YouTube will automatically choose one for you, and this is no good. It won’t do anything to capture your audience. Do a bit of research on what your competitors are up to and get creative. You’ll improve over time and come to know what performs and what doesn’t.
Looking for a free tool to make great custom thumbnails for your video podcasts? Check out Canva, where you’ll find loads of different designs and templates!
Video Podcast Equipment List
So, if you’re looking to make a video podcast where you record yourself and your surroundings, what fancy equipment can you use to take things to the next level?
Video Podcast Equipment Checklist
Our checklist includes affiliate links. We may earn a small commission should you choose to buy through them (never at any extra cost to you!).
A High-Definition Camera, or, Multiple Cameras
With the quality of video on iPhones and Androids now, getting multiple cameras together to record should be easy. Many podcasts use a multi-camera approach to their video podcasts. It’s not necessary to use multiple cameras; however, it can make your videos look much more dynamic.
One option here to consider is the Logitech C920x HD Pro Webcam. It’ll give you HD 1080p recording, has built-in lighting adjustment, and costs around $60.
You’ll need to be hands-free when recording your podcast, especially if you’re handling the recording process yourself. Most videographers would recommend using a tripod to capture your video podcast effectively.
Pro Tip! Be sure to “spike” (put tape on the floor) your tripod position, which means you can replicate the positioning for future episodes. This helps improve the continuity of your videos.
This portable 40″ alloy phone tripod also works as a selfie stick. It’s collapsable for transport and comes with a remote Bluetooth shutter. You can usually pick one up brand new for around $23.
The key here is to eliminate shadows on your face and make you or your guests look the best they can. You can do this with lights from the home. You’ll need at least two lights, preferably three. A soft light source for faces is best, a second light for the background to create depth, and a third source to fill the space. The third light can also accent hair, or create a ‘hot or cold’ sidelight for the face. Achieve nice lighting, and your audience will keep coming back, time and time again.
This 10″ LED ring light provides face lighting and encircles the camera to add dramatic ‘eyelight’. It has three light temperature settings to align with other lights in the room, as well as a built-in adjustable smartphone Tripod. You can usually buy one for less than $20.
Good audio quality for podcasting is essential in order to record the clearest and cleanest sound. The use of an external microphone should be a focus for any video podcaster, too. Additionally, using external microphones doesn’t increase the complexity of video podcasting and is undoubtedly worth every bit of extra effort.
A popular mic amongst video podcasters is the Rode Wireless Pro. This gives you a lot of freedom of movement in front of the camera, and – being a Rode mic – offers a great level of audio quality, too.
Also, be sure to check out the Shure MV88+ video kit when organising your special equipment shopping list.
Summary: Should You Make a Video Podcast?
So, that’s just about it for our deep dive into the world of video podcasting.
For most podcasters, audio is all you need. Don’t put extra barriers, costs, and tasks in your way just because you think you “should” do video.
Audio-only podcasters can still easily publish to YouTube with static image “videos” to get the discoverability benefits of being available over there. You can use AI and audiogram tools to create short video clips to share on YouTube and social media, too.
As for adding “proper” video, here are a few things to weigh up:
- are you consistently releasing audio episodes?
- do you have an established workflow?
- do you have more time available to dedicate to podcasting?
- are you able to dedicate more money towards it, too?
- do you regularly get requests for video from your audience?
If the answers to most (preferably all) of these questions are “yes”, then jump back to the section on how to record a video podcast, and start experimenting with a few different tools. There are a lot of brilliant options on the market these days.
And, on a final note, I’ve mentioned Alitu as an option for exporting ‘static image’ video versions of your podcast episodes. Did you know that Alitu is one single ‘podcast maker’ tool to get podcast recording, editing, production, transcription, and hosting all under one subscription? Try it out, free for a week, and take a look for yourself!