A Beginners’ Guide to Audiograms: Turning Your Audio Visual

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Combine images, audio and text to make your podcast promotion stand out.

Advertising your podcast is challenging. With so much competition for people’s attention, your podcast can get lost in a sea of other advertising. It’s even harder to make your podcast stand out to people who are not actively in search of a podcast. The good news is that now, more than ever, it’s easier to make your podcast grab attention with an audiogram.

What Is an Audiogram?

Sometimes, an audiogram is a hearing test, but we’re not talking about that today. If you’ve used social media lately, you’ve seen these. If you haven’t, here’s a pretty good example on Westwood One Sports’ Twitter account. An audiogram is a file that combines visual art, a sound wave, an audio track, and, at best, a transcription of the dialogue.

More interesting than a gif and requiring less commitment than a video, these are like small, flavorful tastes to tempt passers-by into committing to a whole meal.

Good news: you don’t have to be a big media company to take advantage of audiograms to promote your podcast.

What Does an Audiogram Do?

Audiograms stand out on social media feeds without draining data or slowing down the user’s device. Combined with a call to action and a website link, they’re a much more effective advertising strategy than a social media post or a static ad. When someone is aimlessly scrolling, an audiogram is hard to ignore.

WNYC created the open-source code that makes audiograms and distributed it for free. Delaney Simmons, director of social media at WNYC, described the impact; “On Twitter, the average engagement for an audiogram is 8x higher than a non-audiogram tweet, and on Facebook, some of our shows are seeing audiogram reach outperform photos and links by 58% and 83% respectively.”

The original plan was a way for people to consume podcasts from any platform without an extra step. Over time, WNYC figured out that people generally listen to about 2-3 minutes of an audiogram at most.

Again, audiograms are a great way to draw attention to your podcast. It’s not a full listening commitment.

How Do I Make an Audiogram?

New York Public Radio shared the code publicly on GitHub and continues to refine it. But, there are many services you can use to make an audiogram. Some of these might already be in your media host or listening app. They all walk you through the process in a few steps.

Headliner is the most well-known audiogram service. Available as an app for mobile devices or on your browser, this service integrates with Castos, Spreaker, Blubrry, and Libsyn. If you use one of these, you already have it in your toolkit.

Wavve’s audiogram(or “social video”) process is similar, except transcription isn’t built-in. They integrate with a tool called Zubtitle.

Transcription service and audio editor Descript can walk you through the process with a text-based approach. After making a transcript, you select the section you want to highlight and take it from there.

Popular listening app Overcast‘s “Share Clip” feature lets you make a rudimentary but versatile audiogram. It doesn’t have subtitles, but you can save it to your iPhone’s photo library and share it on social media as easily as posting a cat picture.

This audiogram took me less than thirty minutes to make, on the first try. 
You can see where I made mistakes. It’s still a very good tool.

What Do I Do With An Audiogram?

Make a YouTube channel of the best moment from each podcast episode, and post your audiograms there. Combined with a good call to action, this can drive traffic to your podcast website.

Post the audiogram to Instagram. In the caption, mention that the link for your podcast is in your Instagram bio. Make sure that a link to your podcast is in your bio, whether your website URL, a PodPage or a Linktree link.

Consistency is key because you’re building brand awareness. Remember, WNYC found that audiograms don’t drive action directly to the content. Again, you’re serving a sample: this is tapas, not a full meal.

Set a reminder schedule to put out a new audiogram when you publish a new episode. Or, post a teaser the day before the next episode publishes. It’s up to you.

One promotion tactic is to embed your podcast’s trailer on a blog post on your podcast website, with an audiogram for a minute or so of it. Remember, use the highlights. Then, when you make business cards, put a QR code on the back of the card. This way, people can scan the QR code to go directly to the page with the audiogram, introducing them to your podcast.

Open-Source and Versatile

Podcasts and social media are different consumption experiences. When New York Public Radio tried to make it easy for podcasters to share whole episodes on any platform, they fell short of their goal. Audiences weren’t interested in consuming entire podcasts on their social media feeds. But, they succeeded because they made it easier for podcasters of any budget and resource amount to share their digital content with a wider audience. This tool should definitely be part of your podcast strategy. Plus, it’s fun.

What Our Readers Think About A Beginners’ Guide to Audiograms: Turning Your Audio Visual

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  1. Paul Vogelzang says:

    What a great article, Robert.
    THANK YOU SO MUCH for sharing and alerting us to this excellent resource.

    • You’re welcome Paul!

  2. Stephan says:

    Have you guys considered that now that it is in Video form, sync licenses apply the moment one decides to share e.g. a piece of cover music or non original compositions?

    Thanks – keep up the good work
    Stephan

  3. CHris StRomFeld says:

    This is cool and thanks for the info. I think I found a site that allows you to do this for free I think – audiogram.sparemin.com. I just created one there.

  4. Lorrie says:

    Quick question – how long would a professional take to create a customized audiogram?