Is there REAL value in transcribing your podcasts?

Remember that supply and demand balance you were taught in economics 101? It’s an extremely elastic balance — when the demand goes up, supply tries to catch up or the price of the service/product increases. While if the supply is more than the demand, the prices tank until the supply matches the demand. Quite similar to what happened globally during the global financial crisis back in 2008. The property developers went crazy and built skyscrapers as quickly as they could with no analysis of demand and supply.

OK, don’t pull your hair out just yet! If you’re thinking what’s all this to do with transcribing podcasts, then you’re a normal curious person. As a fast moving and rapidly iterating crowd-sourcing startup, we’ve been developing thought leadership in a variety of market segments that create and deliver value by transcribing their rich media (audio/video) content into text for different reasons.

Although podcasting as a media segment has been available for a while, it is still in early growth phase. Consumers in the USA & UK are ahead of all other nations in adopting it as a primary way of consuming content. According to the Pew Research Centre’s report in 2010, the number of available podcasts increased 28% from 69,860 to 89,455. The numbers of listeners have also seen a steady growth and have doubled in the last 5 years from 11% to 23%. These are encouraging numbers for podcasting as a medium for distributing information and building a following.

However, the challenge with audio/video content is that it is not marketable or searchable and sharable,to search engines. Search engines, including Google, cannot index audio or video files, right now anyway.  So all that incredibly powerful, search engine loving content you are producing in your podcasts is not being indexed by Google to give you some SEO love!

Why You Should Transcribe Your Podcasts?

So here is how the theory (and the pitch!) goes — you should transcribe your podcast and publish it on your blog to make it searchable, easily shareable and marketable. This will result in better search rankings, increased time on pages, decreased bounce rates, increased traffic and ultimately, an increase in subscribers and ad revenue. Sounds easily believable, right? Makes logical sense? Of course it does! As any internet marketer would agree, transcribing your podcasts would be a gold mine for SEO. The majority of transcription companies, including us, are on a mission to educate podcasters on why they should be transcribing their podcasts.

What we found?

However, based on our market research, customer analysis, interviews and understanding of the podcasting market, the current value proposition is not good enough for the majority of podcasters. Why? Here are some fundamental reasons:

  • More than 90% of podcasters are individual podcasters not a corporate or an organization.
  • Most podcasters do it as a hobby not a business or a money making venture.
  • For those who podcast as a profession, they have slim margins and are unwilling to spend money on transcription.
  • A lot of them podcast to establish themselves as a thought leader in their industry segment and don’t necessarily strive for better search rankings.
  • DADDY OF ALL REASONS: Lack of comprehensive case studies or data to establish the relation between transcribing podcast’s and increase in subscribers, or revenue, or any other quantitative metric.

How does the supply-demand balance stack up?

This is a classic case of how an industry has identified a market where there should a logical demand for their services and are trying to educate that particular segment of the benefits. Furthermore, it is also an example of more supply than demand that is evident by:

  • The huge number of ads and competition present on Google when you search for “podcast transcription”, “transcribing your podcasts” or similar.
  • Number of transcription companies producing content targeted toward the podcasting segment and educating them on why they should be transcribing their podcasts.

On the demand side, things are relatively muted:

  • Based on the keyword data from Google, there are less than 400 searches per month globally for “podcast transcription” (exact match) and similar keywords related to podcast transcription.

Evidently, there is a clear loophole in the market analysis due to the lack of case studies and proof of the value the service adds to the target market segment. Consequently, there is an increasing supply of the transcription services for podcasters but not so much demand from the market.

The Way Forward

So what can we do as an industry? Rather than teaching podcasters on how to get better at podcasting, we need to be mature and develop hard data and facts to develop strong data lead case studies and methodologies to test our assumptions and help podcasters to grow their subscribers, revenue, or any other relevant metrics. We believe this is key to growing the market pie and to justify why transcription services could be hugely powerful for podcasters.

We’ve seen some encouraging, very early stage data, to show that blog posts containing a podcast along with a transcript increases the average time on page by 2.5x relative to the overall blog average. Of course, this is not the best test as it lacks a split testing aspect of comparing, a post with the transcript, with a post without the transcript. That is definitely something we’re going to test going forward. Along with that, it is an extremely small sample size. However, it’s a start and we’re looking forward to sharing our findings with you going forward. So make sure you subscribe to this blog to receive updates on when new, awesome and relevant content is posted.

We’re excited to work on establishing this correlation for podcasters to learn from, and understand the value of transcribing their podcasts with high accuracy.

If you would like to work with us, please tell us in the comments below and we’d love to get in touch. Alternatively, if you have any other comments to share or case studies to point to, please feel free to share the link in the comments below.

Written By Chirag Ahuja

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