Podcast Blog

Podcasting On YouTube: Using Video Podcasting for Growth

Video podcasting is rapidly growing and becoming one of the preferred ways to consume podcasts. Leveraging YouTube as a platform can greatly enhance the reach and discoverability of your show.

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Podcasting on YouTube cover image from the Brand Podcast Summit

Research indicates that YouTube has become the favorite platform for weekly podcast listeners, with over 2 billion active monthly users spanning over 100 countries and 80 languages. This extensive user base presents a vast audience for your content.

Moreover, statistics show that nearly a third of weekly podcast consumers, who have started listening to podcasts within the past six months, start this experience on YouTube. 

This trend highlights the platform's role in podcast discovery, particularly among newer podcast enthusiasts. The rising popularity of video podcasts is evident, with 37% of podcast listeners expressing a preference for podcasts accompanied by video, a sentiment shared by 40% of recent podcast adopters.

At the April Brand Podcast, we invited the YouTube podcasts team of Kai Chuck, Director and Head of Podcasting, and Emma Sweet, Global Product Activation in Podcasts, to share with us how we can best use YouTube for our podcasts. Here’s what they taught us.

Using YouTube for Growth

Traditionally, podcast discovery relies largely on word of mouth or top chart lists, which can make marketing endeavors a bit expensive. However, YouTube's status as the second-largest search engine in the world means podcasts now have an incredible opportunity to connect with their target audience. By taking advantage of YouTube's search capabilities and recommendation algorithms, podcasters can extend their reach to a wider audience base.

YouTube also stands out as the platform for connecting with your audience.
While we say that podcasts are an intimate medium for connecting to an audience, other podcasting platforms often offer us only a one-way street. Instead, YouTube has community-growing tools such as the comments section and community tab.

Comments can be valuable for receiving direct feedback and insights from your audience, creating stronger connections and interaction. Similarly, the Community Tab lets podcasters provide their audience with updates and engage in conversation. Features like polling enable podcasters to gauge audience preferences and tailor content accordingly.

As you can see, YouTube can really transform your podcast’s growth and reach, but how do podcasts on YouTube actually work?


What do Podcasts Look like on YouTube?

YouTube offers multiple options for podcast listening: YouTube Main, YouTube Music, and the Living Room. 

YouTube Main, the website we all know and love, has features like dedicated destination pages, search cards, and even a podcast tab for better podcast discoverability.

Music focuses on audio first, allowing users to discover podcasts at home and explore tabs, podcast chips, search filters, and library management.

Finally,  Living Room, the TV app, has had explosive growth in YouTube viewership and has become a significant platform for podcast consumption. 

Why have a podcast in your Living Room?

When YouTube did their own studies, they asked users why they play podcasts through their TV, trying to understand the preference and growth of Living Room.

Listeners responded that they wanted to be entertained in the evening. This is an interesting shift from the podcast used as a medium. We've traditionally seen podcasts as a medium where it's traditionally seen as on the go, like during commute.

But now people are actually consuming it, even when they're at home as a form of entertainment.

Secondly, people want to co-watch with others, and this is another shift from how we've traditionally thought about podcasts as a solo experience.

Finally, listeners also mentioned that TV has fewer distractions than mobile or desktop, emphasizing that users enjoy being able to lean in to watch their favorite Podcasters and feel like they're in the room with them.

Video vs. Audio: Which is best for YouTube?

Having your podcast on YouTube can bring massive growth. But do you have to invest in video resources? Not necessarily. There are ways to approach podcasts on YouTube as an audio first content.

When considering the visual approach for your podcast on YouTube, it's essential to understand that it's not a forced choice between audio-only with a static image and fully produced video content. Instead, there's a spectrum of options, and many successful podcasters on YouTube use a variety of approaches.

Some podcasts upload full episodes as audio with a static image but supplement them with video for behind-the-scenes footage or bonus content. Others create short-form video content alongside their audio-first episodes, providing different viewing experiences for their audience.

Visual styles for podcasts on YouTube vary, from video-first approaches like recording in a podcast studio or fully filming on a custom set to more audio-first styles that incorporate static images with caption text. Some podcasts also use B-roll or overlay images to enhance storytelling.

For creators uncomfortable with video recording or lacking resources, there are lighter options available. Platforms like Headliner, Descript, and Adory can help convert audio content into visually engaging audio grams, utilizing static images or animated text.

Regardless of the visual approach chosen, you’ll want to really consider packaging your show effectively for your audience. Focus on what would attract them and experiment to see what works and what doesn’t. Experimenting with different visual styles can help you find what resonates best with your viewers while maximizing the potential of your podcast on YouTube.

Best Practices for Using YouTube for Your Podcast

Testing and iterating is the key to success on YouTube. Consider who you want to attract as listeners, what might spark their interest, and how you can get their attention. Knowing your audience well will help grab their attention. 

What also makes YouTube great is that you can find anything and everything on the platform. But, this is also a challenge for getting your content to speak through the noise and be discovered. 

When you upload your podcast, your episodes will be shown alongside other videos on similar topics. For that reason, while putting your podcast on YouTube might seem like a set-it-and-forget-it process, there are tons of ways to further optimize your content for discoverability and reach. 

Here are a few best practices to lean into YouTube’s full potential.

  1. Upload Full Episodes: Either through your RSS feed automatically or a separate video, make sure full episodes are available. This keeps the audience staying on YouTube. 

  2. Label your Content correctly: Make sure to link your RSS feed, or upload new episodes under one set playlist. This playlist can be designated as a podcast so that it will show up in the Podcasts tab on YouTube’s apps. Make sure to keep this playlist title ONLY the name of your show in order to keep the content clear.

  3. Optimize your Thumbnails and titles to stand out:  Thumbnails and titles are crucial to being discovered. They are like billboards for your content. This is what many viewers, especially new ones, will use to judge if they want to give you some of their precious time. Here are a few ways you can make sure they stand out to viewers and listeners

    1. Be accurate: Make sure your title and thumbnail combination is a true representation of your video. You want audiences to know what they're getting and to stick around and not be surprised when your title says one thing. But the episode actually isn't really about that topic.

    2. Be concise: Try keeping your titles under 70 characters and focus on the most important words and ideas at the front. On Mobile titles sometimes get cut off. So you want to lead with the most important themes and content.

    3. Be searchable: Include SEO keywords in your title. To help you find these, use the subsection of Google Trends called YouTube Trends.  You can look for keywords that are popular over time and are associated with other words. 

    4. Be engaging: You can use a combination of your title and your thumbnail to create an engaging preview of the content.

    5. Be consistent: For full episodes, use the same episode titles as you do with your podcast on other platforms. This helps people know if they've consumed your episode on another platform beforehand and it also affirms this as your official podcast. Then you can get more creative with clips or segment titles.

One idea is just to do a quick search of a topic that you're planning to talk about and see what kinds of titles and thumbnails are doing well in your search results and use this to adapt your own content as well.

  1.  Grow your community: As mentioned, YouTube has the great power of being able to connect more with your audience. Use their features of going live, responding to comments, and creating Shorts to expand reach, and grow your podcast community. 

  2. Always keep an eye on metrics and make adjustments as necessary.

Final Thoughts

Even if you aren’t ready to invest in video podcasting, getting your podcast on YouTube as audio-only can help you grow and reach new audiences. Adding a visual element and going all into video podcasting can be another opportunity for even more growth. Follow YouTube’s own best practices and see how podcasting on YouTube can help you be discovered.

If you are interested in video podcasting for your brand podcast, get in touch with Lower Street, we’d love to help you find a solution that works.

You can catch Emma and Kai’s full talk and all sessions of the Brand Podcast Summit as replays, available for purchase at this link.

We’ll be back next year for even more conversation about brand podcast growth. If you’d like to be the first to know about future events sign up here.

Steven Bonnard

Author

Steven Bonnard

Hi, I'm Steven. I'm a globe-trotter who loves running long distances and listening to podcasts, especially from the politics and fantasy categories.