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The Power of the Written Word for Podcasts and Videos

The Power of the Written Word for Podcasts and Videos

By Pat Flynn on

Audio Video Transcription

Blogs are for those who like to read,

Audio is for those who like to listen,

And video is for those who like to watch (and listen too, for the most part).

When building a BIG personal brand online, it’s smart to expand onto other mediums to deliver content because it’s true – people enjoy consuming content in different ways, and at the same time you’ll expand your reach on other platforms as well. I’ve spoken about this many times before, especially after I learned how expanding my blog onto iTunes and YouTube drastically increased my traffic and subscribership.

However, there’s one thing that a lot of people miss when creating audio and video, and that’s the opportunity to include a transcript.

A transcript is important for many reasons:

  1. It allows those who cannot listen to or watch your content, still be able to consume it. This not only includes the hearing impaired (who really really appreciate it when a transcript is available to read), but also those who do not have audio capabilities on their computers, or those who must keep the sound off – like those who may be at work.
  2. It allows you to create a written document that has clickable links! Audio and video are great, but having a transcript with clickable links (whether in a PDF or on a website) will always ensure you have an easy and convenient way to visit any website you mention on your video or podcast.
  3. Some people like to have the text in front of their eyes while listening or watching, because it reinforces the content – which can only help you even more.
  4. Others prefer reading over listening or watching, because they can get the information much, much faster.
  5. It looks professional, and shows you’re serious about your content while making it readily available to people in whatever format they want.
  6. It makes your content far more easily searchable. If someone remembered part of what you mentioned in a video or podcast episode and wanted to get the whole thing in context, it’s much easier to search for certain pieces of text within a transcript, than it is to scan through an audio or video file to find a certain snippet.
  7. For search engine optimization (SEO) purposes. Again, audio and video are fantastic, but without any written text, the specific content you talk about will not get picked up and indexed by search engines. The title, tags and description of the audio or video will help, but as far as I know, search engines do not yet include the actual spoken word from audio or videos in their indexes and algorithms – unless an accompanying transcript is provided. Also, you could use some of the text in articles and other parts of your SEO and backlinking strategies too!

In addition, YouTube now has the ability to add captions and subtitles to your videos. You actually upload a txt file, and somehow it automatically puts in the captions on top of the video with the right timing. This is fairly new to YouTube, and apparently it helps a lot with SEO as well (for both Google search and YouTube search), since the text of the video is directly connected with the video itself.

YouTube Captions and SubtitlesI have yet to utilize this feature on my videos, but it’s next on my list of things to do to optimize and get the most out of the videos I upload to my YouTube Channel.

The Smart Passive Income PodcastI’ve included transcripts for my podcast sessions ever since the beginning, and I’ve had a really great response to them – from the hearing impaired, to those who read my material in the workplace – I get a few emails each week thanking me for including them. I actually received 5 over the weekend, which prompted me to write this post.

Transcript Delivery Methods

There are a few ways to include a transcript with an audio or video on your blog. Here’s what I do, which combines a few different methods:

Editor’s Note: I no longer use Steps 1 & 2. I do still follow Step 3 with every podcast episode. (Updated 10/2015)

Step 1: I paste the transcript text into the blog post itself. This way, those who listen to on the page itself can follow along.

Step 2: I use a plugin called wpSpoiler to wrap/hide the transcript pasted in step 1, so that the page is not miles long for those who don’t need it. Some of the podcasts are 6000+ words in length, so this plugin really comes in handy. It’s actually designed to hide movie spoilers for those who don’t want to ruin the surprise, and it works quite nicely for transcipts.

If you’re reading this on the blog (you won’t see it in an RSS feed), you can see how it works by clicking on the link below:


This is where I could paste my transcript![/spoiler]

Step 3: I also include a .pdf file of the transcript for people to download (with clickable links, of course). I don’t include this inside the “spoiler” plugin, because I want to make sure it can be downloaded via an RSS feed. Also, when you link to the .pdf file for people to download, make sure it opens in a new window so that people listening or watching don’t get cut off when they open it.

Before you can do any of this, of course you’ll first need that transcript.

How to Get a Transcript for Your Audio or Video

Creating a transcript can be very tedious work, especially if what you are writing a transcript for has any length to it. You can do it on your own, but it’s definitely a mindless task that can take up loads of time. Because of this, I definitely recommend outsourcing this work.

The cheapest place to get a transcript is on My only warning here is that you get what you pay for, and since it’s only $5.00 to hire someone to do a transcript job for you, sometimes they don’t do such a wonderful job.

Fiverr Transcribe AudioOut of the 5 times I’ve attempted to get a transcript done on, 3 times the person backed out of the job, 1 time the quality was terrible, and the other time was actually decent (unfortunately, that person is no longer available on Fiverr. She must have realized her time was worth more than $5.00, hehe).

You run these risks when you go through a marketplace like Fiverr, but it’s definitely cheap enough to try. To save the headaches, at least try to find a person who has some good feedback from others already.


Note: As of 2015, Elance has combined with oDesk to create Upwork. The links below still work, but the company name has changed.

I’ve had the most success with hired help found on Odesk. I created a job for a transcriber and immediately had about 30 people bid on it. I interviewed and found a person to do it for me for about $4.20 an hour (that’s per hour of work, not per hour of audio).

This works out to about $10 to $15 per 30-45 minute podcast episode.

I’ve found some of the transcribers on Odesk to be very professional and experienced with their transcription work. The guy I found (who I’ve been working with to create transcripts for the podcast ever since), uses special software to get it done fast and clean.

I send him the audio files ahead of time (via Dropbox, and in a day or two he sends me a .doc file that includes all of the text, and he even highlights any words that he couldn’t understand so I can go in the document and fix it before I create a PDF and post it on the blog. [Full Disclosure: As an affiliate, I receive compensation if you purchase through this link.]

Well worth it, especially for the quality work that he does.

Elance will work here too, but I’m guessing it may be a little bit more expensive, especially if you have recurring episodes or shows.


There is also software available that you can use to make it easier for yourself to create transcripts on your own, if that’s your only option. The only one I am familiar with and can recommend is one that is used for captioning videos, called Movie Captioner by Synchrimedia. I’m sure there are plenty more available out there if you do some quick Google searches.

If any of you have any recommended pieces of software for captioning, please share with the readers here in the comments.

Are Transcripts a Waste of Time?

As you can tell, I’m definitely in favor of creating transcripts, however many people still find them to be a complete waste of time, so they don’t include them.

What do you think? Are they useful, or pointless? Why?

Have you read any of my transcripts, and if so, have they been helpful?

Cheers, and here’s to a productive week!

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