YouTube Podcasts: Best Practices from Top Video Podcasters

YouTube podcasts are all the buzz at the moment! 

With YouTube catering more than ever to podcasters, now’s a great time to create a YouTube podcast. Many of the most successful podcasters are already on the platform, and there’s no reason you shouldn’t try it either! 

We put together an article on what makes the top YouTube podcasts so successful. Follow their best practices and learn how to optimize your podcast for YouTube.

Why Put Your Podcast On YouTube?

Before we start, let’s be clear. By definition, podcasts are spoken word digital audio files that can be downloaded. So when we talk about YouTube podcasts, we mean uploading your show to the video platform in addition to your usual directories.

There are several benefits of video podcasting. It’s a great way to reach a wider audience, improve your podcast’s SEO and increase engagement. What’s more, video is twice as likely to be shared than any other type of content.

With the biggest reach of any social media platform (Statista, 2019) and billions of views each day, YouTube is undoubtedly the best platform to host video podcasts. By putting your podcast on YouTube, you also have access to the platform’s analytics reports, allowing you to assess the impact of your show and give your listeners more of what they want.

YouTube also offers the opportunity to tap into a growing market for those looking to monetize your podcast. In fact, viewers say they’re two times more likely to buy something they’ve seen on YouTube (Google, 2020). 

Podcast producers can also use YouTube to create bonus content for patrons. The Horror-comedy show Last Podcast on the Left earns over $50,000 per month by offering exclusive live video podcast streams and extra episodes.

It’s also worth adding that the site recently launched a YouTube podcast page, which suggests the platform is working towards becoming more dedicated to their podcasters.

So, how do you optimize your podcast for YouTube?

Get Creative With Your YouTube Podcast Visuals

While some YouTube podcasts are simply an audio track with a static image, like This American Life, these formats have low rates of listener engagement. Other producers create animations for viewers to watch while listening, for example, No Dumb Questions:

However, the most popular YouTube podcasts feature footage of podcasters recording while they’re recording the episode. This makes the show seem more authentic as listeners feel they’re part of the conversation. Last Podcast on the Left is a great example of a successful YouTube podcast:
  • Enticing intro: create a fun, relevant video intro for your YouTube podcast to hook viewers and entertain them from the start.
  • Remote recording of hosts: the hosts record themselves remotely using their webcam or external camera. Riverside allows you to record multiple podcast participants in studio quality wherever you are and with the equipment, you have to hand. 
  • Split screen: watching side-by-side recordings of all three hosts gives the viewer the impression of being involved in the conversation. Riverside can even automatically switch frames on each recording to highlight the active speaker.
  • Logo and frames: stamping your logo on the video and adding frames make your YouTube podcast look professional. 
  • Additional footage: as the hosts do in Last Podcast on the Left, Riverside allows you to give your viewers extra value by sharing your screen and showing additional visuals of what you’re talking about.

The Ground Up Show also provides great inspiration for creative visuals on your YouTube podcast:
  • Footage of host and guest: the Ground Up Show films both the host and his guest together in-person using external cameras.
  • Extra B roll footage: using additional footage from the cameras focusing on each individual adds dimension to your YouTube podcast and makes the recording more dynamic for viewers.

Edit Your Podcast Specifically For YouTube

As well as creating a dedicated video introduction for your YouTube podcast, it’s worth editing your show specifically for the video platform too.
  • Make your video succinct: YouTube audiences are looking for different things than podcast audiences, namely, a more succinct and refined show. Don’t just repurpose your audio podcast, instead edit it specifically to create a seamless YouTube video.

Take the above example (their very first on YouTube!) from tech podcast Waveform. Both the audio-only and YouTube shows maintain their natural, flowing conversation, but the video podcast is slightly shorter (48 minutes vs 55 minutes) reflecting cuts made to make the show more concise.

  • Consider splitting your video into chapters: while the goal is for people to listen to your entire show, dividing it into chapters, like Waveform does, allows listeners to access the content they want directly.

Hook Your Podcast Audience

The average podcast loses 20-35 percent of its audience in the first five minutes. So we don’t need to tell you how important it is to hook your viewers from the start.
  • Teaser: hook your viewers with a clip of your show that will make them want to keep listening. This could be the funniest, most dramatic or most shocking line that’s spoken, like in the above episode of sports YouTube podcast Drinks with Binks. 

Did you know that Drinks with Binks is recorded with Riverside? Join the professionals and start recording podcasts in studio-quality!

  • Preview: as we’ve learned, YouTube audiences want succinct videos. Tell them what your show is about so they can decide if this is the right video for them.
  • Proof: introduce yourself and why you’re qualified to be talking about your subject.
  • Thumbnail: choose a good still from your recording to create an image that makes people want to press play. The Frenemies podcast does a great job of grabbing attention with their YouTube thumbnails:
thumbnail preview youtube podcast h3 show
  • Title: SEO is important, but having a catchy title, for example: “Amber Theoharis Reveals She Almost Gave Birth On NFL Total Access Set” is also a great way to hook your audience.
  • Analyze: monitoring YouTube Analytics is key to hooking your audience. Remember that the number of views on your video isn’t everything. YouTube will count a “view” even if someone watches your show for just a few seconds. 

Use analytics to learn more about your audience, how long they listen to each episode and how much they like your shows. Then use this data to engage more effectively with your viewers and tailor your YouTube podcast to what you know they’ll like.

Use SEO for your YouTube Podcast

Your show may be ready to go live, but you need to make sure it reaches as wide an audience as possible. YouTube is the second most trafficked site after Google, so make the most of all those people using it for SEO.
  • Optimize podcast title and description: use keywords relevant to each episode and your overall show in your episode title, description, and the tags on YouTube, like in the above episode of Rooster Teeth.
youtube podcast description and show notes

This will maximize your organic reach as well as helping YouTube’s algorithm suggest your show to people who’ve watched it before or who’ve watched similar videos. Make sure to include links to your website and CTAs to subscribe too.

  • Upload your transcript: YouTube’s automatically generated transcript is often full of errors, so providing your own is important to ensure effective SEO. It’s also great for non-native speakers of your language as they can read subtitles as they go.
  • Use SEO tools like Semrush and Ahrefs to see high-volume keywords you can target.

Livestream Your YouTube Podcast

Live streaming your YouTube podcast can be a great way of converting your listeners to viewers and offering extra value to your fans. Live streams often get higher engagement and allow you to involve your audience. They’re also pretty cost-effective, as you save time in post-production.

If you’re using Riverside to record your podcast, you can take advantage of our integration with YouTube to easily live stream your show. Plus, our live streaming function is interactive – you can even have audience members call into the show!

Promote Your YouTube Podcast

Last but by no means least, promoting your YouTube podcast is essential to ensure it reaches as many listeners as possible: 

  • Share podcast clips on social media: video is the most shared content on social media, and people are much more likely to share shorter clips than full episodes of your podcast. 1-3 minute attention-grabbing clips of your YouTube podcast make great assets to promote across your social media platforms, as the Two Sisters Podcast does on Instagram. 

Some podcast producers even have entire YouTube channels dedicated to their clips, like the Joe Rogan Experience’s JRE Clips channel or the Waveform Clipschannel.

  • YouTube shorts: YouTube shorts are vertical videos of up to 60 seconds, although YouTube prefers just 15 seconds. Like all new trends introduced by social media, YouTube is pushing shorts so taking advantage of this relatively underserved format could well help your podcast’s discoverability.

Try taking short teasers of your episodes – like you would for your intro to hook listeners – and sharing them as shorts. Make sure to add the #shorts tag when you upload your video so YouTube’s algorithm recognizes it!

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