New Brainfluence Podcast Format: Audio to YouTube Video


Dan Ariely and Roger Dooley on the Brainfluence Podcast

I’m testing something and I’d love your advice. I’ve converted a couple of episodes of The Brainfluence Podcast to videos on YouTube and added them to my channel. There’s not much to see, it’s all about the audio and subtitles. Why would I do this, you ask?

Like most podcast listeners, I tend to consume audio podcasts using a player on my phone. The app I’m currently using is Pocket Casts, though I’ve had good luck with Player FM, too. Of course, iTunes is huge for iOS users, and Stitcher has a big following on multiple platforms.

Why an audio-only video can be useful

But, I accidentally discovered a use case where a video version (with a static video display) made sense. I ran across a reference to an old episode of another podcast (Tim Ferriss’s, I think). I wanted to listen to it, so of course I turned to Google to track it down. To my surprise, one of the top results was a YouTube video made from that episode.

I found it easy to listen to the podcast in the YouTube player. Even better, I’ve got a TV in my office with a Chromecast plugged in. So, with one click in the YouTube player I was able to put the video on the TV screen and keep using my computer. (Obviously, that’s a great way to watch just about every kind of video using your computer, YouTube or otherwise. I like being able to multi-task, and throwing the video onto a new screen lets me do just that. It’s a bit less convenient, but you could also use a YouTube app built into a TV, cable box, etc. to accomplish the same thing.)


Clever captioning saves you time

In addition to the ease of casting to a different screen, YouTube solves a major navigation problem for audio-only podcasts. Did you ever listen to a podcast while driving or working out and want to refer back to something in the middle of it? Perhaps the guest mentioned a book, app, tool, or website that sounded really interesting, but you weren’t able to write it down.

With an audio-only podcast, you have to jump back and forth, guessing at when the topic was discussed. In a long podcast, this can be tedious. YouTube solves that problem by creating a transcript of time-stamped captions. These can be displayed on the screen, of course, but you can also scroll rapidly though the entire text in a box below the video. You’ll find that reference much more quickly and without having to re-listen to chunks of the audio.

YouTube will create the captions automatically, and if the voices are clear it’s much better than no captions. But, for my podcast, I create a human-generated transcript that’s much better than current machine technology. YouTube lets me upload that and matches the text to the voices and timestamps the text:
YouTube Transcript

A different audience?

Another benefit may be reaching a somewhat different audience. YouTube has its own enormous following. Reportedly, YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine and third most visited site after Google and Facebook. It’s too early to tell if this will prove valuable, but it makes sense.

But, does anyone care?

The key question is whether at least some people will find the format useful. I did a Twitter poll (definitely not scientific or statistically accurate):

The results seemed somewhat promising. Only a quarter of the respondents said they wouldn’t consider listening to a video version of a podcast episode.

So far, I’ve converted two popular episodes, one with Jonah Berger:

The other is my podcast with Dan Ariely:

Depending on the feedback I get, my plan is to convert some other popular episodes from the archive and eventually convert new episodes as the come out in audio.

What’s your advice?

So – what do you think? Useful? A waste of time? Whether you love the idea or hate it, please leave a comment below. Any other advice is welcome, too. For example, is YouTube enough or should the content be published on other video sites, too? Did you notice any weirdness in the formatting?

And if you like the videos, please take .6 seconds to click the “thumbs up” button – likes will improve the discovery prospects for this content. And, of course, click “Subscribe” to get new episodes as they are published! Thanks!

  1. NeilM says

    Roger, I think it’s a great idea, and, if you choose, can also add slides and images to emphasize the message.

    1. Roger Dooley says

      Thanks, Neil! If the videos get significant views that would be an interesting enhancement for future conversions. It would add quite a bit to the production time, of course, but would be a much better product.

  2. Linda says

    Roger, first of all thank you for your correspondence. I love to read all you have put out to the public and I am trying to watch or listen to all your podcast. I have your book as well. I consider my self one of your faithful fans ;). English is not my native language and even though I can understanding it well captions is something I embrace especially on topics I am interested.
    Your idea is great and I am voting for it.

    Have a great and blessed holidays.


    1. Roger Dooley says

      Thanks for the feedback, Linda! Glad the captions are helpful! Have a great New Year!

  3. exo035 says

    Love to read all you’ve got place resolute the general public and that i am trying to watch or hear all of your podcast. I have your book yet. I consider my self one of your trustworthy fans ;).

  4. Victor Antonio says

    Roger, I started doing it a year ago ( and I saw a huge bump. My channel just surpassed 100K. So,…big thumbs up on the move.

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