Wondering how to make your podcast accessible?
These easy steps will have you on the road to success in no time!
Erin Perkins, Accessibility Educator and CEO of Mabely Q, helps you make your podcast accessible to the deaf and hard of hearing communities.
Podcasts have become incredibly popular, growing steadily over the past 2 years.
In June 2018, there were over 550,000 podcasts, and as of February 2021 that number is now at approximately 1,750,000 podcasts.
This is a staggering number; yet, many people don’t realize that podcasts aren’t accessible.
Truthfully, I’d be lying to say that it wasn’t for personal gain!
I can’t access podcasts. The reason being that I’m deaf.
This isn’t my first foray into podcasting, as I’ve been a guest on a few podcasts, including The Wedding Dish and Laughing with Gingers, and I’ve had to invest time in educating each host on the importance of accessibility in podcasting..
The biggest reason your podcast should be accessible is to reach the widest possible audience, and I don’t just mean deaf people.
Providing access to non-native speakers, people who listen to podcasts in noisy environments, fast readers, people who consume by reading, and, well, not everyone has access to good quality wifi.
When you take that step forward and make your podcast accessible to more people, you’re increasing your reach and exposure.
Bonus: a transcript dramatically increases your SEO, as you’re making your text more searchable (and, therefore, higher ranking on google and other similar platforms).
There is this misconception that when you make things more accessible that you’re stripping away features and that you’re going super basic.
This couldn’t be further from the truth.
I’d like for you to consider that being accessible can be the catalyst for creativity. It creates this opportunity to allow for more people to contribute to society and connect in meaningful ways.
Let’s start taking action and make your podcast more accessible for everyone!
1. Add transcripts to your process.
We’re going to start off by doing some research. You’ll need to decide which platform you’ll use in order to transcribe your podcast.
Here are a few apps you can check out.
My favorite is otter.ai*. It’s an incredibly easy to use, AI transcription program that saves your audio in addition to the text.
You can import your audio directly by dragging and dropping your .mp4 file. The platform will notify you when it’s ready for review. You can edit directly in the app or export to a variety of files, including a .DOCX.
So easy! And, it’s super affordable!
There are many different apps that range from free – $$$. Decide which app works best for you.
Some factors to consider in making the decision of which platform to use…
– Amount of editing required
– Time spent
2. Create your first transcript.
You’ve done your research, and decided on which transcription app you’re gonna use. Let’s upload your audio and get it transcribed!
Pro tip when you add a new process into workflow/systems: Start where you’re at right now.
It is so easy to get overwhelmed and feel like you need to go back to the beginning and transcribe everything.
I don’t want you to do that.
Start from where you are in this season, this episode. If you recorded an episode this week, use that as your starting point. Don’t start by playing catch up!
3. Clean up the transcript.
You’ve uploaded your transcript and it’s ready to go! But wait… you still need to take a little bit of time to clean it up and make sure it’s accurate! (Unless you used a live transcriber!)
Please note that it does NOT need to be perfect, but it is important to take the time to identify each speaker and clean up any glaring errors.
Read through the entire transcript in order to make sure that the content has been translated properly. Artificial Intelligence is always learning, and it’s not exactly 100%.
Perfection is not the expectation. A lot of you are doing this on your own – probably bootstrapping.
It’s ok to take small steps; it’s important to put the effort forth to be more accessible!
4. Share that your podcast is accessible.
You’ve spent this time making sure that your podcast is accessible. Now what?
Raise awareness about the actions you’re taking to make your podcast accessible!
Draft a statement to include in your posts so you can let people know that your podcast is accessible and encourage people to make their podcast accessible, as well!
If you share your podcast through email, include a downloadable .pdf of the transcript or have it easily accessible on your website.
Make it easy for people to get to your transcript. If people have to search for it, you’ll lose them.
Use hashtags such as: #MakePodcastAccessible #PodcastAccessibility #AccessibleME
Pro tip: Use title-case in your hashtags to make them accessible to screen readers.
Things to watch out for…
Don’t create transcripts that are only available behind a paywall or membership. If someone wants to read your transcript, they shouldn’t have to pay for it, just like you wouldn’t expect someone in a wheelchair to pay to use a ramp in the physical domain.
Deaf people requesting captions is equivalent to hearing people requesting audio. Imagine being denied access to audio every time, everywhere and everyday. — L. Friedmann
- Promote sound bites for your podcast on your social media accounts! Include that your podcast is accessible – AND make the posts accessible, too!
- You can overlay text on the graphic or include them in the post’s caption. .
- Encourage others to be accessible and lead by example! The more people do it, the more mainstream it becomes.
Need a little help?
Sign up for the Accessibility Made Easy course to get the ball rolling on making your business accessible on all platforms!
Want more guidance on transcripts specifically? Check out Become a Transcription Pro.
Just know that you’re not alone!
As you work through making your podcast more accessible, please feel free to drop me a line or share that your podcast is accessible. I’d love to see what you’re doing!
If you’re looking to get your podcast off the ground and go from passion project to profitable, we’re offering the Passion to Profit Podcast Pathway
This 12-week intensive will open on 9/7/21.
90-day course includes:
- Weekly small-group meetings
- Access to the community forum
- Course modules (ongoing access)
- Slack channel
- Expert interviews
- Panel discussions
- Live events
- Co-working sessions
- Swipe files
The Passion to Profit Podcast Pathway is a very high-touch program, so space is limited and spots are filling up pretty quickly.
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