So your podcast is getting more listeners. That’s great. But do you have any visuals to distinguish you or which your audience can identify you with? Many starting podcasters are so engrossed with the audio side of things that they miss the importance of also having a visual identity.
Don’t worry. We’ll help you get a clear understanding of the value of visuals and having an identity based on them. This way your podcast addresses two faculties – the auditory and the optical with the latter complementing the former.
To craft a solid visual identity, you don’t need to master the principles and elements of design. Although it helps to learn about them, we’ll go the basic route and pinpoint areas as well as identify steps you can take to apply visuals in your podcast activity and create a great visual identity for your podcast.
Now, why should you even bother with visuals? While the industry you’re in is targeted for listeners, there’s no denying that ours is a visual world and your podcast should be able to take advantage of that. Let’s quickly take a look at some eye-opening statistics that bolster our case.
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The Power of Visuals
A 2020 survey of 200 marketers on their visual content usage revealed the following:
- 64% considered visual content essential or very important to their marketing strategy.
- 63.2% of businesses rely heavily on visual content.
- 48% create visuals primarily for blogs and landing pages.
- 45% come up with visuals for various social channels.
Among human senses, vision or the sense of sight reigns supreme. Our CPU – the brain – takes information from the eyes and is able to process images 60,000x faster than text. Of this info that is processed, 90% are visual. To top it off, nearly 93% of all human communication is mainly visual.
Now you know why businesses and marketers are heavily invested in visual and graphic design. It is for the purpose of attracting customers. Well-designed and visually pleasing business websites, online stores, social media pages get more engagements, shares, and likes.
You are able to capture the interest and attention of visitors and make followers of them. Wouldn’t you want that for your podcast? Among the 10 ways to get more listeners is to create a podcast website and build separate pages for your episodes.
That’s because people also need to see what you say. And since you’ll be showing them, then make that website as attractive as possible with carefully designed graphics, easy navigation, and visualized information.
Reasons Why Your Podcast Needs a Visual Identity
Here are some of the most important reasons why your podcast greatly benefits from having a visual identity.
1. Your Podcast is a Brand
A brand is commonly known as an identifying mark. It is a symbol of your business like a logo, name, slogan, a word, or corporate colors. It is how your audience perceives you or how you like the public to recognize you.
If you’re starting out, you may not think of podcasts as a brand. You may just think of it as a hobby, an outlet for your ideas, or a venue to spread and share your interests. Is that what your podcast is to you? Then you’re underestimating yourself and the potential of podcasting.
Podcasts now are not a niche market. There are more than two million podcasts and 48 million episodes as of 2021. Apple Podcast alone has over half a million active podcasts with content exceeding 100 languages. Podcasts have become mainstream forms of media communication. And the market is not even saturated, giving you a lot of opportunities.
You have to change your mindset at the onset and consider your podcast as a brand. Here’s why:
- It’s much easier for your audience to identify with you
- You’ll have one central messaging, and designs are focused on your brand
- A branded podcast can attract other brands as advertisers or sponsors
- It’s easier to market your podcast as a brand
Remember that podcasts in the U.S. reach more than 60 million homes. While you’re still in the beginning stages and aspiring to increase your listener count – you have a big audience waiting to discover you.
Likewise, you may decide later on to monetize and get sponsors for your podcast. For that having a brand and visual identity comes in handy. You will also need a well-designed media kit to introduce your podcast.
Brand yourself this early. People like brands because they prefer something familiar. So make your podcast something they not only can experience but also recognize.
2. Make Your Brand Visible
One of the ways to be recognized is to be seen. With podcasts, you’re putting something – ideas, commentaries, news, topics, etc. – out into the world through online audio broadcasts.
Years ago, a question popped out – should podcasts be in video or audio format? One might think this kind of negates that whole thing about podcasts if it is in video.
There are more pros than cons in the case of audio podcasts. These include:
- Ability to broadcast (or netcast) in high quality at low cost
- Podcast is widely and easily consumable
- Audio editions are more popular that video podcast editions
- Generally simple setup, production, and requirements
- Extensive support by podcast directories, apps, and platforms
You get the point why podcasts are in audio. But as we stated early on, there is also the visual side of things you need to address especially when putting forward your brand.
For one, it’s easier to share a video link to your podcast (if you also record it on video) or a poster-like image of the podcast (announcement, schedule, topics, etc.) on social media. Videos and images are much more shareable than audio. Good news though – Facebook recently announced that you can now directly share your podcast through the FB mobile app.
Even if you share an audio link, it needs to have a landing page or website. In other words, your podcast needs to have a visual home and presence that audiences can seek to learn more about your brand and what it has to offer.
3. Boost Your Podcast Personality
As we said before, your brand is your personality. Maybe your podcast is already gaining momentum because of incisive commentaries, wit and humor, informative topics, and interesting content.
Whatever you’ve chosen to present and how you present it is your podcast personality. If you are the host, then that personality emanates from you. Your voice, how you speak, your content, topics, and even guests should align with how you spin yourself.
If you’re making political insights you cannot be half-serious or nobody will believe you. So how do you present that personality in a visual way? Here are some tips:
- Design your podcast website based on your personality.
- Stick with images and graphics that are reflective of your brand.
- Create a logo that is truly symbolic of your podcast.
- Be consistent – carry your visuals and designs across all your online pages and platforms.
Speaking of websites, these should be according to your niche – if you give out advice (legal, technical, etc.) then your site should be professional-looking. If you do reviews (software, gadgets, music, and movies) your podcast website should look cool and modern.
You can get design ideas online or, if budget allows, you can hire a graphic designer for specific projects (topic image, social media banner) or a whole package of branding assets (logo, templates, website design).
4. Reinforce Your Audio Platform
Your podcast can be an immersive auditory experience, especially if you have interesting topics. We can liken it to the good ‘old transistor radio of yesteryears. It precedes the television and was the only device people ever needed to listen to the news, commentaries, local updates, weather reports, and music. The radio was always on.
You may not be broadcasting all the time. It could be that you follow certain schedules and your shows have predetermined times. But then you have to strengthen your platform and be consistent. You can also complement your audio with the many visuals. What are the areas in which you can do these?
- Podcast logo – your brand identifier
- Website – the place for information about your podcast and where people can reach you
- Cover art – what people see when they scroll through the podcast directory
- Episode-specific artwork – this is optional but recommended to showcase fresh content
- Media kit – essential for enticing advertisers and sponsors
- Email business card – part of your marketing plan or attachment for emails
- Printed products – these can be merchandise to sell (t-shirts or mugs with your logo or slogan) or tokens/giveaways (calendars, posters, wall art).
- Social media graphics – visualized posts on social platforms
Where there are opportunities to expand your visual reach through images, graphics, illustrations, etc. whether online or on physical products, do it. The repercussions of your podcast being seen might equal or even exceed the results of you being heard. To be sure, the aggregate effects will be widespread.
5. Show Yourself on Social Media
Social media usage is expected to grow to 4.4 billion people by 2025. That’s right; almost half of the world’s population will be on social media. What does this mean to you? If you consider yourself a brand, then you should have a social media presence. That’s where people are and that’s where you can reach more people.
Many brands have a social media strategy. Yours should not be any different. While you are promoting your podcast, essentially you are promoting yourself. With social media, you’re trying to connect with as many people and have a consistent and pervasive presence to gain brand recall.
Here are ways you can showcase yourself on social media:
- Create cover art posts for every episode, signifying you have new content.
- Make full video transcripts on YouTube (or at least video summaries of episodes); this will be helpful for the hearing impaired who can’t listen to your podcast.
- Strive to put art, images, and graphics to your posts to make them noticeable.
- Provide links that direct people to your podcast and make it easy for them to share those links.
- Be consistent with your graphics and design, be it on posts, pins, tweets, stories, ads, etc.
Many brands have experienced significant increases in brand recognition through a strong social media presence. It’s a no-brainer – tap into this huge market to build your podcast following and do it with visuals.
6. Voice, Visuals, and Values
The visuals you use should tie in properly with your podcast. Yours is the vocal medium that you make identifiable with visual elements. The two – voice and visuals – must work effectively together to elevate your brand and resonate with people.
Of course, vocals and visuals are just the vehicles of your content. As they say – content is king; no amount of great visuals or the best-modulated voice can replace poor content and uninteresting topics. Fresh, engaging content is what puts value to your voice and visuals.
People listen to helpful advice, new ideas, inspiring thoughts, and the like that inspire, motivate and produce positive results. Without you realizing or intending it, your podcast is a powerful tool to influence people. Put that podcast to good use – inform, educate, and entertain listeners – and see your followers grow tenfold.
Your Podcast Visual Identity: A Summary
The podcast industry is relatively young and you have lots of leeway and chances to make your mark. There are many helpful tips and tutorials in the Spreaker blog to guide you if you’re a beginner as well as professional-level advice if you’re a more established podcaster.
What we’ve presented here are actionable ways to leverage visual elements in order to establish your brand and identity – things your podcast needs going forward. Podcasts have grown by leaps and bounds because of the uniqueness of the audio platform, making listening to it a personal experience.
But as with anything in this very visual world, you need to put a face, a persona behind the voice. Having a visual identity for your podcast will help you do just that.
Jun Anover is a senior content producer at Colorcinch, formerly Cartoonize.net. His background in digital art, visual design, and photography helps him craft informative articles and creative content pieces on these subjects.