It is estimated that there are about 4 to 5 million podcasts across the globe, with over 70 million episodes. That’s a staggering number, with Spotify, Apple, and YouTube heavily invested in capturing an industry projected to be worth $4 billion by 2024.
And although this can seem like a potential revenue stream for podcasters and organizations, marketers generally look at podcasts as another marketing and sales funnel. With over 62% of Americans listening to podcasts, and an estimated 504.9 million globally by the end of 2024, it’s a prospective pipeline to get content across to a diverse set of customers. This is where Artificial Intelligence (AI) is looking to make a difference.
How can AI help with podcasts?
The podcast market has taken some beating over the past few years, with the percentage of active Apple Podcasts dropping from 34% to just over 18% in May 2023. AI can help salvage this scenario, as over 60% of marketers are already familiar with AI, having used it in some marketing activities. Decision makers should utilize AI tools at different points of the podcasting process to gain its true benefits:
The Start - Naming, Concept, and Admin – Commencement can often be the most problematic part of your podcast journey. What is the concept of your podcast? What naming options do you have? Can you create a content calendar? What tasks do you need to take care of first? What deadlines can you set? All of these aspects can be handled by AI models like ChatGPT, where you can refine your prompts and use this as a base to ideate on. Don’t try using their ideas verbatim though, as duplication is possible with others using similar prompts. It’s a great thought starter, but some ideas might be too far-fetched for your brand. Try refining your prompts and possibly explaining your brand tone to the AI.
Research – Use the various AI platforms to analyze on trends, consumer sentiment, and even competition research. You can use ChatGPT to summarize the content of a competitor’s podcast and identify the space you can create for your own podcast. This can be potent leverage when trying to break the clutter in a crowded market. You can even use these to simplify and paraphrase complicated subjects which can feed your original research.
Scripting – This is one of the most time-consuming and challenging aspects of any podcast episode, as it determines every subsequent step in your podcasting process. AI tools can help you determine an outline, a flow, and write out the script based on prompts. Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Machine Learning (ML) tools are effective in understanding complex subjects and processing them into a script-like format. You can also add tonality, references, and nuances that can help AI further refine the script.
Recording – You no longer need professional microphones and expensive studio sessions to record podcasts. AI tools have changed how we process sound, by identifying the different frequencies in recorded audio and isolating the correct tone. AI tools like Descript, Adobe Podcast, Podcastle give you studio-quality sound, even if you record on your phone’s mic.
You can also leverage Text-to-Speech AI to ingest your script and create an automated podcast episode, with tools like AudioHarvest. These tools read the grammar and tonality of your script to add an automated voice with a human-like texture. You can also use tools like Resemble.ai or Voice.ai to recreate your own voice, or someone else’s. Get Drake’s voice for your brand, although that could open you up to various copyright issues.
Editing and Post-production – This is where AI truly shines. The time required for editing and mixing your audio can drop from hours to seconds, with auto adjustments occurring instantly. Additionally, if there is any mistake in your podcast episode, you don’t need to stop your post-production and record the entire thing all over again. You can make changes to the script and AI will provide real-time adjustments in the episodes, like in Adobe Podcast AI or Podcastle. These tools can recognize the inflection of your voice and recreate words that need to be added.
The “overdub” facility of Descript allows for voice modulation to fix any audio errors. Removing filler words like "umms" and "uhhs" can be instantaneous, giving you a professional podcast episode. The reverse is also possible where AI tools can generate room tone and fill any awkward silences.
Video – Most podcasts today require video. 91% of consumers want to see more online video content from brands, which can include podcasts. However, only 17% of podcast hosts record their episodes in video format. AI tools can expedite this process and reduce the drain on a marketer’s resources. AI-editing can automate video edits by analyzing the content, including multi-cam setups, and suggest cuts, transitions, and visual effects. It can also highlight important moments and add enhancing filters.
But maybe you don’t have the right equipment to record video, nor the time. AI tools can also automate video generation, with companies like Synthesia creating digital avatars who will host your podcast. The lips are programmed to move in sync with the voice, which could also be generated from a Text-to-Speech program based on an AI script.
Translation and Transcription – Transcribe your show in a matter of moments, with AI tools that can convert spoken words into text. This has large ramifications as Closed Captioning has become an accessibility requirement in various regions and can positively affect your SEO ranking. Furthermore, you can deploy these for real-time transcription in live episodes. Whisper, Adobe Podcast, Descript and many more offer this functionality.
Translating your episodes into different languages also becomes much easier, as voice recognition allows for automated translation. NLPs make this process much easier, but you can use AI tools like Synthesia to even mimic the lip movements. This provides the illusion of your episode being recorded in the translated voice, thereby increasing relatability and visibility of your content.
Personalization and InteractivePodcasts – Podcasters can now create content tailored to individual listeners, based on their interests, listening history, and recommended episodes. Imagine creating 1000 versions of the same episode with subtle differences for each listener. This personalized automation can increase engagement and retention levels, while significantly boosting brand loyalty.
You can also create interactive chatbots that give your listeners another form of engagement with your episode. These chatbots can recognize dialogue and respond accordingly. If you combine this with Text-To-Speech generators and Video AI like Synthesia, you can provide the feeling of a live episode where podcast hosts respond to their listener's comments. This can be completely automated, but there are risks associated with relinquishing such control.
Marketing and Distribution – You can use AI tools like Copy.Ai, Jasper, SemrushAI, or just ChatGPT, to create marketing collateral for your podcasts. Show notes, episode descriptions, social media copy, graphics, targeted advertising, etc., all can be AI-generated.
Tools like Snipd, which are used to transcribe and break podcasts into chapters, can now give you highlights from your podcast episodes that can be used for promotional activities. These are readily available instead of you manually editing short videos for promotion.
Testing and Analytics – AI tools can scan and analyze your content to help refine the final product. These are already being used by hosting platforms as a method to give you more data. But AI can act as a testing mechanism based on listening-data from larger datasets. This includes demographics, listening habits, retention rates, and drop-off points. It helps podcasters create more engaging content and make data-driven decisions in their marketing strategies.
There are various benefits of using AI for podcasts, mainly saving time and money, with efficient reallocation of resources and focus. However, there are drawbacks to this nascent field. Copyright is the biggest challenge, as there are questions hanging over ownership of AI-generated content. These tools might also incorporate layers of bias and discrimination into the content, which can be damaging to your brand.
Marketers and founders need to exercise caution and take calculated steps when using AI. Integrate AI into some aspects of your podcasting journey and see what opportunities can open for your brand.
What do you think is the best way to use AI in podcasting? Write to us.
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