How to turn your podcast episodes into blog posts
Are you a podcaster? Are you interested in learning how you can turn the content of your podcast episodes into blog posts? Then you’re in the right place, as re-purposing audio content into long-form written articles is one of the main services I offer to podcasters (along with writing detailed show notes). In this blog post, I’m sharing the exact steps I follow when transforming a transcription into a blog post.
Step 1 – Obtain a transcription of your podcast episode
That’s right – I’m not suggesting you listen to your own podcast episodes and type it all up word by word.
Please don’t do that.
Instead, start with a transcription, which is a written version of your podcast episode. You can use a piece of software to convert audio (or video) files into text. Just head over to my blog post The best transcription tools for podcasters and video creators to find out which tools I recommend.
Step 2 – Clean up your transcription
As you can probably imagine, your podcast transcription (or transcript) will never be perfect. It’s a great resource to have and the right starting point, but even when it’s quite accurate and not littered with spelling and grammar mistakes, a transcription still needs a fair bit of work before becoming a user-friendly blog post.
In a nutshell, a transcript:
- Is too long. We’re talking about 7,000-8,000 words for a 20-30 minute episode.
- Unless you spend time organising the text and formatting it, it looks like a big wall of text that no one wants to read.
- More often than not, it contains mistakes – spelling, punctuation, lack of capitalisation for first names, company names, places, etc. Background noise in the recording or how well the software can decipher your or your guests’ accents may also impact the quality of the transcript.
I go into more detail about why I recommend you never publish a transcription of your podcast episodes without editing it first in this blog post, Why publishing your podcast transcripts on your website is BAD customer service. Take a look if you’re interested!
Remove whatever is not necessary
The first thing to do when starting to clean up your transcript is to delete anything that doesn’t need to be there. You want to edit down your ‘wall of text’ (potentially full of mistakes) into a piece of content that works in the written form.
What do I mean by that?
Remember that your podcast episode was created as a piece of content that’s meant to be listened to rather than read word by word. This means it’ll be full of things that you won’t need in an awesome blog post.
- ‘Empty words’. ‘Well’, ‘you know’, ‘actually’, etc.
- Hesitations. The um’s and er’s.
- Repetitions – of words, phrases, and concepts.
- False starts. You know when you start a sentence, can’t quite find the words, and decide mid-way to start again? This is a common trait of the way we all speak (and by no means a reflection on your ability as a podcast host!). But when you spot all these words in your transcript, you’ll see they’re redundant. So make sure you delete them!
As you clean up your transcript, you’ll notice two things:
- Your copy becomes much shorter.
- You start to see some sort of logical structure emerging from the text.
Let’s look at these two points in more detail.
Cutting the copy down
After going through the transcription once, you’ll have cut it down by about 50-60%, if not more. By the end of the first pass, I’m normally looking at a piece of content that’s around 2,500-3,000 words (down from 7,000-8,000).
But that’s still not the end goal!
The spoken language is – by its nature – full of repetition. When you’re explaining a concept or an idea in a podcast episode, you’ll make your point, back it up with an example or a story, and then most probably repeat that point again to wrap things up and make sure the message hits home. And there’s nothing wrong with that – it’s just the nature of how we speak! In fact, it’s crucial that we do because repetition is key to our learning.
But when you’re creating content that’s meant to be read (rather than listened to) repetition looks and feels redundant. When you think about it, it’s just not necessary because you can go back and re-read a point as many times as you like! Repetition makes the text heavier, boring, and less engaging for the reader, so train yourself to spot it and get rid of it.
Giving the copy some initial structure
During this first pass at the text, start to break it down into logical chunks. This will give you an initial idea of the sections and paragraphs you may want to create for your blog post. For example, you may notice a certain topic is covered twice, so copy and paste the text to make sure it’s in one chunk. You’ll go through it later to remove anything you don’t need.
If the topic is obvious, also start inserting some headings to signpost what a chunk of text is all about. But try not to worry about the details too much at this point – you’ll have a chance to re-structure and refine things later.
Step 3 – Create your first draft
Once you’ve completed the first pass at the transcription, it’s time to create your first draft. If at this point your transcription still looks nothing like a blog post, don’t despair! There’s a reason why we do things in steps. And right now, it’s time to look at the text logically and give it structure.
So go through the text again, and if you haven’t already:
- Identify logical sections of text that you can break into paragraphs.
- And start adding sub-headings (these will become Heading 2s and Heading 3s).
For example, if the podcast episode was a ‘How to’ piece of content covering five points to do something, turn each of those five points into a sub-heading. The text that falls under that heading will, for now, sit under that sub-heading.
By the end of this pass, you’ll be looking at a draft version of a blog post with a clear backbone and structure. If you were to write a piece from scratch, this is probably what it would look like. And in terms of word count, you’ll have cut the copy down by another 1,000-1,500 words. So, congratulations – we’re getting closer to the final goal!
Step 4 – Edit your blog post
With every blog post I write or re-purpose, I always do at least three rounds of editing:
- Structural edit.
- Line edit.
If you want to learn more about each type, head over to my blog post How to edit your own writing. But for now, let me share what you need to look out for.
This step is important so you can make sure your blog post is the best it can be.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Does the text make logical sense? Would any sections be better suited under other sub-headings? Should I move the order of the information around?
- Does the blog post need more sub-headings (Heading 2’s or Heading 3’s)? Can I break down the paragraphs even more?
- Can I remove some more text?
- Is it possible to make the sentences shorter to improve the readability of the blog post? When you start working from a transcription, existing sentences can be quite long. So look at ways to shorten your sentences and introduce lots of lovely connectors and prepositions to make your text easier to read.
It’s not unusual for me to remove another 500 to 1,000 words at this stage, and that’s how, at the end of my structural edit, I’m often left with a blog post of approximately 1,500-1,700 words.
During this pass at the text, look out for:
- Grammar and form.
- Choice of vocabulary and repetition – have you used too many instances of the same word? Can you think of any synonyms?
By now, your blog post should be in fairly good shape, so this round won’t take too long.
Step 5 – Formatting, proofreading, and polishing
Proofreading should really fall under editing, but before I carry out this final step, I format the text to make sure the blog post is visually appealing and easy to read.
So when formatting, make sure to create:
- Plenty of white space on the page.
- Bold text that highlights the most important points.
- Bullet points where necessary or applicable.
- Images (include at least one image for every 500 words).
- A clear Call To Action (CTA) at the end.
Once I’m happy with the way the blog post looks, I’ll read it one last time (proofreading) and make the last few cosmetic changes.
This is the point where you should look at readability and SEO if you use the Yoast SEO plugin. And if you’re not sure what I’m talking about, head over to my blog post: How to optimise your content using the Yoast SEO plugin.
How long will it take?
If you’re reading this and feeling a bit worried about how long it might take for you to re-purpose your podcast episodes, here are a few things to take into account. The time it’ll take you to re-purpose a podcast episode into a blog post will depend on:
- How long the episode is.
- How long you’re prepared to work on your blog post to make it the best it can be.
- And how experienced you are at doing this.
All in all, the process of turning a transcription into a polished blog post can take anything between 3 to 5.5 hours, with the first pass at the text taking the longest to complete. But the more time you spend on making those initial cuts, the quicker you’ll be later, as you’ll be working with less copy.
Would you like to outsource your podcast re-purposing?
I hope you found these steps useful. As you can tell, transforming audio content into written articles takes time and dedication, but the results are worth the effort! If you’re not 100% convinced yet, head over to 7 Reasons Why you Should Re-purpose your Podcast Episodes into Blog Posts.
And if you want to save yourself a few hours for each re-purposed episode, email me at email@example.com or fill in the Contact form on my website.
Wow!! So much goes into transforming a transcript into a blog post! Amazing insight Sara and goes to show just how much you put into each blog post you write.
Thank you, Lyndsay! A lot of people think it must be easier and quicker than writing from scratch because the content is already there. But a lot more extra cutting and editing needs to go into it. I love the process though! 🙂
Exactly the tutorial I was looking for, thank you!
Question: If I’m doing a blog post of the podcast episode and both have the same basic information, where does the podcast transcript fit into this practice? Should I continue to provide a transcript of the podcast episode for my listeners?
Hi Liz, thank you for reading and for your question! Personally, I wouldn’t publish the transcript as well as the podcast episode. Transcripts can be useful if someone didn’t catch a word or phrase, for example, but they’re really hard to read through. They’re unnecessarily long and not user-friendly, and even if one of your listeners wanted to double-check a particular point you covered in the podcast, they might struggle to find it in the transcript. Publishing detailed show notes or a blog post of your podcast episode, in my opinion, provides much better value to your audience.