Recently (like REALLY recently), YouTube rolled out podcasting in YouTube Music. This marks just the latest investment in a series of commitments for podcasting by YouTube.

It’s clear, YouTube is all-in on podcasting. But what does it really mean for podcasters? How can a video-first platform support audio-first content? Are there tangible opportunities for podcasters? And how can podcasters take advantage of YouTube and get a return on investment?

Today, we set out to answer those questions. We are HEAR to clear up any confusion and help get your YouTube podcast set up for success.

So, why should a podcast get on YouTube?

In a previous post, we reported all about YouTube (read about it here). To make it a long story short – YouTube presents podcasters with some exciting opportunities. As the second largest search engine with billions of users around the world – YouTube is becoming the premier place to grow and connect with your audience. YouTube even provides new paths to monetization and, uploading to YouTube is just part of a good marketing/promotional plan for your podcast.

Why is YouTube getting mixed results on podcasting?

Initial reports from podcasters are that YouTube shows some mixed results. It was reported that some large networks are facing headwinds when trying to drum up listens on YouTube. However, as pointed out by a YouTube spokesperson, the platform is still ramping up to audio-first, podcasting content. Additionally, YouTube is continuing to update discovery methods in the platform.

Furthermore, both podcasting networks and YouTube acknowledged there is a bit of a learning curve and ramping period associated with these types of experiments. Many podcasting networks even reported being excited about the future of podcasting on YouTube, despite receiving initially low viewership. They also said they plan to continue uploading their audio-first podcasts into the platform.

So yes, early adopters are not performing as well as they were hoping to. BUT YouTube is still learning how to best support podcasting and is constantly evolving. Here at Headliner, we believe YouTube is a large part of podcasting’s bright, shiny future and look forward to seeing how the platform will grow. 

YouTube’s algorithm explained

Today, YouTube’s algorithm favors user-centric content. This means content that is geared towards the user and ultimate consumer is outranking content that seeks to only serve SEO or algorithms. With this, the more time users spend and engage with a video, the more likely it is to be promoted.

The YouTube algorithm also considers things like content metadata when creating content recommendations. YouTube looks at things like categories, descriptions, and tags to decide how to classify a video and better idenify who might enjoy it.

The downside to this algorithm is that there is a ramping period. Algorithms need time to gather information about how people watch or engage with content so they can understand how to best do their job. Another layer to the YouTube algorithm is that it has YEARS of history and learnings for supporting video-first content and is JUST starting to figure out how to support audio-first content (aka podcasts). So, it makes sense that views may not be super high during this initial rollout period. All in all, YouTube just needs time to learn and ramp up!

Fortunately, there are some things you can do now to start setting your podcast up for success on YouTube and get ahead of the ramping period.

Tips and best practices for creating a YouTube podcast with Headliner

While the YouTube podcasting platform requires additional time to ramp before podcasters will be able to reap the full benefits – here is our shortlist of tips and tricks you can do now to set your podcast up for success down the road. Best yet – you can accomplish all these things for FREE with Headliner, no fancy equipment or multi-camera setup required.

1. Mark your content as a podcast.

First and foremost, you’ll need to create a podcast on YouTube OR mark existing content as a podcast. Ensuring your uploads have the podcast label is the first and best step you can take to set your channel up for podcasting success and start ranking in YouTube’s algorithm! Then, once you’ve created your podcast on YouTube, you can easily connect it to Headliner.

If you want to connect your YouTube and Make by Headliner account, you'll need to grant us access.

2. Establish a clear, consistent naming convention.

Make sure all your episodes follow the same naming convention. Not only does it look nicer and makes it easier for your audience to navigate through your content – BUT YouTube is also more likely to push playlists that follow a logical, organized naming convention.

When naming your podcast and uploading episodes, try to avoid words like “podcast,” “full episode,” and “new upload.” Vague and generic naming conventions are not typically favored by algorithms, and, in YouTube’s case, generic names will be ignored altogether and will be overridden by the algorithm.

3. Make sure your channel is public.

In YouTube Studio, there are three privacy settings: private, public, and unlisted. If you are looking to increase organic traffic and listenership, you MUST have your podcast playlist set to public – otherwise, YouTube will not be able to push your content or recommend your podcast. You can even edit your privacy settings in Make by Headliner. 

How to create a playlist and make it public in Make by Headliner's UI.

4. Pay attention to the details.

Just like you would a book, you want a short summary to let your audience know what each episode AND your entire podcast is about. Add a detailed description to your channel, podcast, and individual episode description (you can do all that in Make!!) to better inform your audience and give the algorithm some additional data to work with!

5. Organize your podcast.

Just like anything else – organization here is key! For YouTube, your podcast can only appear in one playlist. It is considered a best practice to list all your podcasting content in one playlist and make sure it is organized in order of desired consumption. With Make, you can automatically sort your podcast uploads as serial or episodic and set up auto-posting integrations as you create new episodes!

Chose how to post your YouTube podcast in Make by Headliner's UI.

6. Have an SEO plan.

Now this one can be a little tricky – you really need to think about how someone who is on the hunt for a podcast would think. Then, using your metadata, you can integrate keywords to help the algorithm and users find your podcast more easily! Additional areas you can use keywords are places like file name and transcript. You can even try using free tools like Google AdWords or SEMrush to help conduct keyword research too (we certainly do!).

7. Focus on your fans.

Yep, that’s right – talk to your listeners! If you see a comment or someone shares your video externally, reach out and follow up. Nurturing relationships is not only just good manners, but it really does help create connections with listeners that keeps them coming back and listening to your podcast uploads!

8. Add tags.

In YouTube, tags work like hashtags – they are considered keywords and search terms for your video uploads. Adding tags to your YouTube uploads enables you to maximize your reach and increases the likelihood of your content being pushed in YouTube’s algorithm – getting your uploads in front of the appropriate audience! Tags improve your videos’ SEO and can even help increase content ranking if the title of your video contains commonly misspelled words. When using tags, it is best practice to list them in order of relevance to the video and to include a mix of both general and specific tags. You can even add your tags directly in Make and save them for future posts!

Add tags in the Make UI.

9. Cross-promote your YouTube podcast.  

Part of the beauty of YouTube is that it is owned by Google. And including YouTube videos in external sources – like blogs – not only creates additional touch points and increases video traffic, but it helps your content rank better in organic searches. So, if you have a blog, website, or even a Twitter account – cross-promote your YouTube podcast on those platforms by embedding your upload or linking to it in-text. 

10.  Keep focusing on your podcast.

With all these tips – the best thing you can do for your YouTube podcast is to keep doing it. It is going to take YouTube a little time to ramp up to podcasting, but you need to keep at it to stay ahead and reap the benifits later on. After all, you’re a podcaster – focusing on the quality of your content and keeping at it is the best thing you can do as a creator.

Upload your podcast to YouTube

So yes, YouTube is still learning how to support podcasting. But, the good news is the company is making continued investments in podcasting and is constantly releasing updates to support podcasters. To set your podcast up for success on YouTube, you need to start now. And, with Headliner, it’s quick and easy – just check out the time stamp below (43 seconds!!!!).

AND, best yet, you don’t need any fancy equipment, or a multi-camera studio set up to get started! Headliner has a slew of features designed to help you quickly and easily convert your audio-only podcast to YouTube-friendly videos. So, what are you waiting for? Start uploading your podcast in as little as five minutes for FREE.