Podcasting Q&A

The Pros & Cons of Episode Artwork

August 01, 2022 Buzzsprout
Podcasting Q&A
The Pros & Cons of Episode Artwork
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

In this episode, Andrew asks, "what are the pros and cons of episodic artwork?"

Thank you, Andrew, for your question! You can check out his podcast, The Family Histories Podcast here: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1712992

Guest Angie Griffith
Host of 4 Things For Your Podcast  & Podcast Strategist
Check out her website & podcast here: https://beacons.ai/theactualangie

Having episodic artwork is an easy way to add uniqueness to your podcast, but is it worth all the extra time and effort to create?

PROS

  • Adds uniqueness & elevated visualization
  • Guest feature makes them feel special
  • Re-use imagery for social promotion

CONS

  • Careful to not have guest feature make them appear as the host of the podcast
  • Difficult to update if there is a mass change in your podcast (i.e. name, branding, network)
  • Time consuming & potentially expensive
  • Smaller than main cover art in the feed

 
Have a question?
Record & submit your question at podinbox.com/buzzsprout to be featured on a future episode!

Podcasting Q&A is hosted by Jordan Blair @jordanpods.

Jordan:

episodic artwork is an easy way to add visual pizzazz to your episodes. But is it actually worth the time and effort to create? I'm Jordan host a podcast and q&a where we answer your questions about how to start, grow and monetize podcast. This week's question is from Andrew.

Andrew:

Hello, Buzzsprout. Us. It's Andrew from the family histories podcast here. I'd like to know what are the pros and cons of using episodes specific artwork, versus using just the same main show artwork for each of your episodes.

Jordan:

Thank you for your question, Andrew, to help me answer it. I've invited podcast strategist and host of four things for your podcast. Andy Griffith on the show. Andy, thank you so much for joining me.

Angie:

Hey, Jordan, thank you so much for inviting me on. I'm so honored to be here. I love Buzzsprout.

Jordan:

So episode artwork, it's kind of a double edged sword, isn't it? I think that there are some benefits to having episodic artwork. There's also kind of some cons such as time constraints, or, you know, just making extra work for yourself. So I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic.

Angie:

I completely agree with you. I have some pros. I have some cons. I'm gonna lean heavily on the cons. But my first question always, really, with any question about podcasting is what's your goal, right? So if you have a podcast about art, or you have maybe a seasonal fiction podcast with chapters Like for instance, if Stranger Things were to have a podcast, and they had a different episode art for each episode, I'm sure they could do a great job. And it would look amazing, and we would all be like score, they did it right. My guess is that Andrew most likely doesn't have an art focused podcast, or it's not really focused on art, just my guess. And so me in particular, I tend to talk to podcasters, who are influencers or other types of online business owners who want to monetize their podcast at some point. So normally, the people I speak to, they want to drive traffic back to their existing income generating platforms, products, services, memberships, or they're trying to grow their download numbers so that they can monetize by more traditional means, like sponsorships. And so if we're talking to those people, which is probably a majority of the listeners of this podcast, just from what I would gather, then I would say my opinion, just my opinion would be I lean more towards having one fantastic cover that you are really happy with that is a really great representation of your brand, that it feels really in alignment, and just lean into that cover and use it for every single episode. The first pro I guess would be, it does make every episode unique. So let's say you are someone who interviews a lot of guests, it might make it easier for your listeners to scan through your episodes to find who they're looking for. And then the other I'm going to say it's a half Pro, because it's really a con. But some podcasters may think they're making their guests feel really special and really highlighting them in their feed. And I know this, I have a friend who started a podcast recently, and she was doing episode specific art. And she was using a picture of her guest for each episode. And she was like, I just I think it's great, like highlighting them making them feel special. And that's where I pulled that from. So you can feel that way. And then I guess you could say, if it's done right, again, if the producers of Stranger Things put out a podcast, and I just know they would crush it with episode artwork, then okay, but overall, if you're going to have episodes of specific artwork, just make sure that there's a consistency from cover to cover so that one piece of art doesn't look drastically different from another episode. Your podcast is really all about branding, right? And like positioning and selling a product to somebody even if you're just selling someone on listening to your podcast, you want to have a cohesive brand to present someone.

Jordan:

I absolutely agree with that in with my podcast, I have a storytelling podcast. And I usually have the exact same artwork for every single episode, except when I do the special episodes that are like the most listener requested episodes. So for example, I did a constellation series, I actually had specific artwork for the episodes that were within that constellation mythology series so that listeners could easily scan through and identify which episodes in my podcast feed were for that constellation series. And I also had a specific artwork for let's say the Wizard of Oz and it had the yellow brick roads so that people could easily see it. that oh yes, that is Wizard of Oz. Other than that, if I'm doing some obscure like folklore or some random Grimms fairy tale, it's going to have my podcast cover art instead of something special because I don't really want to spend a lot of time on something that's not very special. You could potentially repurpose your episode at cover art for a social media promotion. Can I give a but I would love a rebuttal here. Okay, you could.

Angie:

And this is a whole nother topic that we don't have to get into here. But I really think even creating art specifically for social media isn't as powerful as it once was on social media. What's more powerful on social media is just building your own brand, and linking your podcasts like barely even mentioning your podcast. But if you really build let's use Instagram as an example, you build a community by sharing valuable reels like things that are going to catch people's attention. And maybe mentioning in the caption, like, go check out this episode, if you want to learn more, they don't necessarily have to go check out the episode, those types of content are going to convert better than spending hours creating Canva graphics, from what I've realized recently, and it's not the same as it used to be, you know, five years ago, even graphics were a lot more powerful audio grams, were a lot more powerful. I think we need to get away from spending so much time creating graphics and back into really just using our face and our voice and video and just really creating an interactive experience with our audiences.

Jordan:

Okay, so we have scraped the bottom of the barrel on episodic artwork pros. So I guess let's dive into the cons of episodic artwork.

Unknown:

Alright, let's go back to my half Pro. So the one where you're like, Oh, I'm making my guests feel really special. I'm putting a picture of them on the episode cover. Yes. So I had a friend who had a podcast, I guested on her podcast, she had a picture of me. It was an approved promo photo. It wasn't like she just grabbed a photo from Facebook. You know, it was a photo that I am happy for people to share. And that was what was on the cover art and it felt so weird sharing it to my audience. Think about it this way. Like, if I'm reaching out to my dream guest let's say I'm reaching out to I don't know, this isn't my dream guest, but let's just use like Amy Porterfield as an example. So I make an episode specific graphic with Amy Porterfield face on it. I'm like, Amy, here's the episode like please share it. I'm so excited. I here's a photo of you, just highlighting you. Like you would think that would make her feel really special. But actually, Amy Porterfield sharing that episode to her audience, like if she just goes straight from you know, Apple podcasts or Spotify and just shares the episode to her Instagram story. It's just gonna be really confusing for her audience. They're gonna be like, did Amy start another podcast? Like what is it that she's guesting on? Really, what makes me feel more special as a guest is being able to share Hey, look at this awesome podcast that I discussed it on, they asked me to be on their podcast, it's not about me. Like they thought I was so cool that they asked me to be on their podcasts, go listen to this amazing Buzzsprout q&a podcast. And I'm gonna I want to share that cover to my feed. Because my people see pictures of me all the time, you know, that's not really going to mean much to them. So that's why I said that earlier one was like a half Pro, because I really think it's more of a con. Another con, I would say, think about the longevity of your podcast, like you're going to be doing this for a long time, eventually, you're going to have a lot of episodes, if you stick with it, hundreds of episodes, some podcasters have 1000s of episodes. So if you have episodes specific artwork and say, let's pretend your episodic artwork has the name of the podcast, your name and then a picture of the guest. It's like a cover art, but for the episode, right, just the photo changes. Think about when maybe you get married and your last name changes, you're gonna have to update that on your art for every single episode, maybe you change the title of your podcast, which people do and you're gonna have to go update every single cover or when you're having to do a million other things, right? Maybe you signed a new sponsor a title sponsor, and you have to have the logo on the cover art. Now you have to go figure out how to put that logo on every single episodic cover art, maybe assign a network deal and you have to have the network icon and you get a new presenting sponsor. Now you're doing like all this stuff, like what is the point just use one cover art, be really happy with it, invest in it if you want it to be like super pro, get a graphic designer, whatever, but just focus on that one cover art and make it really great and make sure that you don't have to change a million different places when you change something like your name, your title, your sponsor or get a network deal.

Jordan:

It's so funny. That is a point that I have never heard anyone bring up. And I'm so shocked. Because just the thought of that is actual like nightmare fuel that gave me such anxiety thinking about what if I did get picked up by a network, and then I had to not only go in and edit all of those graphics, but then also go into each individual episode and remove and upload each. Yeah, oh, my goodness, that would be awful. That'd be so yeah, that's a lot of work. That's so much work.

Angie:

And to be fair, in a lot of these partnerships scenario, say you do sign up presenting sponsor, so you do sign with a network, most likely, it's going to be the episode when your deal starts forward. And a lot of times, you're not going to have to go back and update past episodes. But for me, I'm always thinking about the overall branding of myself and my podcast. And I do want it to be consistent. So I feel like I am the kind of person who would go back and update it anyway, if it was something big. And that's the same, like I plan on changing my cover art soon. And you know, if you change your cover art, you oftentimes have to go back in the hosting platform and update per episode anyway, with all the hosting platforms, they don't automatically do that for you. And so the last thing I want to be doing when I changed my cover art is like changing 100 200 episodes at some point.

Jordan:

I think that kind of segues into a another con that is on my mind, which is that it's kind of a big time suck.

Unknown:

Yep, I had that on my list too. It's an unnecessary step in your workflow. I feel like if you're putting your time into creating these episodes, specific covers, that time should be spent doing things that matter, like marketing, or maybe even a little bit of editing. And then if you're outsourcing it, you're paying somebody to do that that budget can also be better spent on the things that matter, such as marketing. So we could go into ways that we can use our time ways that we can use our budget. But I think overall, it's just a inefficient use of your time. Just exactly like you just said.

Jordan:

Podcasting is so hard as it is it's very difficult. And I think a lot of people go into it, like, oh, I should start a podcast. You know, it's not like video editing. It's not like this not like that. And I think that a lot of people don't realize how time consuming and how difficult podcasting actually is and how much thought and effort actually goes into it. So adding another hurdle to get over in your process, I think kind of puts people at risk of pod fate. Oh, yeah, just kind of increases those chances of getting burnout, because there's just so many other things that are so much more difficult. So like, don't make things harder than it needs to be.

Angie:

I'm constantly cutting things out of my workflow. Because when I first started podcasting, I was one of the people that was like, I want to do it all. I want to have video teasers. I want to have audiograms. I want to have my Facebook group, I want to have Pinterest strategy. I mean, I did everything. And I had to go back and really be honest with myself and say, Okay, what is the number one priority, and my number one priority is getting that episode edited and published, all of the rest is icing on the cake. I do believe in having a marketing strategy done 100%. But you don't have to be on every single platform. And you don't need to be doing every single thing you could be doing. Like yes, I could be creating episodes specific artwork. But I also need to not only have a podcast to publish, but I also have a life and I have a business to run. And I really need to be more strategic with my time. And I feel like we all can take a look at our workflow and figure out a couple of things that we can cut here and there. one specific thing is I have seen some episodes specific art that has a lot of text on it. Like sometimes people will bullet point out some highlights from the episode. Or they'll even put out the whole episode title on the art. A lot of times you have to remember obviously people know this, this is nothing new. When you're talking about podcast cover art, you always want to make it as least amount of words as possible and have the words as big as possible because people are looking at it on such a small screen. And the image is so small. So when it comes to your episode art that's even smaller than your cover art, generally speaking, if you're looking at it in the feed, and so if you add a lot of text, it just looks cluttered and jumbled and confusing. So just keep that in mind. If you are going to do episode specific artwork, just try to use as little words as possible on it. And then just generally overall, it looks less polished and it looks confusing. And again, I always go back to creating an overall brand with your podcast and the more easy to digest and consume it is for a new person who comes to your feed that has never met you before doesn't know you. You want to make it as easy as possible for them to understand who you are, what you stand for, and what they're going to get out of every episode and if there's different art for every episode. sewed, it'll just add something else that they have to kind of figure out.

Jordan:

Absolutely. Yeah, you know, what comes to mind is up and vanished. The podcast by Payne Lindsey tenderfoot. Yeah, tenderfoot such a good podcast. In Season One, they did episodic artwork. And it was really cool. Because every single episode had a graphic that was reminiscent of the piece of evidence that they were talking about, or a story that was being told about, like the victim or something like that. They just had this really beautiful, kind of mysterious artwork that was very simplistic like, Okay, I know that this episode is going to be about like a location, I know that this episode is going to be about this vehicle. But you know, it's funny. They did that for season one. They did that for season two. And then season three, they stopped doing it. I'm kind of wondering if they kind of figured out like, not really worth it. I thought I was gonna say, well, they're like, Yeah, we don't need that anymore. Yeah, I mean, it looked really cool. I mean, they did it right. It was just this like, beautiful imagery. And then something happened in season three, and season four, where they were just like the, and they they completely stopped doing the episodic artwork.

Angie:

Yeah, I'm looking at it too. Now that you mentioned it, and I actually I think up and vanished is a good example, if anyone wants to pull it up and look at the cover. I think that cover is so beautiful, the main cover of the show, and it's so well designed, and it was really thoughtful. And if it were my show, I would want to use that for every episode, I'm looking at the episode specific covers and no shade to tenderfoot. We're paying Lindsey but I personally I think that main cover speaks louder than any of the episodes. Yes. And again, it's like if I want to share an episode to my Instagram story, I'd rather share their beautiful cover art than a picture of a truck.

Jordan:

That's such a good point. And when people do share your podcast episodes, so up and vanish their episodic artwork, there's no up and vanished branding on that artwork. So if someone were to share it, the podcast name is not on that cover art. Yeah,

Angie:

I think the general consensus if you're asking Angie and Jordan is go with one beautiful cover and use it for all of your episodes. The end, I agree.

Jordan:

Thank you so much for joining me on this episode of Podcasting Q&A. Andy, it's such a pleasure to have you on

Angie:

thank you so much for inviting me, Jordan. It's always an honor to be here.

Jordan:

I hope this episode of Podcasting Q&A has been helpful to you. If you have a question you'd like us to answer on a future episode, go to pod inbox.com/buzzsprout or click the link in the show notes to leave us an audio message. And as always, Keep podcasting

Intro
Listener Question
Guest Intro: Angie Griffith
Pros: Episode uniqueness & guest feature
Pros: Re-use graphic for social promo
Cons: Confused branding with guests
Cons: Difficult to update en masse
Cons: Time consuming & expensive
Cons: Smaller than main cover in feed
Outro