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Transitioning from Podcast Studios to Descript: A Career Journey

Arielle Nissenblat is the Community Marketing Manager at Descript, founder of Earbuds Podcast Collective, a member of the Podcast Academy, and host of various podcasts focusing on the podcast industry.

In this episode, We talked about Arielle’s journey into the podcast industry and explored how she got started and what led her to her current role. We also discussed the evolution of podcasting, noting how much it has changed over the years.

We talked about the transformative impact of Descript on our workflows and discussed broader industry trends towards video integration.

Arielle and Her Journey To Podcasting

Arielle, with her rich background in podcasting since 2017, shared her journey and how her love for listening to podcasts led her to immerse herself in the industry. 

She began with a podcast recommendation newsletter, Earbuds Podcast Collective, which aimed to connect listeners and creators, filling the gap in the rapidly growing podcast landscape. Arielle highlighted her initial struggle of juggling multiple side jobs before landing her first full-time podcast-related role.

I could relate to her experience, having managed various gigs simultaneously, from English teaching to making TikTok videos, before deciding to focus solely on podcast production. For Arielle, the breakthrough came when she pitched the idea of podcast studios in coworking spaces, leading to the establishment of a studio and hosting networking events and podcast festivals.

Professional Growth and Software Expertise

In 2023, SquadCast was acquired by Descript, a move that made perfect sense to her given the growing demand for integrated remote recording capabilities. Arielle now focuses on engaging with podcasters and video creators to enhance their experience with Descript, ensuring they have the necessary resources and education to maximize the platform’s potential.

Descript Evolution: From Audio Only to Video Integration

As an affiliate partner and hopefully soon-to-be ambassador, I’ve been heavily involved in promoting Descript. Recently, I even gave a talk at Podfest in Asia about the top 10 tips for editing with Descript, showcasing just how integral it has become to my work. I wouldn’t have a business without it, as it revolutionized how I produce podcasts, both for myself and my clients.

A significant part of our discussion revolved around Descript’s video integration. Before Descript acquired Squadcast, there was a high demand for video editing features. I had to juggle between different platforms to meet my needs, which could have been more convenient. However, Descript’s evolution from an audio-only tool to one that supports video editing was a game-changer. Now, most of my clients and I create videos alongside audio content, fully utilizing Descript’s capabilities to engage our audience more effectively.

Audio vs Video Podcast

Initially, I resisted the idea of incorporating video into podcasts. I believed podcasts should remain audio-only, and I often argued against the notion that video content could be considered a podcast. However, I eventually saw the industry’s shift towards video and adapted my approach. Now, my channels, including This Smarter Podcasting and A Vietnam Podcast, are fully equipped with 4K video content on YouTube, while still offering audio versions. This dual approach broadened my audience reach and engagement.

 Read my old blog YouTubers vs Podcasters!

Descript’s Improvement

We also talked about the challenges and improvements with Descript’s platform changes, especially when it transitioned to Storyboard. Initially, there were bugs and issues, which caused frustration among users. However, the recent release of Storyboard Remastered has significantly improved the experience. Despite some initial confusion with new features, like applying changes to all scenes, these updates ultimately made the platform more intuitive and efficient. 

Seamless Global Collaboration

The cloud-based system enables my team members, who are spread across different parts of the globe, to work on projects simultaneously. Clients could also join in and contribute to the project in real time. This level of collaboration was not possible with traditional, non-cloud-based editing programs. The robust collaboration tools of Descript continued to improve, making the process even more efficient and effective.

The Power of Social Clips: Enhancing Your Podcast with Descript

When it comes to creating engaging content, the first word that comes to mind is “clips.” Or more precisely, “social clips.” These bite-sized pieces of content are becoming increasingly significant. If you’re not quite ready to dive into full-length video production, cutting your podcast into clips could be a great transition. 

Arielle said that the primary purpose of creating clips wasn’t necessarily to convert viewers into podcast listeners. Instead, it was about ensuring people hear and consume your message, regardless of the platform. 

Creating a Comprehensive Content Strategy

When explaining the strategy to clients, I emphasized creating a video as the main asset. The video would live on YouTube for discoverability, but the reality would be that not many people will watch an hour-long conversation. That could be okay because the audio version of the podcast, available on platforms like Spotify and Apple Podcasts, would have higher retention rates. 

Moreover, it was essential to follow your audience. If they engaged with your content on TikTok, lean into TikTok. Experiment for a few months, focusing your marketing efforts on that platform, and see if it drove more traffic to your podcast. While not everyone who watched a 30-second clip will listen to an hour-long podcast, a small percentage will, and that can be enough to build a loyal following.

Additionally, breaking down the video into clips would get significantly more views, even if they didn’t convert into podcast listeners immediately. I’ve experienced this firsthand. At a recent charity event, someone recognized me from a podcast clip she had seen. Although she hadn’t watched the entire episode, she knew about my podcast and associated it with my brand. The primary purpose of clips is to get your message out there and establish yourself as an authority.

Simplifying the Process with Descript

One of the things I loved about Descript was how it streamlined the editing process. Previously, we had to download audio and video files and then upload them to various platforms. Descript, especially after integrating with Squadcast, eliminated these extra steps. Recordings can now be instantly transferred into Descript for editing. The built-in B-roll feature also saves time, providing high-quality clips that can be easily integrated into your videos.

You can also take your video, cut it into clips, and let Descript ensure they look and sound great.

Arielle talked about the importance of these features, noting that Descript’s partnership with a third party for stock imagery and videos had made it incredibly easy to add dynamic elements to your content. This integration helps maintain a high-quality production value without the hassle of sourcing and uploading external media.

If you haven’t started using clips yet, then it is time to experiment. There isn’t a perfect formula, but trying different approaches will help you find what resonates with your audience. The goal is to get your message out there and establish your authority, regardless of the platform. 

Conclusion

Arielle provided invaluable insights on leveraging podcasting tools effectively, emphasizing the importance of meeting your audience where they were, and experimenting with different content strategies.

In our conversation, Arielle and I explored the transformative power of social clips and how tools like Descript can elevate your content creation process.

To explore these features, visit Descript and start experimenting with your content today.