Podcasting is all about the audio, right? What we say as hosts, what is shared by our guests, what our listeners hear, and what catches their attention. It’s all about the profound truth, the enthralling story, the laugh-out-loud moments of hilarity! We’re looking for hooks, we’re in search of the right “ear-worm”, we want what our audience hears to be amazing – because that’s the main thing, right? Well…kinda. There is one element of your amazing podcast that cannot be heard, but still speaks loudly – your cover art!
Your podcast is not a purely auditory experience, the visual impact of your podcast artwork is so important that it cannot be underestimated, ignored, or treated as an afterthought. This will be the “face” of your show; it will serve as a memorable point of association with your content.
Read on as we discuss What Great Podcast Artwork Can Do For You and Your Podcast!
Related read: How To Find The Right Name For Your Podcast
1. Make an Impression
Here’s a couple of cliché adages for you – “You never have a second chance to make a first impression”, and, “People judge a book by it’s cover.” Unfortunately they’re clichés because they’re true! People are going to engage you with their eyes before they tune in with their ears; your podcast artwork will allow you to make a memorable impression on potential engagees before they hear a word of your fabulous content. This is your “bright smile and firm handshake” moment, this first cursory glance opens the door for your (potential) listener to get a quick, superficial gauge of who you are and what you will be offering to them. The first impression is the initial stage of engagement with your artwork, and hopefully your content.
It can then take this engagement a step further, as your podcast artwork enables you to…
2. Speak Without Saying a Word
According to Brandingmag journalist Elizabeth Smithson, “Branding is important because not only is it what makes a memorable impression on consumers but it allows your customers and clients to know what to expect from your company.”¹ Believe it or not, you are actually communicating a ton of information through that little 3,000 by 3,000 box of pixels! It is a reflection of your brand.
Your podcast artwork is your unique identifying mark. You have the liberty to be as strategically expressive as you want to be. Is your podcast about pop music? Use bright bold colors, and opt for fun youthful fonts. Is your podcast about finance? Incorporate dollar, pound, and euro signs into the mix. Is your podcast centered around a personality? Feature a high-quality headshot or profile, or mix it up and go a different route by using a stylized caricature.
If you don’t have the skill set or proficiency in professional programs such as Adobe After Effects, check out Canva for an easy, user-friendly platform with minimal barriers to entry, or even jump on to Fiverr and have your work completed by a skilled designer.
Remember, every element of your cover art can potentially communicate something about you, your show, and your ethos:
- The palate used – Is it muted watercolours? Vibrant neons? Or perhaps black and white with a pop of colour in the text or an identifying object?
- The choice of text – Is it easily legible on a smaller device? Is it bold, sharp, capitalized letters or is it round, soft, stylized script?
- And the images – Are they real pictures of real people? Poignant cartoon depictions of logos, objects and symbols?
There is so much to be communicated through your podcast artwork! But above all, the message you want to communicate to your audience through a carefully created, high-quality image is that you care. How does your podcast artwork show that you care? Because it communicates to potential listeners that if you’ve put all this thought, time, and effort into making your podcast artwork so effective and engaging for them, then by tuning in to your podcast, they can expect that the same level of dedication, passion, and care goes into your content creation! And which then means that your show is one not to be missed!
Ensuring that your podcast artwork represents your brand will help ensure that you’re reaching your target audience, but a great piece of podcast artwork can also help grab the attention of those who aren’t necessarily looking for your content…which brings us to another reason you should make sure you have some stellar podcast artwork…
3. Snag the Stragglers!
We’ve all done it. Browsing through Netflix, scrolling through YouTube, filing through bookstore shelves and magazine racks…we invariably stop and engage with the product that catches our eye! Whether we intended to click, watch, or buy, a well-packaged product snags the straggler. Think of a skilled fisherman using the right bait on his hook – there’s potential for you to catch casual browsers with a professional, eye-catching podcast artwork.
Apple’s online podcast support resource states it simply: “Creating interesting or otherwise compelling artwork can help your show attract new listeners and potentially gain new subscribers”. There are many ways to gain traction and exposure for your podcast: paid advertisements, word of mouth, features, hosting guests with sizable followings, but when it’s all said and done, there is still one key means of drawing in new listeners – your well-designed, thoughtfully-designed podcast artwork.
Related Read: 7 Tips For Creating Great Podcast Content
Just looking at the above, it really is simple, in more sense than one…which brings us to our fourth and final point.
4. Get More From Less
You put time and effort into your podcast to create content that is compelling, entertaining, and informative. Oftentimes, especially in long-form formats, more is more; the more your guest opens up and divulges the secrets to their success, the more value you’re giving to your listener. That direct correlation doesn’t necessarily exist when creating your podcast logo – you may be delighted to actually find that less is more.
Don’t get me wrong – it takes intentionality and strategic design to make your cover art simple whilst effective, but simplicity is king! This is an opportunity to distill the vast reaches of your mission and vision, your idiosyncrasies and unique personality, your exclusive knowledge and uncommon skill set…into a single image. It’s a tall order! You could easily find yourself quickly falling into the pursuit of the perfect image, and perfect text, and perfect shade of fuchsia, but you’re free to simply relax. Keep it simple. The perfect marriage of your image and text is less like a royal promenade with thousands of fawning admirers in attendance, and more like an intimate backyard union with only the most important people there to stand witness.
Writer, producer, and podcaster, Matthew McLean, says:
“Most people’s brains are pretty bad at memorizing images. The less data you give them to store, the better they’ll store it. If you want your podcast logo to be memorable, it needs to be as simple and clean as possible.”²
Simple and clean, like the perfect wedding dress for your backyard nuptials! It doesn’t have to be designed by a professional to exude professionalism, if you thoughtfully think through this assignment you will create artwork that is simple and still impacts those who see it.
So, what should you say through your podcast to make a statement, communicate your message, and capture new listeners with clarity and simplicity? Well…you needn’t say anything! You can do all of that by crafting a great piece of podcast artwork. A cleverly-designed, high-quality artwork really does speak volumes…without uttering a single syllable. It will help your podcast stand out, and ultimately, help you expand your reach. Your message deserves this! Superstar Podcaster, make sure that your podcast has artwork that properly reflects the value of your content, and you will enjoy all the returns on this worthwhile investment!
1. Brandingmag | Narrating the discussion: https://www.brandingmag.com/2015/10/14/what-is-branding-and-why-is-it-important-for-your-business/
2. The Podcast Host: Your Perfect Podcast Logo: Crafting Podcast Cover Art to Grab Attention: https://www.thepodcasthost.com/promotion/how-to-create-your-podcast-cover-art/