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The images we use for our podcast episode art does matter but what that exactly looks like can be open for debate.
There are basically two lines of thinking:
- Use the same podcast cover art for each episode.
- Use specific podcast episode art for each episode.
Theoretically the first option is easier and involves fewer tasks because you’re just using the same image over and over. You don’t even have to upload it for each episode as most hosting services will just pull the one that’s already in there.
The second option could take a little bit more work but not horribly because you could just use a template. Of course, if you use your guests’ pictures you always have to chase down those pictures. Years ago that meant we would have to ask for an image. Today, I typically just grab their LinkedIn picture, which usually takes seconds.
Examples of podcast episode art
The possibly easiest and most consistent example is to have the same image which in my case looks like this:
The personalized version with a picture of myself and my guest looks like this:
Personally, I do think the personalized art does add a nice touch and listeners skimming through episodes can easily see who a specific episode’s guest is. Even if they don’t recognize the guest through the picture it’s still a nice visual cue.
How networks display episode art
The example above is from Pandora and I wanted to see how different networks display updated covers for each episode. Even if you choose to update the images for each episode would they even display on the different networks? That’s worth finding out.
On Spotify, it might make the biggest difference. Once you start listening to a show it shows up like this on your list. If there’s no specific episode art it just shows a few lines of transcript in the back. The image with a guest of myself look much nicer behind the main podcast cover.
Amazon Music: it also shows up nicely and works.
TuneIn: it doesn’t make a difference.
On Google Podcasts it does not update.
How to create episode-specific images
I just use the same template in Canva and then swap out the images and the name of the guest.
In anchor.fm it gives me the option to add episode specific images. I simply upload it there and schedule my episode.
How to decide which strategy to use
When it comes to livestreams I have used personalized images for a while like in this example from “Reel Talk: The Customer Insights Show.”
It’s just gives each episode a personal feel, which I think is good because each episode even though it’s part of a podcast does have a personal topic and guest.
Even though some podcast networks don’t show it I still think it’s a worthwhile strategy. And of course if you are following the Going Live podcast model you can use the same art on your livestreams and your podcast.