social media how to Are you thinking of starting a podcast?

Have you considered using Google Hangouts On Air?

Your podcasts don’t have to stop with basic audio files. Google Hangouts On Air offer ways to create audio, video and better SEO.

In this article you’ll discover how to create more dynamic podcasts using the built-in features of Google Hangouts On Air.

Why Podcasts With Google Hangouts On Air?

Traditionally, interview-based podcasts are done via Skype using either eCamm’s Skype Call Recorder on a Mac or Pamela for Skype on a PC. Both are stable programs with good sound quality and the option to record video. These tools work just fine, but what if you could up your game?

shutterstock podcast image 200551514

Aviary Photo Editor provides a number of useful tools to edit your photos. Image source: Shutterstock.

Google Hangouts On Air are a progressive form of content marketing. They’re live events hosted on Google+ that simultaneously stream to and record on YouTube.

The feature that separates Hangouts On Air from a pre-recorded Skype call is the live audience (but the video option and enhanced SEO opportunities don’t hurt either). When I started using Google Hangouts On Air for my podcasts, I had a 108% increase in month-to-month downloads (not counting YouTube views).

Conducting a live online interview brings a new element to your podcasts—you have people watching, commenting and asking questions in real time. The result is a much more valuable and interesting experience for your audience.

#1: Set Up and Host a Google Hangout On Air

To use Google Hangouts On Air, you have to connect a Google+ account with the YouTube channel where the video will live. Go to your YouTube account and click the Settings menu and choose Connect to Google+.

The video below has full instructions for connecting Google+ and YouTube.

To create a new Google Hangout On Air, go to your Google+ home screen, click the menu drop-down and choose Hangouts.

find hangouts on air

Getting started with a new Hangout On Air is easy.

On the Hangouts page, scroll down and click the Start a Hangout On Air button.

clicking on hangouts on air

Look for the Hangouts On Air box.

In the pop-up, give your Hangout On Air a title and description, choose whether to start the Hangout now or schedule it for later and choose your audience.

An important note about choosing your audience: Unless you only want a select group of people to be able to attend your Hangout On Air, always add Public to the audience box.

For the purposes of this article, I’m going to assume you chose to start a Hangout On Air now and can see the Hangout On Air capture screen. You should see yourself and any guests you’ve invited on the show.

At this point you are NOT recording. To begin recording, click the Start Broadcast button, then click Go Live.

The On Air sign will light up yellow, but it may take a few seconds. You’re now recording and anyone watching your show can see and hear you.

starting and stoping your hangouts on air

When your Hangout On Air is live, go ahead and start your interview.

To end your Hangout On Air and stop recording, click the Stop Broadcast button. Give the system a few seconds, and then verify that the On Air sign is turned off and reads Off Air. When you see that, you’re off the air and the audience can no longer see you.

#2: Download and Export the MP4 File

During your Hangout On Air, YouTube recorded your whole show. To see and download it, log into your YouTube account and click Video Manager to see a list of all of your YouTube videos. Click Menu next to the video thumbnail and choose Download MP4.

download your hangouts on air mp4

Download the YouTube MP4 of your Hangout On Air.

You may not see your Hangout On Air in your YouTube list right away. Depending on the overall number of videos being uploaded to YouTube, it can take up to half an hour for your Hangout On Air video to show up.

YouTube recorded your Hangout On Air as an MP4, but you need to export it and save it as an MP3 file for your podcast. Luckily that’s pretty easy—you just need an audio editing tool. I use Audacity to create my final podcast. It’s free, easy to use and has versions for both Mac and PC.

When you open your MP4 file in Audacity, it automatically strips out the Hangout On Air video and leaves you with just the audio file. At this point you can add your bumpers and any introductory audio you’ve recorded.

Introductory audio is optional, but podcast best practices suggest creating some sort of voiceover introduction that includes:

  • The podcast title
  • Your name and your guest’s name
  • A teaser about the show’s content
  • Any calls to action
  • The episode number, title and date recorded
  • Your sponsor’s name (if you have one)

A bumper is the small bit of music at the beginning and end of your podcast that signals a transition. For example, you may want to sandwich your bumper between your introductory audio and the main content of your podcast.

The bumper music you choose plays a large role in branding your podcast, so it’s worth taking the time to find something that reflects the tone of your show. A good resource for royalty-free music is AudioJungle.

When everything is ready, save it as an MP3 file, upload it to your host and distribute it to all major podcast directories.

#3: Share Video and Podcast Show Notes in a Blog Post

Here’s where you tie your podcast back your Google Hangout On Air. Because YouTube recorded your event, you can embed the video version of your Hangout On Air in a blog post and include show notes.

Including the video and show notes on your blog gives your audience another option for finding and consuming your content. The purpose of show notes is to give your podcast listeners a place to find the resources you mentioned during an episode.

If you’re using WordPress, download the Yoast Video SEO Plugin so you can include Google authorship, as well as tag your post as a rich media source. Both help your show notes show up higher in search results pages.

Where to Go From Here

There’s definitely work involved in converting your Google Hangouts On Air to a podcast episode, but the reward is a much more dynamic show.

Here’s the best part: Very few people are converting their Google Hangouts On Air into podcasts, let alone taking advantage of the additional resource options. The market is wide open. Now’s your chance to make your mark and grow your audience.

What do you think? Have you used Google Hangouts On Air to create a podcast? Do you have additional tools and resources to recommend? Share your comments below.

Podcast Icon Metallic Internet Button photo from Shutterstock.
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  • ChristineDMcKinnis


  • This is an excellent idea… one I’ve been doing for clients for some time. They do the hangout (their strength) and I take the audio, edit, add intro and outro, optimize the sound, and BOOM – there’s the podcast. I even upload to their media server for them. I’m seeing great results for my clients – an excellent idea for repurposing content. Thanks for the article Ryan!

  • OMG Ryan, I am doing this exactly for Adventures in Visibility Hangout show and am just now launching the podcast piece. I was planning to write this post, or at least a close approximation. Thanks for doing the heaving lifting. Nice job!

  • @blogsquad:disqus haha, my pleasure. Hangouts and podcasts go so well together.

  • @carey_green:disqus that’s great. I’m glad you had some case studies to support the process.

  • Indeed they do and I’m a huge advocate for repurposing content so it’s the perfect combo.

  • BTW @ryanhanley:disqus, Thanks for the tip on using Audacity to strip the audio. I’ve been using Camtasia to separate the audio from video. Didn’t realize I could use audacity.

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  • Thanks so much for this guide! I am having some challenges getting Audacity to open my MP4. Is there a special trick? Thanks so much!

  • This was fantastic Ryan, I do a weekly Podcast and had a guest suggest that we might do a “google hangout”. I thought that if I did that I couldn’t use it as a Podcast – but this article has enlightened me. Thanks for the great info!

  • Lisa Kaslyn

    Hi Ryan, I’ve just started using Google On Air Hangouts, but have had mixed success. For some reason, folks that I’m to interview don’t get the invitation to join the hangout. It doesn’t land in their email or on G+ notifications. This just happened this morning. Can you give a guess what I may be doing wrong? I did the same thing last week and it worked.

  • Candice

    Once I start my broadcast, I often invite a guest or two. Do my guests need Google+ accounts/gmails or can I also invite guests with any email address? So far they’ve all had a gmail… but there are ones that I’m planning on that don’t. Love your articles! Thank you.

  • kammstheace

    Whoa. This write-up is so clutch. Thanks for this. I got this idea when Google Hangouts first became a thing and was finally researching if this was a viable option when I stumbled upon this. Thanks again!

  • Ok we’re going to have to simplify this for me. Say I start a hangout, and record via youtube, how do I get my guests on there? Do they need to have hangouts as well? Or can I just call them and add them to the hangout? I don’t care about video or having any of them or me on video. Thanks guys n gals

  • Brilliant. I was getting exhausted trying to figure out how I could do video as well as audio and you’ve given me a nice roadmap. Thanks so much for this. Not only have you done a great job educating us all on this but you’ve done a great job modeling how to do a how-to post.

  • Is there anyway to see who attended your hang out after the hangout is over?

  • I have been converting Google Hangouts to Podcasts for the past few months and I love how I get YouTube exposure, G+ posts and a Podcast all in one. The audio needs a bit more editing since we seem to be a lot looser face-to-face, but it is worth it!

  • BRAVO…we were looking for a work around BlogTalk

  • If you go live,will the members still be able to disable the camera and just use voice?
    Actually using for a podcast to upload to our website.Not ready to do video as of yet.

  • Whoa this is gold. I have been looking for a solution for a podcast for sometime now and this is just perfect, no hardware required up front. Less technical and does a great job on repurposing your video content and boost your Search. Thanks for the headsup. Am starting tomorrow with my first attempt. This is so refreshing.

  • Alison Buehler

    This is very practical for nonprofits. The Homestead Education Center thanks you for the work you saved the little guys!

  • Larry Launstein Jr

    How can one take a Google+ Hangouts podcast and put it into iTunes and a service for Android devices?

  • Michelle Nunez

    Why do I need to export my Hangout On Air (MP4) to a MP3 file? I want to upload my podcast on Itunes and I understand they accept MP4 format.