One of the most common questions I hear about podcast artwork, is should your photo be on the cover? The answer is it depends.

Before deciding what goes on your podcast cover artwork, you first need to know the purpose of said artwork. The primary purpose of a show's cover artwork is to attract listeners who are unfamiliar with your show. The more attractive and more appealing your cover is, the better your chance someone will try your show when they see it. I call that your podcast's curb appeal.

So to answer the question regarding your photo, you must decide if having your picture on your podcast artwork increases your podcast's curb appeal and makes people more likely to press play. But still, there's more to it than that.

When working with my podcast cover artwork clients, I ask them these two questions.

Questions 1) Are you recognized in your niche?

Does having your photo on your podcast cover artwork make it a selling feature? Will people see your face and think, “I know who that is. I want to hear what they have to say.” To figure that out, ask yourself these questions.

  • Does your background make you a recognizable figure in your niche?
  • Have you written a book on the topic?
  • Have you presented at any niche related conferences?
  • Have you been asked to appear on other podcasts, radio or television shows as an expert in your field?
  • Do you get quoted often by other media outlets?
  • Do you have any celebrity status?

If you answer yes to any of these questions, then your photo may be a great selling feature for your show. If someone familiar with your niche is scrolling through a list of podcasts and recognizes your face, and it entices them to listen to your show, then your face did its job as a selling feature.

Examples of Podcast Cover Artwork of people known in their niche.

Examples of Podcast Cover Artwork of people known in their niche.

Question 2) Are you building a personal brand for yourself?

If your reason for starting a podcast is to build and grow your personal brand, then you may want to consider using your photo on your podcast artwork.

Coaches, teachers, trainers and public speakers are perfect examples of people trying to build a personal brand.

If your goal is to one day:

  • Write a book on your niche.
  • Talk on stage at a niche related event.
  • Appear on other podcasts, radio and television shows as an authority in your field.
  • Become known as an expert in your space.
  • Sell a course related to your niche.
  • Start a membership community in your niche.

If any of these are your goals, then you are trying to build a personal brand. And a significant part of that personal brand is your image. Having your photo on your podcast cover artwork is a great way to introduce yourself to the masses in your niche.

Examples of Podcast Cover Artwork of people building a personal brand.

Examples of podcast cover artwork of people building a personal brand

If you answer yes to questions 1 or 2 above, then you may want to consider using your photo on your cover art. It's a perfect opportunity for people to get to know who you are and connect with you on a more personal level.

People in my niche know me. Do I need my photo on my Podcast cover artwork?

No, of course not. There are no rules leaning one way or the other regarding your podcast cover and the use of a photo. Many celebrities and very successful podcasters don't have their picture on their cover, and many marginally successful ones do.

What it comes down to is how comfortable you are with your image, and how you feel about putting your photo out there for the world to see. After all, once someone listens and becomes engaged with your show, your cover artwork no longer has to sell them on it.

Examples of celebrities without a photo on their podcast cover art.

Examples of celebrities without a photo on their podcast cover art.

Can there be drawbacks to using your photo on your podcast cover artwork?

You've heard the saying “a face for radio.” Unfortunately, we live in a judgemental society, and some people get turned off by unattractive people. It's sad but true. If you're uncomfortable putting your photo on your cover artwork, then choose something different. There's nothing wrong with not using your photo.

But even if you're okay with your image, there are some cases where you may want to avoid using your photo on your podcast cover artwork.

In some instances, attractive people may find their photo deters potential listeners. Your ideal target audience might be turned away by your image if it doesn't conform to what they are expecting from your podcast.

For example, a weight loss podcast with a photo of an extremely fit person on the cover may not be relatable to an obese person looking to get their weight under control. Chiselled abs and bulging muscles are too unrealistic for someone in their condition and may cause them to look for a different podcast with a more relatable host.

A financial podcast with a teenager on the cover might not go over well with some older audiences. Unless the podcast is specifically targetted to teenage investors, the host may want to use something other than their photo on their artwork.

If you can think of any reason why your photo may deter potential listeners, then perhaps you should avoid podcast cover artwork with your picture on it.

There is no right answer.

There are no right or wrong answers when it comes to your photo on your podcast cover artwork. Some experts say you should, while other experts say you shouldn't. It all comes down to how comfortable you are with your image and whether or not you mind hundreds or possibly thousands of people seeing you.

*Featured photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Do you need help with your podcast cover artwork?
Podcast Branding offers professionally designed cover art to help your show stand out.

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We're ready to create the perfect visual identity for your podcast. But if you still have questions regarding our branding services, please don't hesitate to contact us and we'll do our best to answer them for you.

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