Putting out helpful, engaging, and informative content is a great way to build authority in your field, and drive traffic to your site. The problem is, where do you start? Blogs and podcasts are two of the big options, but which one’s best for you?
There are many ways to publish content online. In this article we’re going to look at blogging vs podcasting, and help you make a decision on which one might best suit your needs.
Why Choose Blogging?
The most popular choice for creating and putting out content is to start a blog, and it’s not hard to see why.
To start a blog, you just need access to the internet, and the ability to type. Publishing a blog post is no harder than sending a tweet, or updating your Facebook status. This sets the entry barrier low, and makes it an accessible arena to enter.
Podcasting Barriers to Entry
Podcasting on the other hand, though it has become far easier in recent years, does need a bit more from you. You need to record audio before publishing it online where it’s available for subscription and downloading. This means you need both a recorder, and a media host to upload your episodes to.
Technology is making things easier, though. Nowadays, most people have smartphones with decent voice recorders included. It’s very easy to record an episode and upload it to a free account on somewhere like Soundcloud. This would make for a pretty limited podcast series, but it is doable. The fact remains, though, that there are still a few more hurdles than simply writing and publishing a blog post.
For most people, the thought of typing, rather than talking into a microphone seems a lot easier, and less intimidating. This is understandable as the majority of us have probably typed or written constantly since we were at school. This makes it far more familiar to us than recording our voice.
Blogging and Search Rankings
Searchability can be a plus when it comes to blogging. Blog posts are made up of text, which is much more discoverable than audio through internet search engines like Google. This means that you might have more chance of potential listeners stumbling upon your content as they look for similar articles or information. At the moment, audio itself cannot be searched for. Except through written titles, descriptions, and shownotes.
From an end-user perspective, the written content of a blog post will usually be handier for someone urgently seeking the answer to a question, or a solution to a problem. Articles can be quickly scanned for the key content or takeaway in a few seconds. Whereas if the same info is contained in a 25-35 minute podcast episode it’s going to take a bit longer.
Why Choose Podcasting?
Initially, it might well feel a lot easier and less intimidating to type a blog post than it would to record a podcast. Like anything else though, podcasting becomes easier with every recording.
Still, to motivate you to do something outside of your comfort zone, there needs to be a big incentive. With podcasting, there are many.
Reaching a Captive Audience
For starters, you can reach your audience almost anywhere, at any time. The first reason for this is that most people have access to a smartphone now. This means they can be subscribe and listen to your show with a couple of clicks. Secondly, and this is surprisingly powerful – they need only their ears to hear what it is you’re saying.
To explain, you won’t find many people reading blog posts whilst driving the car, cycling, jogging, mowing the lawn, or taking a shower. None of this is an obstacle when it comes to listening to a podcast, however. In fact, these conditions actually make people hungry for your content. Podcast listeners want to have someone with them when they’re travelling somewhere, working out, or doing a menial task. They’re captive, they’re trapped in an environment where they can’t consume visual material. In those cases, on-demand audio is perfect.
Because people are often overloaded with information nowadays, attention spans seem to be getting shorter. When someone reads a blog post there’s all sorts of other articles and pages begging for their attention. From distracting sidebars to newsfeed videos, it’s actually pretty hard to finish reading a blog post without clicking through to something else.
Podcast listeners want to have someone with them when they’re travelling somewhere, working out, or doing a menial task.
With podcasting, people are far less likely to float from show to show without finishing anything. There are no visual distractions, offered by other pieces of content requesting to be clicked. Plus, usually the listener is physically preoccupied with some other task. That means they are unlikely to feel the need to stop and change the podcast they’re playing.
One of the most powerful aspect of podcasting is it’s capacity to connect with people. This is because speech is a very intimate medium.
When you read text you often can’t truly judge the writer’s tone of voice, how sincere they sound, or whether they are joking, happy, sad, or angry. When you listen to a podcast episode you hear every single word that person says. After listening to just a handful of episodes, you start to feel like you know that person.
If you keep coming back to listen to someone’s podcast they are obviously offering you something of value. In this situation, do you think you’d like that person? Do you think you’d trust them? Would you be more likely to want to do business with them? It’s more than likely.
Podcasting: Lower Competition
Another reason you might want to choose podcasting is the level of competition. A search for the number of blogs online, at the time of writing, will reveal figures ranging between 155 and 160 million. Compare that to podcasting and the figures range between 180,000 and 250,000.
Even if these figures are rough estimates, it’s a whole lot harder to be the top blogger in your field than it is to become the top podcaster.
Podcasts and Search Rankings
Finally, I mentioned that blog posts are more discoverable than audio in an internet search. Whilst this is true, podcast episodes are usually complimented by show notes. This means that they each come with their own blog post.
Show notes can range from simple bullet points, up to 700 or 800 word summaries on the podcast episode content. Some podcasters even have their entire episode transcribed, which can run to 1000s of words. Whichever route you choose here as a podcaster is entirely up to you, but there are many ways to ensure your podcasts hit the search rankings.
Blogging Vs Podcasting: What’s Right For You?
Ultimately, there is no clear “better” choice between blogging and podcasting.
Both have their place in the world of content creation and it really comes down to your own aims, your business objectives, and the needs of your audience. As I’ve already mentioned, podcast shownotes are essentially blog posts. There’s no reason why you can’t combine both, and reap the benefits of both mediums.
You could also run a separate blog and podcast series. But time is a factor here, so ask yourself am I better running two average streams of content, or one good one which combines both?
So, our final answer, really, is: do both in combination!
But, if you think you really do only have time for one, then ask yourself these questions.
Weigh up how much time you can set aside each week for content creation. Is this a regular time each week or can it vary? Are you usually in the same place, or are you on the move a lot? If it’s a case of grabbing a few hours on a train to write a blog post, for example, then blogging might be the better option. Likewise, if you’re low on budget or time then podcasting could seem like a big commitment as this stage. Check out our articles on how much time it takes to podcast, and how much it costs to run a podcast series for more information. That should ensure you’re starting from an informed point of view.
If you decide that you’d like to really build a deep and lasting relationship with your audience over time, then it’s worth considering the podcasting route.
Pat Flynn, who is one of the most successful bloggers on the web recently said that his podcast:
“has enabled me to build a stronger relationship with my audience – much stronger than I could ever do with just my blog alone.”
But regardless of what route you choose in the blogging vs podcasting debate, as long as you’re creating helpful, entertaining content, solving problems, and answering questions, then you’ll be on the right track!
A Question for You
- What’s your favourite blog and favourite podcast?
Think about who created them, what they are about, and what is it about them that you like so much. It would be interesting to find out if they were published by the same person, or if they were both on wildly differing topics. Let me know in the comments below!