Blogging vs Podcasting: Which is Right for You?
There’s no shortage of ways to create content online. Yet when it comes to content marketing, blogs and podcasts seem to be the major players.
In an ideal world, you can spend all your time writing blog posts and recording podcast episodes. Unless you’re super-human, there’s simply not enough time in a week—let alone a month—to make both happen.
So, which do you choose? Blogging or podcasting?
Even after blogging for almost ten years at KLWightman.com, I did consider shifting into podcasting. Then I remembered how much I hate hearing the sound of my pre-recorded voice—why can’t I just sound the way I do in my head?
But enough about me. Blogging vs podcasting—which is right for you? Let’s explore the pros and cons of blogging and podcasting to help you decide if you should be a blogger or a podcaster.
Blogging vs Podcasting: Blogs Defined
New to blogs? Before we proceed with the debate of blogging vs podcasting, let’s first define what is a blog.
A blog is a website that maintains an ongoing chronicle of information through a series of blog posts. Blogs—an abbreviation for weblogs—stick to a specific topic or theme that’s explored through the written word, often in the stylings of a personal journal or a digital article. Blog posts often link to other websites and support online commentary.
Think of blogging as an online publication, be it run by a business or by a person. But unlike most online newspapers and commercial publication sites, blogs are more times than not available to readers for free.
- It’s Time Efficient: According to Orbit Media, the average blog post takes roughly 4 hours to write. You can write, edit and schedule (or publish) your blog post without losing your whole day to complete the task.
- It’s Affordable: No special hardware required to get a blog up and running. You only need a blog platform and website connection to be a blogger. While upgraded options are available for advanced blogging features, you can run their blog without spending a penny.
- It’s Easy: Content management systems for blogs are straightforward and user friendly. Simply type your words, drag/drop some images and copy/paste your video embed codes. Oh, and tap that PUBLISH button.
- It’s Optimizable: Across Google and Bing SEO, search algorithms mostly focus on text-based criteria for your search results ranking. Since blog posts are filled with lots of words, you have ample opportunity to improve your SEO—even on free blogs.
- It’s Skimmable: Your readers don’t read a blog post like they do a hard-bound book. Instead, they skim your content in search for the answers they need. This means your blog followers have a more enjoyable experience because they can control how they consume your content.
- It Requires Writing: If you’re a writer at heart, then this won’t be a drawback for you. But if you’re a content creator that dreads any assignment with longform words, then blogging won’t be a fun or rewarding experience for you.
- It Requires Time–Consuming Promotion: Generating new blog post ideas, researching target keywords, interacting with other influencers, promoting your blog on social media—being a blogger means also being a full-time marketer.
- It Requires Continuous Manual Review: As years pass, external links break, quoted stats change and technical glitches manifest. Your blog needs regular assessment to ensure that each blog post is an accurate and reliable source of content.
- It Requires a Plan: Blog posts must adhere to a regular publishing schedule to gain a following. That means having a plan on what to write and a plan on how to still publish even when your schedule’s busy or you’re sick. For all you pantsers out there, this level of organization could weigh too heavily on your creative process.
Blogging vs Podcasting: Podcasts Defined
Not familiar with podcasts? Before we explore the other side of the blogging vs podcasting debate, let’s first define what is a podcast.
A podcast is a digital audio program, similar to the stylings of Talk Radio. Instead of tuning in to the radio, listeners can download and play it whenever and on whichever preferred smart device. Like television shows, a podcast centers around an established topic or theme that’s explored across every episode available as a downloadable audio file.
Think of podcasting as a sound-only approach to subscription-based Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video. But unlike most online media streaming platforms, podcasts are more times than not available to listeners for free.
- It’s Personal: As a podcaster, you can speak directly to your listener. This storytelling approach makes it more fun to create the content and more enticing for your audience to keep listening.
- It’s Popular: Podcasts are rapidly gaining in popularity, with 155 million podcast listeners in America alone. And with dozens of platforms acting as repositories for podcast discovery, your listeners can discover your podcast across a variety of apps.
- It’s Collaborative: No need to reference a study or quote someone—invite them on your podcast episode! Guest speakers are common in podcasting and it gives your listeners instant access to first-party sources, from well-established professionals to famous influencers and celebrities.
- It’s Flexible: Podcasts aren’t as dependent on a consistent delivery schedule in order to gain a following. You can create as many episodes as you want whenever it’s convenient for you.
- It’s Expensive: The right podcasting equipment doesn’t come cheap. And that doesn’t include recording software, hosting services and cover art design.
- It’s Time-Intensive: An hour-long podcast isn’t created in an hour. With pre-production, editing and distribution, one episode means long hours—sometimes days—to produce.
- It’s Limited on SEO: You can optimize your titles and transcribe your audio files, but search bots won’t crawl your podcast episodes. You can get around this by adding additional content within the show notes of every podcast episode, but this can be tedious to maintain.
- It’s Not Actionable: Podcasts are considered a passive medium, making it difficult for marketers to create direct call-to-actions. While you can promote products or request listeners to take certain actions, it’s difficult to measure whether sales and responses are directly due to the podcast episode (unless a specific CTA is isolated within one episode).
Blogging vs Podcasting: Which is Right for You?
That’s something only you can decide. After all, no one knows you and your target audience better than you—right?
First, dig deeper on defining your core reader or listener. If you don’t know who that is, create a buyer persona as if you were selling them to read or listen to your blog so that you understand who they are, what they want and how they go about retrieving the answers they need. This exercise should unveil whether blogging vs podcasting is the right way to reach your target audience.
Next, dig deeper on defining who you are as a content creator. Are you more of a verbal storyteller or witty wordsmith? Are you drawn more to isolated creativity or collaborative creation? Which list of cons seems less of a pain? If you don’t enjoy the medium you create, chances are neither will your potential readers or listeners.
In my particular case, podcasting ALSO includes writing. My podcasts are short one-minute blurbs, and I find that they sound better if I write them out beforehand, rather than stumbling for words as I improvise. But this is a special case – a longer podcast, especially one with a guest, can obviously be more free-form.