If there has been one media format that has surprised many media analysts with its rise over the last number of years, it’s podcasting.
Despite the fact that we live in an era dominated by visual media – whether it is social media or video streaming – audio forms have not been displaced.
In fact, despite predictions that the future would be video, podcasts have managed to exceed all industry expectations. Listener figures are up across the board, and it seems like there is no immediate end in sight for this expansion.
With this boom in audience numbers, commercialisation has also followed – and according to one report put out by IAB Pricewaterhouse Coopers, the estimated ad spend for the podcast industry was $800m in 2020 and looks set to grow to $1.7bn by 2024.
This is a trend that marketers have been keenly aware of. As evidence of this, while one 2015 survey indicated that 10% of marketers would look to advertise in a podcast within the next six months, this has grown to 37% of those surveyed in 2020.
For marketing professionals, podcasts are an excellent platform to advertise from. The opportunity to insert a dedicated ad break in the middle of podcast read out by the podcast host is an excellent way of connecting with audiences.
Once again, this seems to be evidenced by survey data. According to the 2020 ‘Super Listeners’ survey put out by Edison Research, Podcast One and Ad Results Media, 49% of the group of respondents surveyed responded positively to in-podcast advertising.
Institutional money is also clearly following this trend. The recent acquisition by Spotify of a podcast advertising platform for over $230m, as well as podcasting talent such as Joe Rogan for a deal worth reportedly worth over $100m, shows how seriously institutional players are taking this new medium.
With all that said, podcasts are clearly an effective platform to advertise from. A question remains, however, as to how well podcasts as a unique media form work with other media forms relied on in content marketing. Are they complementary, or do they clash? Let’s dive into this topic!
Blogs vs podcasts: what’s the difference?
Content marketers have come to rely on blogging as it is a versatile form of media that can be used to promote or market content in a variety of ways. For example, content marketing blogs might take the form of an in-depth review of a product, or, alternatively, it might be a ‘how to’ guide on a certain topic.
It is also wonderfully low tech and does not require anything more than basic word processing software to get into draft form. Regardless of whether you are posting a blog on a social media platform, a dedicated website, or some other publishing platform, the tools you need to actually draft the blog post are the same.
Podcasts are similarly flexible, with the only limit being the marketer’s imagination. However, unlike blog posts, they are a lot higher tech and have quite a high barrier to entry in terms of producing them. Putting out decent-quality podcasts – whether you are recording a full episode or a short advertisement – require at least some basic training to produce. It can also be relatively expensive to acquire the correct equipment that will enable you to record something with decent sound.
They can also be quite time consuming to produce. While a blog post can be created in a matter of minutes – depending on the speed of the writer – recording and producing audio can take significantly longer.
They also tend to use quite different skillsets. You will often find that while a particular individual might perform very strongly when it comes to public speaking and recording audio, they struggle to write. Performing and recording audio can be quite daunting for many individuals.
Blogs, podcasts and search rankings
Another important aspect of the ‘blog vs. podcast’ debate for content marketers is how well each media form performs when it comes to search engine rankings.
As we have covered in other blogs, mastering the Google search engine rankings is one of the most important and difficult tasks that a content marketer faces today. In the effort to convert clicks into sales – or any other form of audience engagement – ranking highly in listings of search engine results is essential.
We have also seen that SEO – or search engine optimisation – involves ensuring that any content you put out, whether it is an article or a blog post, is written in a way that enables a search engine to more easily rank, categorise and prioritise your content when a user searches for related search terms.
While this is relatively easy to do for a written blog post, it might be a bit trickier to get right with podcasts.
In recent years, however, a number of prominent platform providers such as Google Podcasts and Apple Podcasts have started to transcribe dialogue, as well as using metadata attached to podcast episodes, to help podcasts in the search engine rankings. However, you will need to include the word ‘podcast’ in whatever search term you are using.
Despite this, regular blog posts will still perform better in SEO terms, simply because there is more text to play with. Additionally, from a user’s perspective, if they are looking for a quick answer to something, they are generally more likely to read a short blog post or article than to listen to a podcast.
To perform better in search engine rankings, however, you can combine the two mediums. This might mean, for example, publishing podcasts using blog posts to share links to new episodes. You can use the blog post to draw search engine clicks and pack it full of the content that the SEO algorithms like to see. In this sense, podcasts and blog posts can act complementarily.
Blogs vs podcasts: which has better audience engagement?
In terms of actually engaging with the intended audience, there can often be a big difference between podcasts and blogs. Usually, when an individual listens to a podcast, it is a longer-lasting relationship. There is a huge amount of trust built into this relationship, with the listener having to actively subscribe to get the latest updates. This deepens the relationship between podcast producer and audience member, and is one of the reasons why advertising on podcasts can be so effective.
On the other hand, readers tend to have a more casual relationship with blogs. Readers tend not to check in on blogs that regularly and subscription rates tend to be quite low. The majority of engagement with a blog post comes when a reader has searched for something specifically, which might be their only engagement with the blog. This obviously contrasts with podcasts, where the relationship is longer lasting.
Blogs vs podcasts: which is better for you?
As a content marketer, the choice between media forms is often pitted as a choice between one and the other. There is perhaps good reason for this. After all, as a busy content marketer, your time and resources are limited.
Yet as we have seen above, there is no reason why the relationship between the different forms can’t be complementary. As I hope to have shown, effective content marketing strategies may require you to combine a number of different media forms. In this way, blogs can be used to promote podcasts as a means of delivering a multi-channel content marketing strategy.
With all that said, if you want to connect with one of the Purecontent team to take this discussion a little bit further, feel free to get in contact! The Purecontent team is passionate about delivering compelling content that drives user engagement. Reach out to one of the team today to get started!