It only takes a glance through Google to realize this is quite a tricky topic. Both audio blogs and podcasts are there to provide information on a subject, and this is done with the intent of building the listeners’ interests and knowledge.
So how are they categorized and what makes one an audio blog and one a podcast? Which is more widely used? Do they have similarities? Are there times when one would be more appropriate to use than the other? Let’s take a look.
Audio blogs and podcasts can be defined by their length. Audio bloggers produce short pieces whereas podcasts are usually longer. Podcasts are typically released as episodes and follow a set structure. Audio blogs are more flexible with the content and have a more ad-hoc publishing schedule.
When you search for information regarding audio blogs and podcasts, the two terms are often used interchangeably and clumped together as one thing. But there are some differences between the two which we will explore further. We will also look at why it can sometimes be hard to differentiate between the two things.
Defining Audio Blogging and Podcasting
Most of us know what a blog is, the internet is full of them. Most bloggers communicate to their audience via the written word and a blog in audio format is much less popular. This is a shame as they can feel more personal because audio gives the content a voice, an emotion, a personality that may not come through in written text. It can inject life into a topic.
The content of an audio blog can be professional or personal, it really depends on the audience, but they can work for different types of blogs.
Podcasts tend to be produced as a series and the format is usually different with a lot of podcasts featuring guest interviews and news features. Audio blogs on the other hand tend to be more opinion based and very much a verbal performance of the type of content you would usually find in a written blog post.
The Powerful World of Audio
What makes both audio blogging and podcasting so popular? Looking around the world today, there are so many devices that are powered by our voice. All the major tech companies now have some sort of voice technology including Amazon’s Echo, Google’s Home, Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana.
These technologies power a wide array of devices in the home and we’re all becoming used to shouting instructions at them to get back the information we need to go about our daily lives.
Put simply, it is convenient. We are living in modern times where we try to make things easier and use technology to our advantage. We think nothing of asking Alexa if it will rain today while planning our day. Or asking Siri to plan a quicker route to work.
It is no different when it comes to audio consumption. Reading text online requires us to be on a website for the entirety of the article. Audio on the other hand allows us to listen to it in the background – you don’t need to be glued to a screen, and you can browse the internet, answer emails or even walk the dog or workout at the same time.
The reality is that we now live in a fast-paced world and audio gives people the opportunity to consume content whilst doing other things.
Audio may also be chosen over the written word for other reasons – think about those who struggle with reading such as dyslexic people, or visually impaired people. Podcasts tend to be popular among the younger generation and some people simply take more in when they listen rather than read.
Which is Right for your Audience?
So, we’ve now established the differences between audio blogs and podcasts but how do we know which medium to use to deliver the maximum amount of value to your audience? Does it matter? Are there advantages or disadvantages to either? Earlier we touched on the fact that podcasts tend to be more structured and planned out in a set way. Because of the predictable schedule, podcasts are perhaps better suited for a more specialized subject where future episodes can be planned well in advance.
Audio blogging from this perspective perhaps offers more flexibility and the scope for more creativity.
If you plan to have a more relaxed publishing schedule and you want to deliver shorter snippets of information to your audience as and when needed, the audio blog format might be a bitter fit.
Did you Know? Currently, there are 86 million podcast listeners in the US which is around 26% of the population.
What Skills are Required?
Whether you decide to go down the route of podcasting or audio blogging there are some common skills across both that you’ll need to master if you want to be successful.
- The Ability to Engage Your Audience. Without building rapport, you will struggle to keep people interested.
- Confidence. You need to sound self-assured and believe in the topic you’re covering.
- Some Technical Knowledge. To add audio to blogs or record podcasts you will need a certain amount of technical knowledge.
- Marketing. Being aware of how to amplify your message and get those episodes/audio blogs is critical so that people can find them and remember them.
What does it Take to Succeed in Audio Blogging or Podcasting?
Time is a key factor. Preparing, recording, and editing an audio blog or podcast is very time consuming, especially if your podcasts are very frequent. However, it will get quicker with the more experience you gain.
It can often depend on the audience you want to attract as to how much interaction your content will receive. It also depends on how much time you spend marketing your content so that it is heard. Again, this can be time-consuming but once you gain an audience, you can build on this. It’s important to keep your listeners wanting more and to keep your episodes fresh.
You need to be determined and have a strong back bone, ready to take criticism on the chin. You might put hours into this at the beginning with very little to show for it, but once your audience builds, you will start seeing the benefits.
To succeed as a podcaster or an audio blogger, you need to wear many hats. As well as the time commitment mentioned above, there’s also the technical side of things to learn and then there’s the huge topic of branding and marketing. All of these are hugely valuable skills though and your podcast or blog is a great vehicle to help you learn and develop.
Which is More Popular?
This is a tricky one to answer because we already know that podcasts and audio blogs are often referred to interchangeably. When you look for information about audio blogging, podcasting is usually mentioned within the article. The two terms do seem to have blended over time to become more generally known as podcasts.
The number of podcasts is predicted to grow as is the listener base so with this in mind, if we had to hang our hat on it, adopting the podcast format seems to make the most sense. Ultimately though, do what is best for your audience as that’s the thing that will help to grow your brand and/or business.