Blog vs Podcast: Which Is Best for Business Marketing?
Business owners looking to establish their online presence have many tough decisions to make when it comes to marketing. Blogs and podcasts appear to be duking it out in a bid to become the most prominent marketing method.
Each channel has its merits, and walks a similar line in terms of boosting discoverability, gaining authority, and building trust. Yet both involve additional and very different moving parts that make them uniquely appealing.
To understand which one will suit a business best firmly rests on a few factors: ROI, time, budget, skill set, type of business, audience demand and work ethics.
So, to blog or to podcast? That is the question.
Which Content Marketing Method: Blog or Podcast?
Company blogs are well-established inbound marketing channels, and historically have a proven high success rate for most businesses. However, business podcasts are the latest, bright, shiny up-and-comers that are creating exciting waves of content opportunities within any marketing department.
Both can deliver fantastic results when used strategically and integrated into a well-thought-out strategy. On the surface, the scales don't appear to tip in favor of either approach. However, there are a few things to consider before pouring all your energy into one basket.
Blogging, Podcasting, Search Rankings, and Discoverability
Even if you have a minor understanding of SEO, you'll know that blog posts have a much higher advantage of discoverability over podcasts. This is because search engines love unique and relevant written content.
For the most part, blog posts are made up of text, making it easier for search engines to crawl and rank them, which increases search result visibility.
However, it appears that Google is working towards making indexing podcast audio a reality.
Naturally, written text is much faster to load, find, and share than audio. For years, podcasters have had to rely on show notes and transcripts to help index their podcast content and increase their discoverability.
But, since 2019, Google Podcasts have been refining their algorithms and technology to make it possible to search episodes. They do this by automatically transcribing episodes and using this text as metadata.
Amazing? Yes. Convenient? Not so much.
While this technology is only going to get better, for now podcasters shouldn't rely solely on Google's clunky transcription feature to take care of their podcast SEO strategy.
Listening to a podcast takes time, work, and commitment. Nine times out of ten, consumers would much rather read a blog post than listen to an entire podcast episode. If you're not intentionally seeking out audio content, you'll probably prefer skimming a blog post.
Understand Your Skills and Strengths
There is a reasonably low entry barrier to creating a podcast. After all, the basic notion is simple; you sit down, record, and upload your audio. But there's a quick way to do something, and then there's a professional way to do something. A solid, polished podcast takes time, planning, technical know-how, and strategy.
Let's face it, recording a podcast can be intimidating. Just the thought of setting up and using all that technology can be a novice's personal "white whale." That's why so many content marketing strategies focus on written content instead.
As a standard, most teams have dedicated content writers who understand reader engagement and SEO, but often lack the hard skills required for podcasting.
So, you want to commit to a podcast? Then, you need to ask yourself, do you or your team have the relevant skills to do so? If not, do you have the time and space to learn the podcasting basics? Do you have the budget to bring in a podcast production service to help refine the process?
We all have blind spots in our skill sets. If you're interested in creating a business podcast, identifying where your strengths and weaknesses lie is essential.
Podcasts are essentially content marketing in audio form. While podcasting isn't likely to be a direct revenue driver, it does offer tangible marketing benefits to help grow your business.
Starting a business podcast might be the answer for any brand looking to implement another strategy to drive traffic to their website, build brand authority, or form close relationships with audiences.
The bottom line is, if you can identify your target listener group and understand how your content can solve real problems for them, then you're able to start a podcast that will get traction.
Connection and Building Relationships
When an audience hears a host speak about their business or industry, their natural inclination is to connect, bond, and react. That's because humans are genetically wired that way.
Merely hearing a familiar voice is known to reduce our blood cortisol levels (our body's stress markers) and heighten the release of oxytocin (our feel-good hormone associated with bonding.) That doesn't happen by simply reading content on a web page.
Consumers are ousting faceless brands and actively buying into people rather than products. From an organic lead's perspective, conversion rates are higher when your audience feels like they know and trust you.
By adding that human touch to your business' voice, you help form an intellectual and emotional intimacy that resonates beyond just quality content. Listeners get a better idea of your values and an insight into the running of the business.
Podcasts help businesses break away from becoming yet another indistinctive brand, and instead put them in a position to feel more like a familiar entity and—dare we say—friend.
Build Authority and Credibility
Times have certainly changed. Long gone are the days where college degrees and credentials stamped anyone as the expert. Today, you have to prove what you know if you want to earn any credibility.
Podcasts are an ideal way to do that. By creating a regular podcast filled with information, entertaining voices, innovative ideas, and thought leader-worthy advice, you'll help solidify your authority within your niche.
Build up your reputation and become a reliable figure for your audience to trust and follow. Customers and prospective clients want a company that can show a deep understanding of their niche or product. Podcasting will help you be that voice.
Less Competition, Low Saturation
It's no secret that podcasts have exploded in popularity, and brands across all industries are certainly taking note. But with hundreds of thousands of active podcasts and more than 30 million podcast episodes already available, is there space for your brand?
Podcasts are certainly the new kids on the block. While it may seem like everyone has a new podcast in the mix, the actual number of active shows is pretty low compared to other mediums.
For example, blogging has been part of the online marketing culture for almost 30 years, garnering more than 600 million blogs online today. Compare that to the podcast industry that is roughly 16 years young, and boasts just over 2,000,000.
With numbers like that, you can see there is a lot of scope for growth. You can definitely carve out your own space within this marketing channel.
Brand Awareness and Recognition
If you want your brand to become a household name, creating a well-strategized podcast can get you there. The convenient nature of podcasts means that listeners often tune in while tending to other tasks, such as working out, commuting, walking the dog, and so on.
For podcasters, this is a great opportunity to penetrate a vast audience or target a niche listenership as they go about their daily routines. However, this could seem slightly counterintuitive.
If someone is distracted or passively listening, won't they miss most of what is being said? In part that is true, however, it's not a significant loss. Even if someone is passively listening, your brand will still reach their subconscious, which will only help increase brand recognition and retention.
Podcasts fit beautifully into today's on-the-go lifestyle. It's an ideal way to ensure that your business stays front of mind and within the listener's psyche.
Convenience and Accessibility
Podcasts are unbelievably easy to access and consume. With 88% of Americans owning a smartphone, it's never been easier to consume podcast content in the car or on the go. Unlike reading articles or watching video content, you don't need to be locked into the content—you can listen anywhere at any time.
Once a user subscribes to the host channel or brand, new podcasts are automatically downloaded to the device. So, presenting your brand, service, or story on a podcast is better understood and much easier to engage with than written text.
The Barrier to Entry Is Low
While there is high demand for quality content, the basic entry barriers for any budding podcaster are fairly low. For the most part, all you need is a microphone, headphones, recording device, computer with the right podcast software to edit your show, and internet service.
However, with simplicity comes the issue of quality. Just because you can create a podcast with minimal gear, doesn't necessarily mean it will garner you any listeners. In today's content hungry world, quality speaks volumes—and we're not just talking about the content.
Audio quality will keep listeners tuned in, and the resources you need to produce a high-quality podcast will most likely be found in a more professional setting.
Great Inbound Leads Strategy
A lead is anyone who expresses an interest in your product or service. The goal of any marketing team is to find these leads, grab their attention, and convert as many as possible. According to SemRush, roughly 20% of people have purchased a product or service after hearing about it in a podcast.
This is much higher than other online marketing methods. When spoken about in a podcast format, a business' products and services can be mentioned without sounding branded or too salesy.
Most podcasters don't realize how demographically valuable most podcast listeners are. For example, 34% of listeners earn between $50K and $75K, and 32% make $75K to $100K+.
Say you're targeting those business owners or professionals under 40, then developing a branded podcast is something you absolutely want to pursue.
Podcasting is touted as the "only marketing strategy a business needs" in terms of traffic generation. Predominantly because it feeds into every other promotional channel you may be exploring.
You can spread brand awareness without being too sleazy, while also addressing your target audience in a way that builds trust and product investment.
The knock-on effect from that is your newfound loyal audience will recommend your podcast to others, which generates even more leads. Done right, it can be a win all the way.
Podcasts Promote Company Culture
Podcasts can offer a glimpse into the inner workings of a business. Not only from a product building standpoint, but also your values, what you stand for, your success stories, innovative business strategies, or the high-profile clients you have worked with.
The world is beginning to tire of faceless companies. People want some humanity from brands and are far more willing to buy into people than corporations. Listeners crave authenticity; they want to understand what a business stands for and hold them accountable should they stray. Being open and authentic is just another way to build trust for your business.
Starting a podcast can present any business with a wealth of positives. Not only do they help drive brand awareness and increase lead generation, they also form networks and communities of loyal fans and like-minded entrepreneurs.
They're also cost-effective and reasonably simple to produce. However, it's not all sunshine and roses. Some negatives need to be considered if you want to start a business podcast.
Podcast Tech Can Be Intimidating
Getting comfortable with podcast technology can feel daunting, and the learning curve is steep. Small marketing teams and with tiny budgets can quickly find themselves questioning the ROI as they struggle to master microphone technique.
To create great-sounding content takes time, money, and know-how. That's why so many businesses hire production teams to aid in the process.
Podcasts Take Time to Create
Quality and speedy execution are like oil and water. The same can be said for creating a podcast. You should always strive for a quality show, but if you are strapped for time, the result can suffer.
Maintaining a regular podcast release schedule has to be a priority when you start a podcast. Audiences anticipate a regular publishing schedule. But producing a compelling podcast requires time, as it needs multiple cycles of planning, production, and editing.
Ask yourself, does your marketing team have the time to create a podcast? How often do you want to publish an episode? If it's weekly, that won't be too much of a bind with the right amount of preplanning.
However, if you're striving for multiple weekly episodes or even daily, you may experience a dip in quality. If time is of the essence, consider creating two to three series a year, and focus on quality rather than quantity.
Trying to Track Performance Is Tricky
Tracking your podcast analytics can be tricky, especially for user engagement, conversions, and other significant metrics. That means determing whether your podcast is successful or not can get complicated.
Unlike other forms of online media—like Facebook, where likes and shares can indicate popularity, or even YouTube, where the number of views is your primary trackable metric source—there's no single way to track the exact number of people who listen to your podcast.
A podcast is downloaded from a host server (Transistor, Buzzsprout, etc.) onto a device for your audience to listen to. Once an episode is downloaded, it's difficult to monitor if that user listened to it or not.
Fortunately, metrics like podcast downloads and subscriptions allow podcasters to approximate the size of their audience.
Metrics to keep an eye on are:
The number of downloads per episode
Number of listens per episode
There are certainly a few podcast teething problems, and from a marketing perspective, not having solid data can hinder your budget spend justification. Inevitably, the technology will evolve. But for now, getting exact numbers and a deeper insight into listener behavior needs some improvement.
Podcasting Is a Long Game
Publishing a podcast does not guarantee an immediate audience or leads. So if you're investing time, money, and effort into crafting a podcast for your business, understand that there must be a growth period.
Rarely do we see a podcast explode overnight—there's a gestation period that needs to occur. Of course, the more content you produce and regularly upload, the more likely your listener base will grow. But, that's the key: consistency (Oh, and a robust content strategy, too).
For businesses and individuals alike, creating a blog has become the preferred marketing channel for anyone looking to establish a name for themselves. Because blogging is so scalable and affordable, even the smallest businesses can increase their brand awareness, drive conversions, and easily increase their ROI.
On average, companies with blogs produce 67% more leads per month than those without. This means that blogging holds the advantage for companies looking to expand their reach, and it plays a crucial role in keeping your business competitive.
Blogging Helps Boost Your SEO Efforts
If you want to improve your search engine optimization (SEO), no method is better than regular, targeted blog posts. Blog posts that use multiple on-page SEO tactics can give you more opportunities to rank in search engines and make your site more appealing to visitors.
When used strategically, you're not only providing fresh content for your website, but you can also target keywords that are otherwise missing from your landing pages, and increase natural link building and high-quality backlinks.
Lower Street Tip: One of the factors that Google is looking at while assessing the value of a website is Expertise—Authority—Trustworthiness (EAT). EAT is necessary for all queries, but it is more applicable and vital to certain types of searches.
For example, if your information is inaccurate, untruthful, or deceptive, and could directly impact a reader's happiness, health, safety, or financial stability, Google will reject it. This applies to products and services.
So, if you're looking to start a business blog as part of your marketing strategy, you must create an SEO action plan. Avoid publishing content without a purpose. Prepare in advance, decide what you need to blog about, map out the keywords you want to target, and start creating great content.
Blogs Improve Internal Linking
Unlike inbound linking, internal linking is completely within your control. This means there's absolutely no reason not to use internal links within your blog posts. Internal links can help visitors with site navigation by pointing them to the most important pages on your website.
Also, by linking to previous blog posts and pages on your website, you can improve your SEO success. The more relevant links you have, the better you'll rank, which can only lead to more traffic and potential leads.
Easy to Share
Blogs have a shareability factor that podcasts just don't have. Word of mouth is an integral component when marketing a podcast; some podcasters actually rely on it. But when it comes to telling someone to search for a specific show, the chances they'll do so are slim.
However, blogs can be shared instantly via social media with the click of a button. If people are scrolling through their social channels, they are likely to be doing so in their downtime, making them more inclined to open up an interesting article.
Low Barrier to Entry
Although podcasts have a relatively low barrier to entry, it's even lower with blogs. They are great for business marketing strategies because they are so easy and cost-effective to start.
All you need is a domain name, a WordPress site, or even an account with a free platform like Medium, Vocal, or Blogger, and you can begin creating content.
Once you have those in place, all you need to do is begin piecing together your strategy, start writing and publishing valuable content.
Blogs Build Brand Authority
Do you know what trait the most successful business blogs share? They all answer questions that their customers (or potential customers) frequently ask. A good content strategy is often what separates businesses with weak and strong brand authority.
If your content doesn’t serve your target audience, you’re never going to earn recognition as an authority source.
Brand authority is something earned, not given, and you must perform consistently and reliably to gain it. By dispensing and demonstrating your expertise over time, you can become a go-to resource within your specific industry or niche.
Blogs allow for in-depth explanations and information about your products and industry. That's one of the biggest privileges of the internet. So even as a new or small business, you still have a chance to compete with other companies—and win.
Blogs Can Foster Connections with Influential People
One aspect of branded blogging that few business owners take full advantage of is connecting with important people in their industry. If your blog is crammed with quality articles and presents an established or growing audience, influencers will certainly be happy to collaborate.
Having a well-known industry name on your blog will only boost your credentials. If the influencer then shares your article with their audience, you get to tap into a like-for-like readership that you may have missed.
Finally, you can't dismiss the power of genuine relationships with influential business figures. It's a form of business networking that can often lead to new business opportunities and other meaningful connections.
Blogs are ideal for any business wanting to convey information, solidify its position as a thought leader, and rein in new leads organically. Although blogging can be a great asset to any brand or business, there are many aspects that need to be considered before you start.
Blogging Is a Commitment
You can't just put up a blog, share your thoughts, and captivate an eager audience just by showing up. As the SEO goalposts consistently change, you need unique content backed by strategy and a commitment to promoting the content for your blog to work.
Blogs Can Be Time Consuming
Blogging takes time and patience. It's one of the more notable cons of blogging. Not only do they take time to write, but tangible results don't happen overnight—unless you're really lucky.
An established online presence and a loyal audience are built over time. Therefore, you should be prepared to wait to see a significant ROI.
If you want to see good results as soon as possible, resist the urge to take rushed action. Instead, take a step back and put all that fiery energy into planning a well-structured strategy for producing consistent and engaging content instead.
Blogs Are a Saturated Market
There are thousands of blogs already available, no matter the industry or subject matter. No longer can marketing departments pick a topic based on popular keywords. Instead, you need to go much deeper and approach your blog from a unique angle to stand out.
To date, there are over 600 million blogs currently online. What that means is, there's a blog for every 13 humans on the planet—the very definition of market saturation, and it's only going to get worse.
The good news is that there is always room for a well-written blog to find an audience, but you can't rely on this content marketing method alone.
Most marketing experts will agree that the only way to build an audience is to update your content consistently.
For example, consider if there were two blogs on the same subject, beautifully written by an industry expert and placed side by side. Yet one is published like clockwork on a Monday and Friday. The other is released when there's time, or when they have the content. Which one do you think audiences will rest their loyalties with?
Having a consistent and frequent output is crucial—especially within the beginning stages. Some digital marketing agencies recommend posting a new article on your website’s blog everyday. If you're a ways away from that mark, aim for no fewer than 15 articles per month, or at least once every other day.
Audiences will gladly make a regular blog part of their weekly routine, especially if they know exactly when it will be released. Unless you don't want to be forgotten, a blog has to be consistent and stick to a schedule—which isn't always easy.
Strong communities are what make blogs successful.
Blog vs Podcast: Which Is Best for Business Marketing
Choosing between a podcast or a blog isn't always necessary, and some companies benefit from offering both if they have the budget and the time.
In fact, by choosing both you can cross-pollinate your marketing efforts across all your marketing channels (blog, podcast, social media, website, etc.) to bring in a new audience and customers from each individual channel.
Just keep in mind the money, resources, and time required to blog and podcast effectively.
So, blog vs podcast. Have you decided which path you want to take? To aid in your decision-making process and lay the groundwork for a successful launch, here are some remaining points to consider.
Who Do You Need to Reach?
Blog readers, podcast listeners, or both? To decide the ideal medium for your content, get clear about who you want to engage with, what they want to know, and how they access their content.
Put the audience first. If you're unsure how to structure your content, think about your audience. Consider their needs and what problems you can solve for them. What questions are they asking? Can you uniquely tackle them head-on? Then you can determine whether it would fit better as an informative article or a podcast.
Regardless of where they find you, your audience should be your primary focus, rather than what your company needs. It will show your brand's authenticity and that you care.
Assess Your Marketing Team
Is your marketing team up to the task? Skills matter when creating both a podcast and a regular blog. Take stock of who is available and capable of taking on either channel. Has someone been pitching topic ideas recently? Maybe they have some experience writing and would like to take on the task of becoming a blogger?
Is there someone within your team that lives and breathes podcasts? Do they have a working knowledge of the podcast process, and listen to other industry-focused shows, and therefore know what works and what doesn't?
Knowledgeable and enthusiastic marketers make developing podcasts and blogs more manageable, and will direct you towards a higher chance of success. But, you need to have the right people in the right corners. So, the underlying point here is: choosing a podcast or blog depends entirely on your team.
Assess the Competition
Are your competitors blogging? Podcasting? Or even both? Before you start scrambling to create content, assess what other similar brands are doing and whether they're doing it well. Who within your industry is ranking high in Google searches? What kind of content are they producing?
You need to know what's out there, so you can avoid topics that have already been covered and start producing fresh content. Another important aspect is to research long-tail keywords to help you identify niche topics that will separate you from the competition on both platforms.
Which One Will You Choose?
Whichever route you take, both blogs and podcasts will help to increase your inbound marketing reach and nurture customer relationships. If you decide to incorporate both, commit to producing quality content—your audience will appreciate you all the more for it.
Choose the strategy that makes the most sense for your company, your in-house talent, and your customers, and you'll definitely see results.