You know those moments when someone rich or smart turns out to be wrong? You know, those moments that we secretly like? Well, we got treated to one of those moments recently. In 2005, a Forbes magazine ran an article who’s headline proclaimed “Cuban Says Podcasting Doomed to be Forgotten,” and to be honest, many people agreed with him. After all, who would have thought that something as low-tech as radio would be popular in the high-tech 21st century? But, as it turns out, they were wrong.
Just in July 2013, iTunes announced that it has reached 1 billion podcast subscribers and over 250,000 unique podcasts with over 8 million episodes in almost every language. Podcasts and Broadcasts have become so popular because listeners are able to listen to them as they work and multi-task, while passively learning and being entertained. Broadcasters love them because of the personal connection they can make with their audience that a blog article could never do.
Broadcast media is very important for bloggers because it adds another level to audience engagement. Everyone prefers to get their information in different ways, and through voice media, you can make sure no one in your audience is left out. However, unless you have a lot of extra time, you need to make a choice between broadcasting and podcasting. We’re going to go over the strengths and weaknesses of both, to allow you to decide what is best for you and your style.
What is online Broadcasting
Broadcasting isn’t as popular as podcasting but it is catching on fast. This is because of the many benefits it offers which combines the interesting aspects of radio with the perks of the online community. Broadcasts are live and online, they are scheduled, and people “tune in” to learn something new and be entertained. Broadcasting is great for beginners as well because services such as Croice and Mixlr help set you up and give you distribution options. This mode of communicating can really offer something unique to blogs and brands alike, however there some notable shortcomings as well.
Strengths of Broadcasting:
- Habit: We all have our habits throughout the day and some of my best memories come from listening to radio in the morning on my way to school. Scheduled broadcasts allow your audience to get into the habit of listening to you, associating you with memories, and begin thinking of your broadcast as part of their day or week. This creates a very loyal audience.
- Engagement: Broadcasting on the radio is a live and exciting venue. Online broadcasting takes that exciting and current experience and combines it with the perks of being online. Audience members can instant message you or each other and they can comment on the topic being discussed. This creates a very interactive atmosphere which engages your audience and keeps them listening.
- Currency: No not money, although that would be nice. But currency as in having your broadcast be very current and reactive. A live broadcast allows you to be flexible with your subject and feel what the audience is most interested in. Sometimes a show can start out on one topic, but then end up on a completely other topic based on the cues from your audience.
- Distribution: Many services exist to help broadcasters distribute, such as the ones mentioned above. They can set you up with widgets that automatically update and announce your upcoming broadcasts, they become a hub that attracts listeners, and they provide you with the necessary tools to create a professional broadcast.
- Learning Curve: Broadcasting is something you have to just jump into. You can make practice broadcasts, but the pressure of actually being live on the air can affect you more than you think. High quality broadcasts are really important because you need to be seen consistently as something worthwhile, so you have to learn fast to be successful.
- Accountability: Even after you have become a great broadcaster, you are going to mess up. You’re human. Live broadcasting makes you much more accountable because if you make a mistake, you can’t erase it, and then you may have a PR crisis on you hands.
- Cost: Although broadcasting is cheap compared to producing quality videos for your blog, you will still have to pay for some things. A sound mixer or program for your sound is necessary for a smooth live show, and the services that help you to distribute and create your broadcasts also usually charge you a fee.
- Audience Size: A problem with live broadcasts is the fact that they are live. This means that unless someone is able to log in and listen to you on their smartphone or computer at that time, they won’t be able to hear your broadcast as a live and interactive experience. However, as your reputation builds and habits form, this becomes less of a problem.
What is Podcasting meant for bloggers:
Podcasting is a very common practice by bloggers and even radio personalities because of its flexibility. Podcasting, in essence, is a prerecorded audio show. It really is that simple. You just need to plug a microphone into your computer, use recording software such as Audacity, and then upload it within an RSS feed, using a website such as FeedForAll. In fact, as you’ll come to find out, the main difference between podcasting and broadcasting are the distribution methods.
Podcasts are self-contained audio files, which are prerecorded, and then are distributed through RSS feeds online. Although this is a simple differentiation between podcasts and broadcasts, it is also a large one that lends itself to many potential strengths and weaknesses.￼
Strengths of podcasting:
- Flexibility: It allows you to record the show whenever you have time, and doesn’t force you to wait for “prime time” to record. Also you have more flexibility in the duration of your podcast and how often you will release a new one.
- Creativity: Podcasts aren’t live, so you can go back and make some edits, add in other clips, and tweak the podcast. However, as a side note, this can make your podcast seem choppy and unprofessional if it is done too often.
- Manageability: The learning curve for podcasts is much more gradual because it isn’t “live.” You can always rerecord a podcast which keeps you from being afraid of making mistakes and also it is less scary because no one is listening to you at that moment.
- Convenience: your listeners can listen to your podcast whenever they want to hear it. This allows you to reach a large segment of your audience.
Weaknesses of podcasts:
- Non-interactive: One of the great things about the internet is that it allows people to connect, and with a pre-recorded podcast, it isn’t possible to have live interactions between the audience members and the speaker.
- Distribution: Many distribution channels open to broadcasting are not available for podcasters. Podcasting has become very popular and so it is more difficult for your podcast to stand out and receive good distribution.
- Procrastination: We all procrastinate. This is a problem for podcasters because it allows the audience to forget about the podcast and put off listening to it. After a few days or a week, a new episode is available, and the old episode gets lost. Or worse, they forget about your podcast and move onto another.
Does it even matter?
Honestly, content trumps all. If you think in broader sense, both are great ways to reach out to new readers for your blog, and You need to have great content in order to be successful. Without great content, the mode in which you deliver it doesn’t really matter. Just as a company can have the best advertising in the world, but if their product’s quality is low, they won’t succeed.
However, the decision to pick one over the other will change how you operate and how you connect with your audience. If you want to turn out lots of content and spread it everywhere so people can hear it anytime, then podcasting isn’t a bad choice. If you want to have an exciting and engaging scheduled show that lets the audience interact, then broadcasting is the way to go. However if you are like me and you can’t choose, try both!