Although the iPod has long been forgotten by most consumers, the aptly-named “podcasts” that gained popularity on the device have become all the rage nowadays. According to Edison Research, over half of Americans over the age of 12 have listened to at least one podcast, and 41% of monthly listeners report tuning into more podcasts today than they did one year ago.
However, podcasting lacks the visual elements that make webinars so effective for marketing purposes. Webinars have been highly valued by consumers for years, and some businesses rely on these multimedia presentations for attracting and retaining loyal followers. If you’re not sure whether a webinar or podcast is better for promoting your unique company, read on to learn about the advantages and disadvantages of both mediums and how to determine which one is better suited for your goals.
As mentioned above, webinars often incorporate video and audio elements, whereas podcasts are audio-only. Some marketers choose to videotape themselves while recording their podcasts and then upload these videos to other platforms to appeal to a larger audience, but this practice definitely isn’t the norm.
Another notable difference between the two mediums is that webinars are typically recorded live, while podcasts are pre-recorded and then shared across several different social channels. Podcasts are often thought of as more convenient since listeners can download them and listen to them whenever they like for free, whereas webinars usually have a registration fee, are shared in real-time, and encourage live interaction with the listeners.
Pros and Cons of Webinars
At first glance, it seems like webinars have a significant advantage over podcasts. There are several reasons why they’ve been considered the “gold standard” for marketing:
- The multi-sensory experience makes it easier for people to absorb and remember the information.
- Hosts can easily share slides, photos, videos, and other materials to aid the learning process.
- Webinars make it easy for listeners to interact with you; you could even host a live Q&A or create brief surveys if you wanted to!
- Webinars allow you to monetize your knowledge and expertise right away.
The drawback to having live webinars is that not everyone will make time in their schedule to watch a live presentation, and others will be reluctant to pay before hearing your speech. If you’re primarily concerned about attracting a large audience, a podcast may be the superior option.
Pros and Cons of Podcasts
If you have a Spotify or iTunes account, you can find dozens of podcasts within seconds by simply typing in a particular subject you’re interested in. Choosing to host a podcast can be a pretty easy way to gain visibility if you publish them on multiple platforms, especially since curious listeners are always searching for new, intriguing material to listen to.
In addition to having access to a much larger potential audience, there are numerous other reasons why podcasting has become so popular:
- Listeners enjoy the convenience of being able to soak in the information whenever they’d like: during their commute, working out, doing household chores, or other somewhat tedious tasks.
- Podcasts are usually free to download, and people can listen to them as many times as they like.
- Podcasts are often more casual and conversational than webinars, although they can still convey the exact same information. The informality makes it easier for people to think of you as a friendly voice rather than a marketer or business owner.
- Listeners will consider you as an expert in whichever subject you choose to discuss. If you’re able to strike a balance between marketing, informing, and entertaining, people will be more likely to buy your products.
The caveat of podcasting is that, due to the convenience factor, getting too technical or specific may bore your audience and they might unconsciously tune you out as they complete other tasks.
Which Content Strategy is Right for Your Customers?
Both webinars and podcasts have their unique strengths and weaknesses, and they can both be valuable B2B marketing tools. The way to tell which one will be most effective for your specific business depends upon your goals, your audience, and your long-term marketing plans.
If your goal is to appeal to a broader audience with advice, stories, or anecdotes, you may prefer the convenience and casual nature of podcasting. However, if you want to teach your followers how to do something, a webinar will be far more effective and valuable for your audience. If you’re still a bit nervous, remember that even when you decide to give one of these strategies a try, you can always repurpose the content into another medium later!