Chip Shots by Chip Griffin

The Differences Between Blogs, Podcasts, and Video

Mitch Joel has been talking recently on his podcast, Six Pixels of Separation, about the difference between audio and video podcasts.  Then I heard John Furrier of PodTech talking about it on a podcast with Heather Green of BusinessWeek.  And it all got me thinking.

Relative Value.  I think John made an interesting point when he said that he felt that there was a difference in the viral nature of various forms of social media vs. their engagement level.  He said that video and blogs are more viral than podcasts, but that podcasts result in higher engagement than blogs and video has higher engagement than either.  On the other hand, blogs are best at SEO value. 

I would also argue that web video has the potential to be more mainstream than podcasts and potentially even blogs.   Consumers I think will be more willing to embrace this medium than the other two because it has a greater potential to be fun and engaging.  Podcasts are likely to remain more of a niche tool — though a valuable one because of their power to connect with an influential audience.  And blogs will continue to gain traction, though they lack some of the entertainment potential of video.

Format Differences.  Mitch and others have pointed out that it is much harder to watch video than listen to a podcast.  The number of opportunities to watch are smaller than the number to listen.  In addition, video and blogs require greater attention from the audience, in most cases, whereas podcasts are more passive and support other simultaneous activity by the listener.

This suggests that podcasts can be longer than video and blogs must be kept relatively brief.  To overcome those time/length limitations, they would need to be truly exceptional — even indispensable — content.

Interestingly, I find that for web video, I am more likely to engage in ones that have nearly as much value from listening as from viewing.  Interviews, panel discussions, event speakers, and the like are more likely to get me to call up a web video.  I need not watch 100% of the time to still extract value.  On the other hand, if I am going to watch a web video in its entirety, my limit is somewhere around 5 minutes or so.

Monetization Potential.  John thought that podcasts would be the most difficult to monetize, with video being easier because advertisers like to be able to show their products.  It is an argument that makes sense, though monetizing video still hasn’t proven to be a wildly successful endeavor.  I do believe it is coming, however.  Blogs have certainly demonstrated some ability to be monetized and that trend will likely continue.

Conclusion.  Different forms of media serve different purposes.  Content creators should make sure that they deploy the correct medium for the goal they wish to achieve.

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  1. Thanks for listening Chip. I’m a huge fan of For Immediate Release, so I keep hearing all about Custom Scoop. I guess I should give it a go 😉
    In regards to your post, I think it comes down to how humans are by nature: When there are flashing objects, we need to focus on them. When there’s audio, we have an incredible ability to do other things as well 😉 That’s probably the biggest difference between audio and video.

  2. The irony, of course, is that we only think we can do other things well at the same time. In reality, either the listening or the other project suffers. I know that I find that I will find my mind drifting away from the podcast I am listening to, only to jolt back when I realize something I am really interested in is being discussed.
    Nevertheless, we can achieve 80-90% of each task simultaneously and often that is enough.
    I enjoy your podcast and of course FIR as well. I find podcasts to be a great way to pick up additional information in a more passive form than reading blogs.

  3. Thanks for the insights. As I explore more of these issues, I’m concluding that the best approach is to create content that can be as many things to as many people as possible, at once. The key is to create the content once, but then make it available (and for more monetization) widely and across modalities.
    If you create a compelling 30-minute podcast, a deep-dive analyst-moderated discussion on a new product or trend, for example, you can create a transcript. That becomes the basis for a full-text blog entry (good SEO benefits). You can blog on the key points, via an executive summary and a few excerpts (good for a high-traffic blog and viral benefits), and point to the full-text and full audio (the full story for the highly qualified and interested audience, albeit a small niche).
    So you can with one content creation activity (less than one hour) develop a variety of content types that get the viral benefits from the blogging, and allows those that get to the full text or full audio to be highly self-qualified, so as to montize the content better. But what of the video?
    If you go into the same content creation session and identify the essential give-and-takes that produce the “light bulb” moment — the AHA! knowledge transfer — then that’s your video snippet. You can go back and recapture the AHA! moment on video and distribute that via YouTube, or whatever the best distro channels for video are. The video portion ends up being 30 seconds to 5 minutes, tops. In a sense the video, like the summary blog, becomes an ad for the deep-dive versions of the content, take it or leave it. Plus the sponsoring company can use the video in many other productive ways.
    Optimally, all of these content capture sesssions should be include both modest compressed video and high-quality audio. Then you can produce the best content length and character by mode: full session audio podcast, full text blog, summary text (as big-audience blog), and the brief video clip or edited and spliced video summary clip.
    These content variations all point to and among each other. Each level can be monetized, but the largest margin comes from the self-qualifying effect of reaching those who really want all the information, those or go for the full session. You can add further for these prospects by offering calls to action or links to a download or promotion page. That’s the nugget of highest value, a qualifying process that leads to a sale — all from a 45-minute videocast session, probably remotely using web cams.
    They key is having the right speaker and moderator so that the subject can be explored deeply, meaningfully and at the level that will spur interest by those closest to the values or benefits. I plan to add video, but so far this process works well just with audio/text/blogging. Here’s an example:
    And here’s an example of taking an exising webinar and giving it the podcast and distribution treatment:
    We could have easily made a video complement of the webinar just on the slides and screen shots of the portal in action.
    These approaches stike me as reaching the right balances and value you allude to in your post and via John Furrier’s comments. Thanks.

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