The recent pandemic has reinforced that webinars and podcasts have a lot to offer to marketing activities. The idea of having an audio (podcasts), or an audio and visual (webinars) stream where a host can communicate with his or her guests, or deliver a message to a potentially huge audience, is very exciting for digital marketers and organisations themselves. When deciding between the two, it’s important to consider the pros and cons of each, so you can ensure you make the best decision for your brand and your target audience.
In our opinion, the best feature of podcasts is the convenience; your audience can listen to them whenever they choose to. In digital marketing, this is invaluable. By choosing to distribute your content in a format that remains available online, can be downloaded onto personal devices and easily shared amongst friends and colleagues, not only means your audience can access your podcasts when they are in the right stage of their buying journey, but also means they reach a larger audience and have more potential to become viral.
With these factors in mind, podcasts generally have a larger reach than webinars. Podcasts can be listened to at any time and anywhere. However, you must consider that this accessibility may cause lower engagement from your audience. Podcasts are often listened to whilst your audience carries out other tasks, possibly distracting your audience from giving their full attention.
Webinars are often live-streamed but can also be pre-recorded and shared after. Your audience are required to sit in front of a screen and watch and listen, which often means their full attention is given to your message. They allow you to include visual cues, making them ideal if you need to cover a lot of information or explain complex topics. Visuals are processed in the brain at 60,000 times the speed of text (Visual Teaching Alliance), so this is often a better way for brands to illustrate complicated processes, services, or products without losing the audience’s attention.
Webinars also provide an opportunity to engage with your audience in real time. Implementing a live Q&A means you can respond to comments and questions left by your audience. The benefit of this feature is enormous; increase attendee engagement, connect with them by showing your personality, and even decrease the time it takes for your prospects to convert into leads.
If your goal is to position yourself as an industry expert in a way that can be found via organic search, then podcasts are probably the better format for your content. They’re easy to create, distribute and find. They require little preparation, and you can use free software to create them. The simplicity of podcast creations means you can cut down on costs, while simultaneously boosting your brand’s presence on the net.
Once you have a loyal following, you can even consider monetising your podcasts by including ads. Your audience is likely listening to your podcast because they have connected with you and respect what you’re selling. This could be a product or service of your own, or of somebody else’s through affiliate marketing techniques.
Though most webinars are free in order to attract a large audience, some hosts choose to charge a fee. Webinars are a great way to monetise educational resources, such as courses. Other topics for webinars often include product demos or Q&A sessions. These topics are often free and streamed live. Live webinars require some technical expertise. Some webinar hosts may choose to have technical assistance at hand, in case anything goes wrong during the live streaming, as we all know, can easily happen. This requires a little more preparation and potentially a higher cost.
Different webinar software offers unique features, such as Q&A, polls, and drawing tools. Most of this software comes at a small price, however, there are free options available if the features are not required.
Both podcasts and webinars offer highly customised, highly personal settings that allow the audience to get to know the speakers and the company conducting the event. Consider the habits of your target audience and the message you want to distribute–Is your content easy to digest? Are you looking for a way to reach a new audience? If these factors apply, and your target audience is not likely to register, sit and watch your webinar, then podcasts are more likely to bring benefits to your business. If you are looking to get deep and interact on a personal level with your current prospects, then webinars are the perfect way to do so.