There’s something authentic and yet innovative about podcasts as they reflect both the traditional and contemporary forms of content creation. Over the past few years, podcasts have become a more convenient way for journalists and bloggers to share their content. According to the Pew Research Center, the percentage of Americans who have listened to podcasts has gradually increased from 17% in 2013 to 21% in 2016. Now while this number isn’t relatively high, it showcases that consumers are slowly starting to appreciate podcasts more. If we consider podcasts as more than a fundamental element for content creators, they could potentially be of more intrinsic value than video. It’s also a way to educate your listeners as they are multi-tasking.
Podcasts can be valuable for driving audience engagement, especially if you’re responding to the listener’s needs. It’s always good to imagine yourself in the perspective of the listener to really understand what they are looking for, how you can build their trust, and engage in meaningful discussions. This will allow the podcast to be more interactive and audience friendly. It could also give you the chance to branch out from the initial topics that you’ve planned on talking about, particularly if it’s a live stream. Creating an environment where listeners can ask questions and learn more about the podcasters interests could be beneficial to your success, especially if you want to maintain a consistent audience. Even leaving the listener with an open-ended question could be helpful.
One efficient way that content creators could gain more listeners is to produce a sneak peak of the podcast and share it on social media sites. This gives you a chance to showcase your creative strengths. However, podcasts also involve a lot of strategic work, especially to keep the listener’s attention depending on the topic being discussed. Given that podcasts are entirely auditory instead of visual, there needs to be a drive that will keep the listener entertained or less likely to switch links. While they might stumble upon your podcast on their commute to work or even scrolling through their favorites recommendations, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ll stay on board for the long-term.
In a world where there are millions of pieces of content circulating around the Internet, it’s important to keep your podcasts relevant, but also original. More importantly, two elements that a podcaster should really consider when brainstorming for their next episode are storytelling and customization. Podcasts don’t have to be extremely formal, but having a genuine and insightful passion during its production is crucial. It’s also beneficial to deliver content that involves personal stories and experiences, especially if your listeners are aspiring to or are in the same field that you work in. This allows you to connect with your audience and enhance their ability to become an active listener. Here at KYA, our podcasts like to feature a strong focus on meaningful conversations. For each episode, we really learn a great deal of how each person has contributed to their industry as well as their own personal experiences.
If we compare podcasts and video, there’s definitely a gradual shift in which one will deliver more engagement as the industry evolves. One of the great benefits of podcasts is that it gives those who aren’t comfortable in front of the camera to the opportunity to share their thoughts and ideas with their audience. Even more so, podcasts are cheaper to produce as the access to programs and apps that allow you to record are generally more accessible than cameras and filming locations. One of the concerns with video, especially considering that the count is endless on the Internet, is that it’s often a gamble. Videos also require a lot of work on the creative and production front, especially if done independently. However, just like podcasts, they have to be relevant and persistent for the audience. It’s important for a content creator to stay on top of their analytics in order to see if the video or podcast is successful.
Depending on the content, I often have a habit of closing out videos quickly on blog posts if they don’t peak my interest. Also having videos play as soon as the user visits the web page is not necessarily a great strategy because it might take away from the quality of the post. According to Parse.ly’s 2016 Authority report, which randomly selected more than 2000 posts (short-form, long-term, video, and slideshows) from more than 700 publishers, video performed the lowest out of the formats. I found this statistic quite surprising considering that videos could be more compelling, but they do have more drawbacks if not used properly. Sometimes videos can become distractions as the noise could be disruptive to the reader, especially if they want to focus on solely the text. And if the environment becomes too overwhelming, it will likely make them leave the web page completely instead of further exploring what type of content creator you are. However, this completely depends on the user as the video playing doesn’t necessarily hurt their critique or overall impression of the content itself.
As journalists and writers develop multi-media packages, there has to be a coherent plan for all of the content they decide to include. Each ingredient of the story or post has to contribute to the overall arc. For example; you can’t just place a video on your blog or website and expect to earn clicks, even if you have a few successful posts. If the video is placed in a strategic way, such as the middle of the story, it will more likely get views because you’ve already grabbed the attention of the reader if they have stayed on the page. More importantly, if the video has a purpose, and there’s a long-term benefit for the content creator such as more revenue and command of the drawing board, it could still have quite the advantage over other formats like podcasts or slideshows.
Looking into the perspective of the audience, preferring podcasts to video really depends on their lifestyle and routine. If you’re a multi-tasker, I think listening to a podcast is a better route to take because it doesn’t require as many senses. For the content creator, it could be a less frustrating experience because you don’t have to focus on the visual elements. As for video posts, it’s great for immersive learners, those who enjoy the stylistic approach. It also gives the content creator more freedom to use their creativity visually instead of just words. Overall, both formats have distinctive qualities, it’s just a matter of making decisions that will benefit you as either as the producer or the consumer.