Blogs and podcasts are both powerhouse marketing tools. Company blogs are well-established inbound marketing channels, while business podcasts are the up-and-comers garnering a lot of excitement in the industry.
A few stats in the blog corner:
- 59% of marketers find business blogging valuable. (DemandMetric)
- Prioritizing blogging gave companies 13X the ROI compared with companies that did not prioritize their blogs. (HubSpot)
- About 70 million new blog posts are published each month on WordPress alone, with 77 million comments added per month. (WordPress)
And in the podcast corner:
- 37% of Americans ages 12 and older listened to a podcast in the previous month. (Edison Research)
- Podcast listening is more prevalent among younger Americans. 49% of people aged 12 to 34 listened to a podcast in the previous month, followed by 40% of people ages 35 to 54, and 22% of people aged 55 and above. (Edison Research)
- The heaviest podcasts users listen while they are away from home; often while at work. (Nielson)
Both blogs and podcasts nurture customer relationships, validate expertise, deepen brand loyalty, capture search, and generate leads. But each tool has benefits and drawbacks, and you probably wonder which will offer your business the most significant ROI.
Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of blogs and podcasts, the audiences for each — and when offering both is best.
Podcast Benefits and Drawbacks
The Pros of Podcasting
1. Podcasts are personable and facilitate connections.
Your podcast host or hosts lend a human voice to your brand. Podcasts put a knowledgeable person from your company in conversation with industry experts to tackle current topics and share advice, often with a touch of lighthearted humor. You can also ask your audience what they want you to cover and whether they have questions they want answered.
2. Podcasts reach younger audiences.
An entertaining and informative podcast is an opportunity to build brand awareness among Millennials and Gen Z.
3. Podcast listeners are growing fast.
The number of people who listened to a podcast at least once increased by 20 million between 2018 and 2019. The number of weekly listeners rose by 14 million in that time.
4. Podcasts increase opportunities to reach your audience.
People can listen to podcasts while driving, working out, or doing the dishes. Reading a blog post requires stopping and reading on a computer or mobile device.
The Cons of Podcasting
1. Podcast tech can be intimidating.
Getting comfortable with podcast technology can feel daunting. Learning the tech and launching a podcast requires time and money, and companies with small marketing teams and budgets can question the ROI.
2. Podcasts take time.
Once you are comfortable, podcast production still requires a significant investment of time. You have to brainstorm topics, reach out to guests, and record, before shifting to post-production and marketing.
3. There’s a call-to-action gap.
People listening to podcasts in their car or on a walk can’t press the CTA button the moment the inspiration hits. Instead, they must choose to return to your website to explore and fill out a form.
Looking for some new podcasts to check out? Learn more about HubSpot's own podcasts here:
Blog Pros and Cons
The Benefits of Blogging
1. Blogs support search engine optimization (SEO).
Including keywords in authoritative and helpful blog posts can drive traffic to your website.
2. Blogs don’t require as much tech knowledge.
For a blog, you need a strong writer and someone who knows how to publish the post to your platform.
3. Blogs draw leads.
Companies that blog earn 67% more leads on average per month than those that don’t.
The Drawbacks of Blogging
1. Blogs face stiff competition.
It’s not enough to pick a topic based on the keywords people are searching in your industry. There are scores of blogs across industries and subject areas. To make your blog stand out you have to go deeper, approach topics from a unique angle, and share must-know expert advice.
2. Blogs must offer value — and it’s no easy task.
With so much pre-existing content online, you have to offer an above-and-beyond return on your reader’s time investment. Then, once you’ve grabbed attention, it’s important to deliver consistent high-value content so your blog becomes a destination for knowledge building rather than a one-time find.
3. Blogs require a strong copy team.
Overcoming the cons of blogging takes a creative group of content strategists, writers, and editors who spot opportunities for engaging blogs that teach and help readers solve real-world problems.
Determine who you need to reach.
Blog readers, podcast listeners, or both? To decide the ideal medium for your content, get clear about who you want to engage with, what they want to know, and how they access their content.
The number of people listening to podcasts on mobile apps increased 60% between 2018 and 2019, and millennials drive that growth. One-third of listeners between ages 25 and 35 pressed play on at least five podcasts per week. Reasons for listening to podcasts range from entertainment, staying updated, and learning something new.
Podcast consumers differ slightly by gender, as well, with 39% of males and 36% of females in the U.S. listening to a podcast in the previous month.
Escape Fitness is an example of a company podcast that knows its fitness-industry audience, and produces audio content that engages. Weekly episodes of the Escape Your Limits podcast feature discussions with entrepreneurs about health, exercise, productivity, and the mindset needed for success.
The HubSpot 2017 Content Trends Survey found that 18% of consumers in the US, Germany, Colombia, and Mexico want blogs from the brands they support. Though that percentage may appear small — it is mighty. Businesses that blog get more website visitors and receive 67% more leads than those that don’t.
Among people who read blogs regularly, 34% read to learn something new, 20% for entertainment, and 12% to learn about news and trends in their job industry.
Because people are there to learn, you should focus on content that makes their life easier at work and beyond. The Grammarly blog does a great job of providing value for students, job-hunters, and people for whom English is a second language. You’ll find to-the-point posts on writing persuasive essays, giving writer feedback, and common writing problems, such as passive voice or run-on sentences.
People skim articles for tidbits of information rather than read them thoroughly. Your blog posts should be easily skimmable with headers that help them understand the topic more deeply, and engaging images or graphics that act as stepping stones from top to bottom. List articles are easy to skim and break your copy into bite-size pieces, and many marketers say they perform well.
When to Consider Both a Podcast and a Blog
Choosing between the two isn’t always necessary, and some companies benefit from offering both, if they have the budget and the time. REI Co-Op has produced four podcasts and has an extensive blog covering the environment, gear, and how-tos.
Here are first-steps to aid your decision making and lay the groundwork for a successful launch whether you share your brand through one or both mediums:
1. Assess your marketing team.
Has someone been pushing your company to create a blog and tossing topic ideas your way for the past year? Maybe they’ve even been writing shorter posts for LinkedIn already.
And perhaps someone else on your team devours podcasts and has heard enough of them from within your industry to understand what works and what doesn’t. Knowledgeable and passionate marketers make developing blogs and podcasts more manageable with a better chance of success.
2. Explore tools and platforms.
If you already have a CMS, such as HubSpot, it’s simple to add a blog. You can focus on building a content calendar, graphic design, and a blog marketing plan.
Recently, podcast platforms to streamline production and releases have also come online. Casted, for example, offers a podcast marketing platform that integrates with a company’s existing customer relationship management (CRM) and content management system (CMS) tools.
The podcast platform also offers a service that helps companies build their podcasts from scratch, so marketers learn the tools while moving production forward.
3. Understand that voice content is here to stay.
You saw those stats above. Like video before it, voice content is fast shifting from nice-to-have to must-have. But if producing a ground-up podcast isn’t in your wheelhouse or the budget, don’t fret; you can make your blog content audio accessible.
For example, Vooozer is an audio marketing solution that extends a blog’s reach with narration by real people and audio players embedded in the blog. People can learn and get advice from your company while they’re driving or on their lunch-break, and the CTA is on the same page to boot.
4. Assess the competition and clarify your value.
You need to know what’s out there so you don’t churn out content that’s already extensively covered. Research long-tail keywords to help you brainstorm niche topics that separate you from the pack on both platforms.
Blogs and podcasts increase your inbound marketing reach and nurture customer relationships. Choose the strategy that makes the most sense for your company, your in-house talent, and your customers, and you’ll see results.