Today, brands have many opportunities to become a “friend” to their consumers, rather than just a company. Learning where and how to connect with your consumers is key. And when it comes to deciding between podcasts or vlogs, the decision is quite simple.
The Guardian reporter Elena Cresci tells the tale of the first known vlogger, 15-year-old Bree. Her videos, starting in June 2006, revealed more about her life: self-proclaimed dork, homeschool girl, strife with parents, caught between two boys and a rare blood type that made her the subject of a secret cult. According to Cresci, the videos turned dark quite fast.
Nearly 10 years later, we’ve learned Lonelygirl15 was a scam, using two almost-20-year-old actors looking to catch their break and a team of writers.
Though the cover was blown, the trend remained. Vlogging has since turned into celebrity figures, such as Tyler Oakley or Michelle Phan, and brands using it to describe DIY projects, cooking acumen and other short, helpful tips.
In conjunction with the original Apple iPod in 2003, “audioblogging,” now known as podcasting, was born. In the beginning, journalists would record themselves reading their article, then publish it online as a big, MP3 file.
Shortly after, David Winer, a software developer, and Adam Curry, an MTV media/radio personality, adapted the RSS feed to include “audioblogs.” Not even two months later, Ben Hammersley, a then-journalist for The Guardian, coined the term “podcast.”
By the end of 2004, the New York Times reported people across the United States, Australia, Canada and Sweden were podcasting about a variety of topics.
And podcasting is still very well-utilized today. Whether for long drives, background music, while cleaning (or maybe as you’re writing this article), podcasts provide longform, in-depth storytelling users are able to listen and relate to, given their topics.
But Which is Best for Your Business?
Despite their different upbringings, both mediums have been around for 10+ years, growing in popularity and interactivity. But for a business to tackle both in order to connect with their audience may prove to be too much work and inefficient.
To choose which medium is best for your demographic, first determine how your audience best digests information.
Vlogs have the advantage of being short, “lean-back” activities. Meaning, unless you’re live-tweeting a blog, users can simply sit back and watch, or watch and pause as you’re following along a DIY video.
Podcasts are a “lean-forward” activity. The Social Media Examiner states a podcast should be around 45 minutes to an hour to be worth downloading. Meaning, users have to pay attention for that full hour in order to follow along the story.
Because podcasts allot more time, brands can get into storytelling. And if a person chooses to listen to a podcast, they’re allotting 20 minutes to an hour of their life to listen to branded content, which is a big deal for a brand.
Podcasts do have the added benefit of being a multi-tasking activity. For example, I listen to my favorite podcast, “My Favorite Murder” while cleaning, driving or baking. With vlogs, I will specifically seek certain how-to or informative videos, because they have the advantage of being able to see a person talking to you, forging a relationship, or a how-to completed right before your eyes.
There are pros and cons to both. It’s simply determining how your audience best digest information, and how they would best digest the information your brand is providing.
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