Audio or Video Podcasts

Why You Should Choose Audio or Video For Your Podcast

When it comes to podcasting there are two formats and lately bloggers seem to be getting confused about which one to use and when.

Of course you know the two format choices are audio and video -that’s it!

Yet why is it that so many of us are using the video format when we should rely on the audio format?

Let me explain my thinking.

“DO” something! I don’t need to watch you talk

First, let’s keep in mind a fact that we are all aware of – everyone is busy. I really mean it, these days we are all so incredibly busy that when we sit down in front of our computers we need to delegate time limits for specific tasks. One critical task we must make time for in order to strengthen our blogging fortress is: learning.

In order to accomplish this quickly quite often we go to YouTube in search of short videos that demonstrate “how-to” complete a specific task. For example we might want to learn how-to install CommentLuv, or how-to transform backlinks from NoFollow into DoFollow links. We seek quick, visual instructions when we don’t have time to read lengthy blog posts and scroll through endless screenshots and descriptions. Instructional video screencasts and tutorials are the answer to our prayers.

I don’t know about you, but my attention span is only about 5 minutes long (or less). So don’t make your screencast much longer than that unless you have some really snazzy animation going on. Of course there’s exceptions to this rule for a handful of professionals like Lisa Irby, Matt Cutts or Lynda.com. I can watch these guys for hours – and I do! Check YouTube Insights to find out the attention span of your viewers.

I’m listening

Audio podcasts are more appropriate when there’s no need for visual instruction of the subject matter. When you want to share ideas and concepts with your audience don’t keep them hostage in a chair in front of their monitors. Create an audio podcast with a free recording tool like Audacity and let your visitors click the play button on an audio file so they can listen to your message. I know, I know, you want to connect with your audience and put a face to your brand. Well my friend, hopefully you’ve accomplished that mission by carefully deciding on a Gravatar and uploading your most flattering vanity photo to your blog’s sidebar or header.

Why is the cat climbing on the sofa?

When I watch your video podcast and all I see is a “talking head”, my mind drifts off and I start begin to have thoughts like “Where did she get that gorgeous mahogany computer desk”,  “Why is that adorable cat climbing on the sofa” or any other distracting background “noise” I can wrap my brain around. Create an audio podcast. , so that after we press play we can turn up the volume and listen to your message while doing some ab-crunches or push-ups – or maybe even some house work! (kidding about the push-ups).

The bottom line here is, use video for instruction and how-to screencasts and choose audio podcasting to connect with your readers when you simply want to communicate ideas and concepts.

I hope this advice is seen as constructive criticism. What are your thoughts on video vs. audio podcasts? Have you ever watched a podcast that you wish you listened to instead?

Ileane created her blog Basic Blog Tips to help you learn WordPress blogging and Social Media Optimization. Connect with Ileane on Twitter and watch her tutorials on YouTube for tips on using WordPress, Plugins, Twitter, Facebook, Google Apps and the latest in tech.


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{ 58 comments… add one }
  • Robert Ryan May 12, 2012, 9:06 am

    Over time you really want to vary the content you give to viewers. Unless you’re an absolute knockout or you have some additional material (visual graphics) to share with people that have tuned in, the talking head style is mostly outdated. There are exceptions to every rule of course…
    Robert Ryan recently posted..Sales Recruitment CriteriaMy Profile

  • Anthony Burke January 21, 2011, 2:28 pm

    If you are running consistent podcasts, it is very important to maintain a variety of presentation styles to keep your listeners from becoming bored. Watching people talk, or just listening to people talk, is not enough to stay engaged.

  • Usama September 30, 2010, 2:52 pm

    I’d chose videos over audio but thats just a personal choice. But overall videos have more hits than audio so there you have it.
    Usama recently posted..Who Are You Outsourcing Your Self-Worth ToMy Profile

  • Chadrack
    September 8, 2010, 4:58 am

    Podcasting is one area I’ve been thinking of looking into very soon. Your post has just given me some ideas. I must say I agree with you in every way. Thanks so much.
    Chadrack recently posted..Internet Marketing World Cup Hope you’ll be there!My Profile

  • DebG. September 6, 2010, 9:24 pm

    Funny you should mention Lisa Irby! I absolutely LOVE her, but… I would say there are many times when she’s not focused on just getting the message out in a clear, quick manner and it’s a talking head to boot, so then I wish it was an audio podcast that I could subscribe to and listen on my iPod. I know it’s a lot of effort and not as quick to get them out there to edit videos like that, but I think it would make hers even that much better. LOVE her screencast tutorials as well, and although they’re not as bad as her talking head videos in this department, they could use a little more focus, also.

    • Ileane
      September 6, 2010, 11:13 pm

      DebG, I can tell that you have watched quite lot of Lisa’s videos. She’s been making them for so long that I’m sure she has some that are considered more interesting than others. She might be one of those folks that had me thinking “I wonder where she got that lovely desk from” HA! Thanks for your input. I really appreciate it.
      Ileane recently posted..How-to Customize Your Amplify PageMy Profile

  • Dennis Camacho September 6, 2010, 3:48 pm

    Hi Ileane. I agree with you. Video posts that are not visually stimulating lead to higher “click-off” rates and lose audience attention faster than audio posts.
    With that in mind, in my last post I used some hyperactive tropical fish to make a point about Chasing vs Attracting Prospects. Let me know what you think.
    Looking forward to your next post.
    Dennis Camacho recently posted..What do Fish and Your Prospects Have in CommonMy Profile

  • Daniel Sharkov September 4, 2010, 3:50 am

    I definitely prefer hearing to an audio podcast, when the only thing the podcaster is doing is sitting in front of a web camera and talking. There’s just no point in watching a video. Unless when there’s not something interesting to show, video podcasts are a bit worthless in my opinion.
    Daniel Sharkov recently posted..Why Having a Great Design for Your Blog Is So ImportantMy Profile

  • Dennis Edell September 3, 2010, 5:55 pm

    Very well put Ileane. It always amazes me how the incredibly obvious (or should be) needs the most explanation…you did it well! 😉
    Dennis Edell recently posted..Welcome To The All New DennisEdellcom!My Profile

  • Jimi Jones September 2, 2010, 6:45 pm

    Excellent advice, Ileane.
    The audio podcast give greater flexibility. I listen to them all the time, particularly when driving. Keep me connected and in focus.
    Jimi Jones recently posted..Where and How to Find Great Images on FlickrMy Profile

    • Ileane
      September 2, 2010, 7:17 pm

      Hi Jimi, I have a long list of video podcasts that I listen to, most of them are about Photoshop or blogging. I found an excellent audio podcast from Yoast called The Wordpress Podcast that I think all Wordpress users should listen to.

      I’m looking forward to checking out your Flickr post asap. Thanks!
      Ileane recently posted..FeedBurner Delicious Links and CommentLuvMy Profile

  • ZK September 2, 2010, 7:28 am

    So Ileane … I am taking your advice and will not buy beautiful computer table and will not let my cat in my room ….

    Just kidding … nice and fresh read though.
    ZK recently posted..Download The Copywriting Scorecard for BloggersMy Profile

    • Ileane September 2, 2010, 7:08 pm

      ZK, if someone really wants to go all out they should invest in a green screen. Then they can add any kind of background they want (but just don’t use the cat). 🙂
      Ileane recently posted..Prof. Walter LewinMy Profile

  • Biodun September 2, 2010, 3:23 am

    People ‘think’ they like video better probably because compelling video can be captivating.. but as you have said “use video for instruction and how-to screencasts and choose audio podcasting to connect with your readers when you simply want to communicate ideas and concepts” good idea!

  • Tran Tinh
    September 2, 2010, 2:00 am

    Take actions is a MUST and podcast is new to me even I have heard a lot about it. Thanks for sharing

  • Dev
    September 2, 2010, 1:38 am

    Hey Ileane,

    Really Great post. I’m totally agree with you.
    I think it also depends on niche.

    Thanks for sharing this great Post.

    Dev recently posted..7 Secrets to Good Sales CopyMy Profile

  • Kimi September 1, 2010, 12:26 pm

    Hi Ileane,

    A post that fits to my blog’s niche 🙂 lol. I would definitely choose video, I am same as Julius above, i can’t listen to audio files as well, except of Musics.

    And to me, and probably non-techie people out there, video is more effective because its visual and easy to follow.

    Great to meet you here!
    Kimi recently posted..How to delete wordpresscom blogMy Profile

    • Ileane
      September 1, 2010, 1:07 pm

      Hey Kimi, I remember seeing you over at BloggerLuv a few times, good to see you again.

      I love the video format too. I try to make videos that are provocative and have substance – not just me saying “Hi, I love to blog”.

      Thanks, hope to see you again soon.
      Ileane recently posted..Blogging On WordPresscomMy Profile

      • ZK September 2, 2010, 7:34 am

        This totally depends on which niche you are …

        I would recommend that you should go for both and should pick the right format so that people can download easily and see or listen whenever they want to … without having the problem of internet or anything.
        ZK recently posted..Download The Copywriting Scorecard for BloggersMy Profile

  • Julius September 1, 2010, 8:45 am

    Hey Ileane,

    I like your idea here. And I agree, it’s probably better to choose audio for your podcast. But for me I don’t like to listen to audio files. I generally don’t even look at them when they are featured on a website. The problem with audio is that you have to take a lot of time to listen to it. And you usually also have to devote your whole attention to it.

    Videos are generally shorter and more to the point. Of course I don’t like watching 20 minutes videos but still I think it’s a better way to get your message across.
    Julius recently posted..Glimpses on Understanding LifeMy Profile

  • Lennart Heleander September 1, 2010, 8:10 am

    Sorry Ileane, maybe I’m too old, I don’t wont to watching a video, I want read, and I love to read in my own time and in full concentration.

    • Ileane
      September 1, 2010, 11:14 am

      Hi Lennart,
      When I create a tutorial I will include a written list of the features that I demonstrate as part of the post. That way if people don’t want to watch at least they know what they are missing. Many times they will watch anyway if they really need to see how something is done. We all have different ways of learning and I’m a visual learner.
      Thanks for your feedback.
      Ileane recently posted..Tweet Videos To You Followers With ScreenrMy Profile

  • George Serradinho September 1, 2010, 1:28 am

    Well, it depends if you need to show something or just need to express yourself vocally. But I do agree that sometimes your concentration wonders while watching a video.

  • Gera
    August 31, 2010, 4:37 pm

    I’m planning to enter in those multimedia formats soon and these tips are very handy!
    Video is obvious Youtube and other related sites.
    Ileane, but for podcasts which one you recommend apart of iTunes for example?
    As all social sites, there are tons to explore but not all worth the effort.


    Gera recently posted..Blogging – Writing- Social Media Tips- Foodies- Best of the WeekMy Profile

  • Hesham August 31, 2010, 3:59 pm

    You are right Ileane! this is so true and good advice!

    (“DO” something! I don’t need to watch you talk) lol funny, I love it!

    • Ileane Smith
      August 31, 2010, 5:06 pm

      Hesham, somehow I thought you might like this one. I wish I could hear you chuckling. 🙂
      Thanks for letting me be a part of Famous Bloggers. I added the banner to my blog.
      Ileane Smith recently posted..Basics of Blog Feeds and FeedBurnerMy Profile

      • Hesham August 31, 2010, 5:27 pm

        lol you never know 🙂

        You are welcome, and great to see you adding the banner, that’s super!

  • Kevin M.
    August 31, 2010, 1:57 pm

    Great points Ileane! I totally agree with what you are saying.
    Kevin M. recently posted..What did you do this summerMy Profile

  • Abhishek August 31, 2010, 1:14 pm

    This is great post and I have never watched a podcast but will do in future.

    Thanks For Sharing
    Abhishek recently posted..Best SEO Tips And Techniques For BloggerMy Profile

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