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Podcasts vs YouTube videos: which one’s right for your small business?

By Alexandra Gavril - April 28, 2020

Small business owners often face tough decisions when it comes to choosing the right strategies or tools to establish or grow their presence online. One of these decisions may also be whether to start a podcast or a YouTube channel to promote their business, and build authority and trust with their audience.

So, is it better to start a YouTube channel or a podcast in 2020? Which one is more effective and profitable for your small business? And which one has more opportunity to reach your target audience?

In this post, we’ll look at the pros and cons for each of these two mediums so you can determine which is a better fit for your specific business, audience and industry.

Let’s get started.

Podcasts pros and cons

A podcast is a show that you can subscribe to via an app on your phone, tablet or computer. It’s usually spread across a series of episodes that you can download to your device and listen to whenever you like. While podcasts can be audio, video, or both, the most popular format is audio.

Each podcast usually features one or more people who discuss a particular topic or theme, such as how to form healthy habits or how to learn a foreign language.

Considering how much we all enjoy to consume content on the go, it’s no surprise that more people are listening to podcasts than ever before. In the UK alone, more than seven million people listen to podcasts each week. That’s one in eight people and is an increase of 24% over the past year, and more than double over the past five years.

This makes podcasting a fantastic opportunity to promote your small business.

If you’re not yet familiar with podcasts, just go to your Spotify, Google Podcasts or Apple Podcasts account, or simply run a search on Google to find a podcast on a topic you’re interested in.

For example, here’s what shows up on Google when we run a search for “learning Spanish for beginners podcast”:

And here’s what shows up on Spotify:

Click on the first result and you’ll be sent to the podcast’s page where you’ll see a list of episodes you can listen to:

There’s no doubt that podcasts are popular and can be a great tool for many businesses to reach more customers. But is it the right tool for your small business?

Let’s look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of podcasting so you can decide for yourself.

Pros

 You don’t need much to get started. That’s one of the biggest draws to podcasting. It’s so easy that you can start podcasting today with just your smartphone. These guides are great for learning how to get started and what you need to make it successful:

 It’s a great option if you don’t feel comfortable in front of a camera. If sitting in front of a camera makes you feel uncomfortable, with podcasting you can relax and just talk about what you’re passionate and knowledgeable about. Plus, you don’t need to worry about looking pretty and presentable in front of the camera.

You can get your audience’s attention on the go. A great benefit of having a podcast is that your listeners can download and listen to it at a time that is convenient for them. This may be while they’re driving, grocery shopping, walking their dog, or anywhere else they are looking to pass the time.

There are two advantages that this offers: 1. You enter people’s lives on their own terms, which makes you a more welcome guest so they’ll be more open to what you have to say and 2. Your audience doesn’t need to look at their screens to listen to your message.

Podcasts can be uploaded to YouTube. If, at any time, you decide you want to convert your audio podcasts to video, there are tools you can use for that so you can then add your podcast to YouTube, for example. On the other hand, creating a podcast from your YouTube videos would be difficult if you rely heavily on visuals.

Cons

The future of the internet is video. If you’re in the world of online business, you probably already know that the future is video. We prefer to learn, consumer content and information by video these days, and YouTube/ video is the future of online content. That’s not to say that audio podcasts aren’t effective at engaging an audience. It depends on your audience and how they prefer to consume content online.

Listeners can get easily distracted. While listening to your podcast, there is a chance that someone will get distracted by something they see and tune out your podcast.

You need to stick to a schedule. You know when you watch an episode of a great TV series and then you keep checking in to see if a new episode has been added? Two weeks pass and nothing. And then you stop checking and simply forget about it.

It’s the same with podcasts.

Your listeners expect a new podcast every week or at regular intervals. You won’t stand a chance at developing and maintaining an audience if you don’t deliver.

This can be difficult for a small business with limited time and resources as it can take hours to research, register and release a podcast. Add to that the time it takes to promote it on your blog and the various social networks you’re on.

You’ll need to learn how to edit your podcast episodes. To produce a quality podcast, you’ll need audio editing software (and the skills to use it). You can either learn how to do it yourself, or you can outsource the editing to a freelancer or an audio editing firm, depending on your needs and budget.

YouTube videos pros and cons

The chances are you’re already familiar with YouTube channels and videos. But just in case you aren’t, say you go to YouTube and run a search for something like “how to design a small kitchen”.

One of the results grabs your attention, so you click on the name below one of the results.

This takes you to homepage channel where you can find all the other videos published by that brand.

YouTube is not just one of the most popular platforms for publishing video content but also the second largest second engine behind Google. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s right for your small business.

Let’s look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of creating a YouTube video channel so you can decide for yourself.

Pros

Online video is the future. According to Cisco, online video will make up 80% of all online traffic by 2021. Just run a few quick “how to” searches on Google and you’ll notice how most featured snippets are videos.

That’s because users prefer to watch video to get entertained or learn how to do something. So, if you want to increase your chances of taking the featured snippet spot, or at least show up at the top of the search engine results, YouTube videos can help with that.

Less likely to get distracted. A great benefit of having a YouTube channel is not only that people can watch your videos on the go but also that you can have their undivided attention. Unlike audio podcasts, video lets you grab the attention of two senses: auditory and visual. This means they’ll be less likely to get distracted since they’ll be both eyes and ears on your video.

Video builds trust, which is the foundation of sales. People are sceptical about buying products and services online from businesses they don’t know. With video, you have the opportunity to show them the face behind the business so they feel more comfortable buying from you.

Video can help turn those boring topics into something engaging. Using audio to explain how to choose paint colours for a room in your home may seem boring. But when you create a two-minute video, you can turn it into a fun experience for both you and your audience.

Cons

You need video equipment. While you can probably make do with a smartphone or laptop camera as you’re getting started, if you want to have a professional YouTube channel you need to ensure that the video and sound are quality. This means you may need to invest in a good quality camera, microphone, laptop and tripod.

It’s time-consuming. Apart from the production of the video itself, you’ll also need to edit it. Cutting, adding, touching up the sound and so on can take time (more if you’re a beginner and don’t have any technical skills).

It takes practice. Not everyone feels comfortable talking in front of a camera. If you’re a natural, kudos to you. But if you’re not, you may need to take some time to practice or maybe get someone else on your team to do the videos and be the face of your business.

The competition is fierce. There are lots of businesses who have been creating YouTube videos for years for their audience. Since there’s so much competition, you’ll not only need to stand out from the crowd with the topics you cover but also make sure to optimise your videos to ensure your audience finds them on YouTube.

Read this post to learn how to optimise your YouTube videos so they rank higher in the platform’s internal search engine, as well as in all-purpose search engines such as Google.

Podcasts vs YouTube videos: which is right for your small business?

While there are lots of benefits to using both YouTube videos and podcasts to promote a business online, the debate isn’t about which one’s the best. It’s more about finding the medium that works best for your specific small business.

So, consider your type of business, audience, and industry, and then the pros and cons in this post to choose the platform that could produce the best results for your small business.