Creating social connections: Podcasts or webinars?

Desk with podcasting equipment (microphone, headphones)

As an agency, Hodges tries to stay ahead of the most effective communications tactics, especially those that align with content strategies driving engagement. It’s important to focus on communications strategies that are not only effective but also efficient, that offer the best return on time and money. Along those lines, we’ve heard from some organizations who are debating whether webinars or podcasts are appropriate tools to enhance communications outreach. Not surprisingly, we have some thoughts.

Podcasts and webinars are great ways to provide multimedia content to your audience, offering an alternative option to blog posts and newsletters. Webinars are often held live to a pre-registered audience, while podcasts are typically available for free on various platforms. If you find yourself debating the two different tactics, here are benefits of each.

Benefits of Podcasting

Many people enjoy podcasts while they’re doing other activities. They are a perfect distraction from monotonous tasks – getting ready to start or end the day, during commutes, and lots of moments in between.

When starting a podcast, you should ideally be an expert in a particular field or subject area. People will be more interested in your product or service when you are confident about the subject matter and can impart expert levels of insight.

Podcasts can be a perfect way to reach new audiences by casting a big net and taking advantage of the convenience of the platform. Your audience has ready access to you and can listen to you from any location at any time to learn more about your organization, your products and your area of expertise.

I spoke with Pam Didner, a B2B marketing consultant and author of “Global Content Marketing and Effective Sales Enablement.” I caught up with her after her Marrying Sales and Marketing through Content Curation webinar, and she shared her thoughts on companies using podcasts as a promotional tool.

“People listen to podcasts using their phones, choosing a listening platform such as Spotify, Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts,” says Didner. “It’s tough to capture leads via podcast unless you use the podcast as a channel to showcase your current accounts or to give your existing customers or potential new customers opportunities to shine.”

Benefits of Webinars

Webinars are the gold standard for communication experts. A successful webinar is interactive and invites participants to engage with the content. You can utilize many formats when conducting your webinar, including:

  • Educational how-to: This structure design shows a group of people how to use a new tool, app or technique to its full potential.
  • Workshop style: The format allows you to communicate directly with your audience and discuss its needs, often in an interactive way.
  • Panelist discussion: A panel can give the audience several viewpoints on a single subject and moderated by industry leaders in a particular field, host company and strategic partners.
  • Meeting Style: Most often used in corporate environments, meeting webinars encourage team members who aren’t present to participate. It’s an excellent tool to provide information about future plans.

“You can sponsor webinars or create your own webinars. If you sponsor a webinar of an industry event or a publishing company, get a list from the event organizer,” recommends Didner. “Taking creative control of the webinar allows you to ask people to register. Then compare who registered and who attended the webinar. Moving forward, you will have prospects to choose from.” 

Tips for a successful podcast or webinar

For podcasts:

  • Consistency is key. Set a schedule for publishing content and stick to it. 
  • Podcasts are great for building brand awareness. 
  • Creative cover art. There are over 800,000 podcasts; interesting cover art makes your podcast stand out from the crowd. 

For webinars:

  • You need to spend 6-8 weeks promoting.
  • According to Didner, the attendance rate is usually around 20-40%, so register as many people as possible and start promoting early. 
  • Self-managed webinars are great for gathering leads. 

Instead of thinking about one goal, consider how webinars and podcasts can work together to serve your marketing or communications purposes. 

Photo: Austin Distel

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