Should you podcast or should you make videos?
You’re probably already blogging, sending out newsletters, engaging with people on Twitter,
Facebook, Instagram… but you’re thinking, “It’s time to take it up a notch! Which do
I go to? Podcasts or Videos?” Now they’re both really strong, really good
ways to engage with your audience but which one’s better?
Now I’m going to get into the pros and cons of each but I’m going to spoil it for you:
the answer is both. They’re both hugely important!
Not only are you going to be able to reach new people that you’ve never reached before,
but you’re also going to be able to reach the people that you already have access to
in new and engaging ways. This is great because people learn differently.
They learn better through certain mediums and you want to be able to hit all of those.
Let’s talk about video first. Video is the most engaging medium by far.
You’re not only getting the words that someone has to say, but you’re hearing them say it
and you’re getting to see them speak it and get a little bit of their personality.
if you were to transcribe the words that I’m saying right now they wouldn’t be as impactful
as you seeing me deliver them. You would lose out on some of that inflection
and character. And another thing that makes video so great is its ability to go viral.
Now compared to podcasts, videos have a much, much greater potential of virality than podcasts
do. That’s because people don’t necessarily have
time to sit through an hour-long podcast or even longer. Audio is almost much more difficult
to digest. It’s very long-form, it’s hard to get an idea of what the content’s about
at a glance. When you have a video, you can immediately
get an idea of who’s talking, what they’re talking about, whether they’re serious or
not and you can scrub through a video pretty easily.
So those are the upsides of video, however the downsides of video are rather significant.
For instance, if you want really high quality, professional-looking videos, the expenses
of equipment are going to go up really, really quick. It’s going to cost a lot really fast.
For instance, right now you’re looking at my setup: I’ve got Canon 5D Mark III with a 35mm lens with f/1.4, a video monitor, an NTG3 mic, a Zoom H4N, and a couple of lights. Now those are not inexpensive pieces of gear. Added all up, that is pretty costly. But when
you combine everything together, you have a really nice, high-quality picture.
So the question then becomes: “Why don’t we just turn on our webcam and just start talking
like that and forget all of the super-expensive equipment?”
Well, let’s look at this. So I’m talking at the webcam right now and we’re still using
the NTG3 mic that you can see above me. But if I switch over to the display, the display
right here has a mic. Now you can hear how bad that sounds. That sounds really, really,
poor. And if I switch over to my iPhone—I’ve got
an iPhone 5S all the way over there filming this whole thing. You can hear the onboard
audio—it’s not that great at all. That’s going to be really painful to listen to. But
if I switch right here to the NTG3 and we keep the iPhone video, that’s actually not
half bad. So you can see that the important part of
a really nice video is actually have great audio.
That’s much more important than having really fancy video equipment.
So if you are going to do video, what you want to have is a really nice microphone.
Now I’ve got a couple of SM7Bs here in the room that I use primarily for podcasting,
but you could get something like this—either a shotgun mic or even the Zoom H4N over there.
That one has built-in bidirectional microphones. Anything other than the onboard audio—for
instance, if I switch right now to the Canon 5D’s onboard audio, that sounds pretty terrible.
So the key is: even if you just have an iPhone, even if you just have a webcam, or if you
have a decent camera, the main thing is getting a nice mic.
Because here’s the thing: people will be more inclined to watch poor-quality video with
high-quality audio than they will good-quality video with poor-quality audio.
So that’s quality, but what about duration? Now, a lot of people will say, “You want to
hit right between 5 and 7 minutes when you’re doing video. That’s the most engaging duration.”
And that’s not bad advice, but it’s also kind of a rule of thumb.
This video is probably going to be a little bit longer and you can ask yourself: Was it
engaging? Did you quit before this point? Obviously you’re still here, right? So it’s
more important to provide relevant, helpful information and if you go over that sweet
spot, it’s not too big of a deal. So we’ve talked about video, now I want to
switch over to podcasting. Audio is the second most engaging medium and
by far, the reason that podcasts are effective are because of their runtime.
Now think about it: you post a blog post and you tweet it out, or you send it to someone,
or you post it on your Facebook or newsletter. Someone goes to this page, they go to your
website where you’ve got a blog post: At most, they’re going to spend 3 to 5 minutes
reading it—if they read it. Most people just spend a few seconds glossing over it,
maybe it’s interesting, maybe it’s not. Podcasts, on average, the people that actually
listen to it listen to the full thing. Usually that’s 30 minutes, sometimes an hour,
even more than an hour. Think about that: you have someone’s attention
for a full hour. A full hour—that’s if you do one a week. If you do multiple podcasts
a week, it’s even longer than that. I bet you—I bet you, you don’t even have a friend
who you have their attention for a full hour a week. I mean that is massive!
Another huge upside to podcasting is mobility. People don’t have to be at their computers,
they don’t have to have a tablet open, they don’t have to have their eyes looking at the
video the whole time it’s going. They can be anywhere. They can be doing anything.
They could be cleaning the house, they could be on a road trip, they could be working out—whatever.
Podcasts have extremely mobility. People today consume media how they want and
when they want. They fit your content into the gaps of their life and when it comes to
audio like podcasting, it’s the most versatile medium. It can fit the widest amount of gaps
in people’s life. They don’t even have to have their hands and they don’t even have
to have their eyes. All they have to do is listen.
And lastly in terms of upsides for podcasting, there’s the relative ease of creating content.
It took me nearly an hour to get everything you see here setup.
The video monitor, the lens—having the right focus—and the lights, the cameras, and everything
going all at once. It took a really long time. When it comes to audio, you just turn on the
mic and you start recording. Now because it’s so easy to record audio,
you have to work to set yourself apart from the crowd.
A lot of people think, “Oh, I’ve got a microphone here, I’ve got a built-in microphone on my
laptop. I’ll just start recording and talk into it.”
No, that’s a bad idea! Everyone else can do that. You have to set yourself apart.
The microphones I use here are Shure SM7Bs. Those are nearly $400 microphones. That’s
not saying anything for the hundreds of dollars of software that I use.
I’m spending a lot of time processing the audio. Getting the EQ right, Speech Enhancement,
compression, noise gate—even on this video, I’m going to run this audio separately through
my software to make it sound really nice and clean.
That’s a lot of work, but it’s going to pay off in the end.
I know it sounds like it’s a lot of money—it sounds like it’s a lot, you know, spending
hundreds of dollars on microphones, but compare that to video. We’re talking about podcasting
and video here: Video, you can spend thousands to get a really nice setup that’s going to
set you apart from the crowd. Audio, a few hundred dollars—that’s an investment
that’s going to go a really long way. So you’re probably thinking, “Ok Sean, this
is a lot of information. Maybe can you break it down for me a little bit?”
Yes. So the answer to the question, “Should you podcast or make videos?” is: you should
do both. Now I’m going to make it a little bit easier
for you: I would say start with audio. Why? Because audio is the common denominator between
quality audio—quality podcasts—and quality video.
Because even if you don’t have great video equipment, quality audio is super, super important.
Again, people will watch poor-quality video with good audio longer than they will high-quality
video with poor audio. So you need to start with audio. Start recording.
Also, a lot of people are a little scared getting in front of video—it’s kind of intimidating.
You know, you’re kind of vulnerable. You’re putting yourself out there. Audio at least
gives you one more layer of protection. People at least aren’t seeing you when you’re
recording. So audio is a great place to start. Once you get more comfortable with audio,
start to ease your way into video. Maybe start out by making a video that’s a screenshare
of your computer. Just talking into the microphone, you’re focusing on quality audio, you’re not
showing yourself yet but you’re showing your screen.
And then maybe show your screen and switch to your webcam and then eventually just talk
straight to the camera. Focus your efforts on getting good sound,
and then you can start to experiment with video.
Every different kind of media that you produce is giving your audience a look at a new facet
of your personality. And the more they get of your personality
the better they’re going to feel like they know you. And the more they know you, the
more they’ll trust you. And the more they trust you, the more likely they’ll be to recommend
you to someone else and also buy your products and support you.
So step outside your comfort zone, put yourself out there and start creating new forms of
media and being a real person to the people that are in your audience.
Thanks so much for watching this video, if it was helpful to you, maybe share it with