Sharon Koehler

Artistic Stone Design

Podcast Versus Blog Versus Webinar…These days, we are all spending much more time with our electronics. I am at an age where when I see someone with earbuds in their ears I “assume” they are listening to music, mostly because that’s what I do. However, that is not necessarily the case. They could be listening to a podcast. I also have a set of headphones with a microphone attached that I use for webinars. Different tools for different applications and uses. Podcast, webinar, blog, vlog and vodcast are also different tools for different uses.

A podcast is a prerecorded audio, usually a series, that you can listen to on a device such as a smart phone, computer, tablet or smart TV. They are available on multiple platforms such as Spotify, Amazon Music, iTunes, YouTube, and many more places. Podcasts are available 24/7 and you can listen whenever you want. They cover just about any topic you can think of, from growing orchids to murder mysteries to consumer information. Businesses use podcasts to relay information to customers and potential customers. Podcasts seem more personal than emails because a real person is speaking with real human tones. Plus, a potential customer who you haven’t met yet can listen to your podcast. Podcasts are very flexible in that you can listen to them just about anywhere, doing just about anything: driving a car, taking a walk, riding a bike, exercising, sitting in a doctor’s waiting room, or just relaxing. It is recommended that podcasts should be 20-30 minutes long.

A blog is different from a podcast in some big ways. A blog is in the written word, not audio, and while you can access it from your smart device, it obviously should not be read while driving, biking, walking, or any other activity that requires your full attention. A blog is usually found on a website, business or personal, and is a way to pass on written information to consumers or followers. We have a blog spot on our website that we post to with relative frequency. It’s an information space where customers as well as potential customers can read about our industry, different stone types, solving problems and more. Blogs are normally (not always but normally) informational and educational. A blog post should be at least 300 words. Longer posts, around 1,000 words, are better and should max out at about 2,000 words. 

Who watches “Last Man Standing,” starring Tim Allen? At the end of every show the Mike Baxter character sits at his desk with a video camera and records a brief speech about his business or personal opinions. He uses it to promote his business and his merchandise. He promotes sales, new items and trending items. This is a VLOG. It has the same purpose as a blog, it’s just video instead of written. It is usually found on websites, and like a blog it is normally educational and informational. Also like a blog, you shouldn’t view it while doing anything that requires your undivided attention. A VLOG post should be 5-10 minutes but not more than 20 minutes long.

A relative newcomer to the media market is the vodcast. Vodcast is a spinoff, so to speak, of podcast. It is in reality a video podcast. Like podcasts, vodcasts can be found on many different platforms like YouTube, Amazon, Spotify, and more. Vodcasts are a great new way to attract new customers and give them a sense of your business before they ever contact you. Vodcasts are generally shorter than VLOG posts and are excellent for social media such as Facebook and Instagram. Vodcasts, like podcasts, can be found covering a variety of different topics, but can be entertainment-oriented as well as educational and informative. At this time, there doesn’t seem to be any suggested timing for vodcasts, but based on my own browsing, anything over about 4 minutes tends to lose me. 

Everything mentioned above does not have to happen in real time, meaning they can be viewed or downloaded and watched at a later, more convenient time. Webinars happen in real time with graphics, videos and live speakers. Webinars are usually conveying some sort of information valuable to the audience. Audience members can interact with the speaker and ask questions or make observations. Webinars can be downloaded for viewing later but you lose the ability to interact in real time. Webinars are usually presented in 3 phases: Introductions – where the speaker can greet everyone and layout the agenda. The body of the webinar or the presentation portion is where the speakers present their program and then questions from the audience and sign offs. The ideal webinar should last approximately 60 minutes. If you want to create a series of webinars on the same subject, 15 to 20 minutes is recommended. This is a great way to get your message out to a specific audience. I love webinars. I have participated in many over the years, covering everything from Google Ads to credit card interest to the repair of natural stone. 

All these platforms serve a purpose and your company isn’t locked into just one format. You can select one, or two, or all of them. There are companies out there that will help you get started, or in some cases you can do it on your own. These are just other ways to get the word out about your company, the products you sell, and the services you provide. 

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