Blogging vs. Podcasting

Some time ago, Suzanne Lowe published a posting called The Myth of Intellectual Capital.  In it, she commented on a talk by Paul Dunay  , Bearingpoint’s Director of Global Field Marketing.

According to Lowe, Dunay sang the praises of podcasting over blogging, on the grounds that it required less time.

According to Dunay, who then commented, he was merely pointing out the higher return on investment of publicizing content.

Alan Weiss also chimed in, saying “First, it’s blogging, then podcasting, then video, then something else, with each one expected to take over the world.”

But it’s not a he-said she-said thing.  And contrary to Weiss, much more is at stake here than the latest fad and flavor of the day.

There are distinct parts of the human decision making process; and different media drop into different slots in that process. That’s true for old media, and for new as well.

Podcasts are aptly named. Like their cousins “broad-“ and “narrow-“, they are one-to-many media—non-interactive even in audiences of one.
Podcasts are also consumed in very constrained time limits—a 120-second podcast is going to take—approximately—120-seconds for someone to listen to.

Blogs are more interactive—you can hit “comment” right now in response to this blog, and get the instant gratification associated with seeing “you moron Charlie!” pop up and knowing it can be read in Thailand—right now!

We can also read at varying speeds, including—frequently—a whole lot faster than listening.  And the reader controls the speed.

Over to buyers.  Buyers want many many things, and at different times in their decision-making process. Sometimes they want to interact; sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they want information; sometimes they want visual and aural assurance.

If you’re selling to someone with a buying process more complex than getting a #4 at Burger King, you’ll want to match distinct parts of the buyer’s decision-making process with access to distinct media that help the buyer decide.

It’s not a trivial exercise, anymore than is a decision to buy billboards or broadcast TV or newspaper is for an ad agency serving any client.

Politicians are still sorting this out too. Watching on television as sound-bite based politicians “respond” to blown-up computer screens showing YouTube clips is a crazy mash-up.  Enough to make you agree with Alan Weiss that it’s all a popularity contest.

Except it’s not.  Smart politicians—and other sellers—will integrate media, using each for what it’s best at.

Kennedy didn’t beat Nixon just because Nixon looked bad on TV; TV was part of the package.  And people distrust the absence of a coherent package more than any particular package per se.  

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