Podcasts vs Videocasts: Did Video Really Kill the Radio Star?
by Kim Dietrich
A picture is worth a thousand words
Videocasts – also known as video podcasts, vlogs, vodcasts, vidcasts, or even distributed television – are essentially podcasts with an added visual element. They can be as simple or as complex as you like. You can display a static image on a screen (not the most ideal) or full video of a host recording an episode (definitely more effective!). Either way, as indicated in the phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words”, adding a visual element can be an incredibly powerful way to strengthen your audio message and help grow your business.
A Deeper Connection
Adding video to your podcast gives your message a layer of visual complexity and emotional depth. Audio engages only one of our senses — video doubles the impact. Beyond that, we know that humans respond powerfully to visual cues, especially when it comes to body language and facial expressions. Our ears hear what is being said, but our eyes read between the lines, picking up the subtle, unspoken cues in a conversation or presentation. Rather than just hearing the words you are speaking in a podcast, a videocast draws your followers in with a whole myriad of visual stimuli.
Not only is visual content more powerful than mere audio, studies have shown that from a very young age, humans prioritize looking at faces over other visual stimuli; we are hardwired to search for faces and interpret the emotions they portray. When you put your face on a screen your followers are programmed to seek it out. Additionally, people instinctively gravitate to what is familiar. As your followers see your face again and again, you become more familiar to them, they feel more connected to you personally and in turn, your brand loyalty grows. Putting your face on your message gives you a huge advantage over podcasters putting themselves out there in audio alone.
Reaching a Broader Audience
It’s a given that reaching a larger audience is key to growing your brand. There are many ways to do this, but social media is one of the best places to start because social platforms are optimized for video content. Maybe you’ve noticed while scrolling that video plays automatically, but is set to play without sound? Audio takes a backseat to video on social media. Some social channels even let you live-cast – giving you the opportunity to form intimate connections with your followers as they watch you broadcast live.
Video viewers on social media are an enormous existing audience. YouTube (the second largest social media platform) has almost 2 billion users logging in every month. If you don’t have video content there you are missing a huge potential reach. Google owns YouTube, and it prioritizes videos posted there in its search results, so having your videocast on YouTube will increase your Google search rankings in the long run.
Wherever you decide to post your videocast, you can have it link back to your website, driving traffic to your business. In turn, posting video content on your website will lengthen the amount of time people spend there, again working to boost your SEO ranking and make it easier for people to find you.
Are there drawbacks to videocasting?
Videocasting does involve an additional commitment in terms of time and money. You’ll want to use a decent camera and ensure that you have optimal lighting and a decent background to showcase yourself and your brand in the best way possible. Guests to your show may find the prospect of being video- recorded more intimidating, so you’ll want to weigh that against the possible benefits. Also, unless you want to complicate things with video editing software, you’ll need to ensure that you don’t do anything embarrassing or inappropriate while filming!
All in all, the potential returns of adding video to your podcast outweigh any drawbacks. Video can help grow your reach, increase your brand recognition, deepen connections with your followers and even improve your search rankings on the web. If you’re currently podcasting you have already done the lion’s share of the work: determined your purpose, set some goals, decided on a message, arranged for guests and come up with content for each episode. Given the potential benefits, adding video is pretty much a no-brainer!
Kim Dietrich is a Canadian freelance writer specializing in lifestyle and business writing for online and print media. Her work has appeared in Toronto Life magazine, East Coast Living and Saturday Night.