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Why are podcasts the new blogs?

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Do you remember how, ten years ago, we were all obsessed with blogs? And how many times you said (or you’ve been told) “you should start writing a blog”? Suddenly, even your grandma had a blog about gardening tips.

Don’t you think it’s the same now, with podcasts? And doesn’t it seems awkwardly amazing to listen to your grandma’s voice talking about how to keep your cyclamen from dying in the winter? It’s amazing!

It is undeniable that podcasts are living their golden age and that the ingredients are basically three: easy-to-use platforms, professionalism, and incisive content creation – the same successful ingredients for putting together a successful blog. So, what’s the difference? And which one is better?

As Joshua Benton from NiemanLab wrote,

The state of podcasting in 2015 feels a lot like the state of blogging circa 2004. The variety and quality of work being done is thrilling; outside attention is growing; new formats are evolving. We’re seeing the same unlocking of creative potential we saw with blogging, and there’s far more good work being produced than anyone has time to take in.

In 2005, blogs had already been around for a while, but thanks to new software products like WordPress and Blogger, anyone could start one very easily for free. Modern day podcasts are in a similar position. They’ve been around for a long time, but this year,

prompted by popular shows like Serial, and enabled in part by an iOS update that improved the purple podcast icon on the iPhone home screen, they’ve sprung into the mainstream: iTunes lists 16 categories of podcasts, and though no one’s measuring exactly how many exist, most estimates suggest somewhere around 180,000 are currently actively producing episodes out of an estimated 300,000+ shows in iTunes Podcasts catalog. (via Wired)

While everyone discusses what’s better and why, there’s no question that both have value and both communicate in different ways, often reaching different audiences and sets of people. And we agree with Marcus Sheridan:

the key is a willingness to experiment with both, stay diligent, and then watch the results. […] So although the answer to the blogging vs podcasting question is, “It depends,” one thing is for certain—both can do wonders to build your company’s brand, followers, and consumer trust—and that’s all that truly matters.

Anyway, it’s the golden age of podcasting, and the format is open to anyone with a laptop, a microphone, and access to a web server so, if you’re thinking about riding the wave of podcasting, there are two things you should consider:

Professionalism

Until a few years ago, podcasts were made by amateurs and a few major media brands or were just on-demand versions of radio programs. Recently a new category has emerged from Public Radio: professional, dedicated podcasters making shows with the same high production values you hear on the radio. And it’s really not so hard to be technically skilled in creating a podcast, especially if you’re using our Spreaker Studio App.

Telling stories

We’ve already said that: you’re not just a podcaster, you’re a content creator. And when you work to create content, you’re just writing a story: its progress and intended audience have to be clear. That’s why, if your grandma decides to start her gardening podcast, it will be successful: an old, capable woman who wants to share all her knowledge on a very specific topic with an audience. This is where podcasting’s future will lie. Serial’s Koenig is only the most famous example; another This American Life vet, Alex Blumberg, co-founded NPR’s Planet Money podcast, and, more recently, created StartUp, a podcast chronicling the rise of a podcast network, Gimlet Media, that he co-founded with another former NPR producer, Matt Lieber.

Quality, targeted community, and deeply personal voice: that’s podcasting.

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