Webinar vs. Podcast: Choosing the Right Format for Your Business
The goal of any business is to attract new audiences and grow their business. Webinars and podcasts are both effective content marketing formats businesses utilize to reach a wider audience, gain more leads, and build stronger brand awareness every day.
Both options have unique characteristics that are beneficial for business growth, but it can still be difficult to choose one for your business or decide if you can use both strategies without repercussions.
The answer depends on several factors, such as if you intend to run live webinars in comparison to pre-recorded, the forms of media you want to use, how much live interaction you hope to have with your followers, and more. We’ll walk you through the key differences between webinars and podcasts to help you decide which marketing go-to will help you accomplish your brand’s goals.
The differences Between a Webinar and Podcast
The main difference between a webinar and a podcast is that the former is an online seminar that uses both audio and video. Meanwhile, a podcast is a recorded presentation or interview that uses audio only.
Podcasts and webinars are both (usually) free forms of content, although the latter may also be paid depending on who organizes the sessions. Both podcast and webinar formats excel at reaching wider audiences for marketing purposes, and yield excellent lead generation and brand awareness when used properly.
Webinar vs. Podcast: A Side-by-Side Comparison
Format and Structure
Webinars are live or pre-recorded presentations run in a variety of formats like Q&A sessions, panelist discussions, how-tos, onboarding and training sessions, and conferences. It’s hosted at a specific time and date, and attendees typically register for it in advance.
Meanwhile, a podcast is recorded by one or more people in a studio, and then published on a platform for listeners to enjoy. Anyone can tune in to a live or pre-recorded podcast so long as they have access to a platform they can download the content from. Shows usually post podcast episodes on a schedule, ranging from weekly to monthly or even bimonthly, and listeners can subscribe to the content so they’re notified when new episodes are available.
A webinar’s target audience is well honed in most cases, as it requires a greater commitment from attendees in the form of registration (and sometimes payment) to attend. Additionally, the attendees usually share a common need or desired outcome.
A podcast is more public, open for anyone to listen to, and covers a wider audience base. While you may enjoy more podcast listeners, you’ll likely acquire fewer leads and lower conversion rates, since anyone can join and listen.
Audience Interaction and Engagement
Your audience can see and hear your hosts and presentation in a webinar, and you can encourage them to participate in it as well via polls, surveys, and more. Additionally, live webinars allow you to see in real time who’s engaged with your presentation so you can target them with CTAs and other featured actions.
A podcast is often recorded in advance and has far less audience involvement. It relies on interesting and engaging content, including storytelling and unique, specific topics, to keep an audience engaged.
Live webinars are often longer because they cover a lot of ground and have many interactive segments, including polls, surveys, and Q&A sessions. Thanks to their extensive subject matter coverage, it’s not uncommon to see webinars exceed an hour in length. Automated or on-demand webinars may be shorter because they’re edited and lack the same level of live audience interaction (although they can incorporate elements of live interactivity to boost engagement).
Podcasts are usually shorter in comparison and can be broken up into segments for listeners to tune into (similar to chapters in a book). However, an episode can be as long as a presenter wishes, with some popular podcasters hosting longer sessions.
Reach and Distribution
Webinars boast an extensive reach as wide as the organizing brand’s targeted demographic. Although they’re not open to the general public, businesses can distribute them across social media channels in the form of automated and on-demand webinars. More targeted webinars cater to better honed audiences and can lead to greater lead generation.
Podcasts also enjoy a wide reach as they have no barriers to entry outside of the formats listeners can use to access them. They’re distributed by audio platforms for audience downloading so anyone can listen to them, making podcasts a great way to gain a following over time.
Thought Leadership and Customer Relationships
Webinars contain visual content and presentation slides that allow a brand to showcase their authority in their industry. The host can easily form genuine connections with customers through real-time engagement.
Podcasts are educational and create thought leadership as well, especially if the host chooses topics they’re passionate and knowledgeable about that also resonate with their audience. The host can nurture customer relationships via storytelling and sharing life experiences. Often, podcasts are successful simply due to their informative and interesting nature.
Webinars need ample marketing to remain relevant to your intended audience. You need to market your webinars on your social media pages, website, and via targeted email campaigns to keep your intended demographic interested and realize the multiple benefits these virtual events can bring to your business.
Podcasts have an advantage in that they don’t require a predetermined audience before going live. Conversely though, that lack of a target demographic means their marketing efforts take a lot more time to gain a following. Since they have a wider reach however, podcasts are more likely to acquire prospects from unlikely sources that may prove profitable.
Lead Generation and Sales
Webinars have a narrow demographic, so those in attendance are often eager to learn and either make a purchase or at least move to the next phase of the buying process at some point during the event.
Podcasts are designed to be more entertaining and informative and have a broader audience base, so it’s not always a committed party who listens in. However, since podcasts have that wider reach, they can still attract potential customers from unlikely demographics and lead to sales via sponsored purchases.
Follow-Up and Evaluation
It’s much easier to follow up on and evaluate webinars because you can track an audience member’s engagement score throughout the presentation using your webinar platform of choice. Additionally, these online events collect their contact information at registration, which you can employ in your email marketing strategies for more effective and direct communication with audience members before and after the event..
For their part, podcasts allow you to follow up with subscribers to invite them to listen to future episodes. Further, analytics tools show you how many clicks your podcast receives from a single user and can indicate how long a listener stayed for each episode.
Typically, companies gauge a webinar’s performance according to how long an audience member viewed the event, along with how many qualified leads resulted from the presentation. Low drop-off rates along with high customer satisfaction are indicators of a successful webinar. Pay attention to which featured actions garnered the most clicks and responses as well.
You measure podcasts’ success by the number of subscribers and downloads they gain. Shares on social media indicate your podcast is growing in awareness among viewers and, as long as your listening audience continues to increase, you can feel confident you’re providing topics your follower base wants to hear about.
When a Webinar Is the Best Solution
Announcing a new offering or explaining how a complex product works is best done over a webinar. A live presentation your audience can see and participate in will gain their trust and ensure understanding.
Enhance your audience’s learning experience by hosting educational, training, and onboarding sessions in a webinar format. Attendees can ask questions, communicate in real time, and gain motivation from your presenters and each other during live events.
If gaining leads is your goal, a webinar is the best format. You share relevant and actionable content with your audience in exchange for their contact information (gathered when they sign up for your webinar). A follow-up email thanking them for participating in your event can help move your leads forward into the qualifying stage.
When a Podcast Is a Better Fit
Although podcasts are almost exclusively audio content, you can establish yourself as a thought leader in your chosen industry with engaging sessions that contain detailed stories and useful information.
Explore new demographics with a podcast that anyone can listen to nearly anywhere. You attract listeners on their way to work, when at home doing chores, or out jogging — audiences you may otherwise not be able to target. A podcast is a great way to gain followers en masse once you become established.
Webinar vs Podcast: Which Is Best for Your Business?
Both webinars and podcasts shine in different scenarios. The business benefits from creating webinars are acquiring leads and creating brand awareness while podcasts excel at gaining a larger, more widespread audience. You can host both webinars and podcasts with ease to grow your business.
Move Your Business Forward Through Engaging Formats
Hosting a quality webinar or podcast can help you expand brand awareness and secure promising leads. With an easy-to-use webinar platform especially, you can effortlessly craft quality content that’ll resonate with your audience. You can then repurpose that content into different formats, including blog articles, video clips for social media, and, of course, podcast episodes.
Demio helps you grow your brand and build informative webinars that engross your audience from start to finish. With a wealth of engagement features at your fingertips, such as live chat, featured actions, and CTAs, you can keep your audience excited to be part of the presentation. Explore what Demio has to offer and get started for free, or book a demo to learn more before making a decision.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the advantages of hosting webinars?
Webinars allow you to see and interact with your audience directly so you can learn in real time how they respond to your content, presentation, and brand overall. Generate more qualified leads and gain the trust and loyalty of your target audience with ease.
What are the best webinar platforms available?
The best webinar platforms are user-friendly, require no downloads for attendees, and provide a vast library of marketing and engagement features to help you grow your brand. Demio and similar webinar software solutions can easily meet your event-hosting needs.
How can I monetize my webinar effectively?
Webinars foster two-way conversations that familiarize your audience with your brand and products so they’re more likely to engage and commit to a purchase. You can also charge a small attendance fee for your webinars to establish a direct revenue stream.