Why Podcasting is Becoming Better than Blogging for Building Trust, Engagement, and Loyalty

by Marcus Sheridan

Apple Beats Headphones

2 years ago, a huge portion of the emails I received from my audience looked something like this:

“Marcus, just found you recently and have been reading all your stuff…”

Today, these very same types of emails tend to look like this:

“Marcus, just found you recently and have been listening to all of your stuff…”

It’s the same email with one monumental difference.

The Power of Listening over Reading

Listening

The shift above didn’t hit me until recently but as I’ve contemplated this movement and the way people are engaging with content it all makes very obvious sense:

Podcast listeners become way more loyal, engaged, and connected than blog readers.

Now don’t get me wrong folks, as I’m clearly aware using text (blogging, ebooks, etc.) is still definitively farther reaching than podcasting because of the fact that so many people still don’t consume their daily content through listening.

Nor does Google appreciate audio for search engine purposes.

But I think if we’re all being realistic about where we’re headed, the “future” of the way we consume information will be through audio and visual much more than it will be through text.

Furthermore, let’s take a deeper look at the benefits of podcasting and why it fits today’s digital consumer so very well:

1. Nobody reads blogs or watches TV when driving to work:

Anyone that has ever had a podcast will tell you the #1 comment they get from listeners is, “Thank you for making my drive to work this week so much quicker.”

The same cannot be said for blog articles, TV shows, etc. Distracted driving rules aren’t going away, which means listening will always (until cars drive themselves) trump text and video. Once all vehicles are “podcast friendly” and linked to iTunes, Stitcher, etc.— Podcast listenership is going to blow through the roof.

2. Headphones go with you anywhere and everywhere:

Over the last 18 months since I started my podcast, I’ve gotten messages like this:

“I love working out to Mad Marketing Marcus, thank you!”

“You were with me on a hike up the mountain the other day Marcus.”

“My kids were laughing at your jokes recently Marcus as I was playing you in the background while making dinner.”

I could go on and on with examples, but you get my point. Podcasting is the most “mobile” of all major content marketing mediums, which means the ability for someone to consume on “their” time and in “their” preferred way is profound. Never did I receive so many personal emails until podcasting became a part of my business.

3. Podcasting isn’t about playing the social media game:

I’m going to have a hard time articulating my thoughts on this one (which means people will take me the wrong way), but stay with me for a second:

When it comes to blogging and other forms of written content, it’s easy to manipulate things like titles, quotes, etc. so that it “goes big” on a social level. (i.e. It gets shared a lot, whether people read it or not)

The same is true for video.

But when it comes to a podcast, it’s not about social (for the most part). In other words, it’s a more “real” and “sincere” form of communication.

I’m not saying here that blogging/written content can’t be real and sincere, but the fact is any serious blogger will tell you there have been times when they’ve been influenced by social media to change their content in some way, shape, or form.

This reality is good and bad for podcasting. The bad comes from the fact that most people don’t socially share a podcast unless they actually listen to it.

The good is that most people don’t share a podcast unless they actually listen to  it.

Get my point? ;-)

4. Podcasting allows for an entire group of “non-writers” to share their thoughts with the world:

Truth be told, more people in this world *don’t* like to write than *do* like to write. If this was not the case, content marketers and CMOs wouldn’t be crying the blues that no one in the company wants to give them content (which is a big, big problem across the board).

This dislike for writing has always stunted some incredibly thoughtful people from sharing with the world what’s in their head, but with podcasting, the only thing someone needs is the willingness to talk and speak up—something that a much higher percentage of people are inclined to do.

Text Still Rules Most Organizations…For Now

As mentioned earlier, because way fewer people listen to podcasts than read content, the written word is still more powerful for most organizations in 2014 as a business driver. That being said, I have a few closing thoughts:

1. Podcasting isn’t going anywhere but up.

2. If all businesses and brands started seeing themselves as “problem solvers,” most would then also see how a podcast could benefit their customer base.

3. Google and the rest of the search engines will eventually love audio just as much as they loves text.

4. Those businesses that start a podcast today will dominate that segment of their niche in 5 years once everyone else decides to jump in the game.

I’ve said my thoughts, now I’d be curious to hear yours.

What do you seeing as the future of “listening” versus “reading?” How have both impacted your business and what are your plans (for podcasting and textual content) as you look ahead?





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{ 42 comments… read them below or add one }

Jon Loomer July 22, 2014 at 10:33 am

Agreed on #3, Marcus. I know you struggled with that one, but I know where you’re going. I’m sure there’s some iTunes manipulation that goes on that I’m not doing, but for the most part you just hit record and try to create the best, most helpful episode possible.

With a blog post, someone might share it entirely for the title or bullet points (which is often what people read anyway). With a podcast, someone has to actually listen to it (for the most part) to get its value. That takes work!

Keep rockin’, my man.

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Marcus Sheridan July 25, 2014 at 12:22 pm

Appreciate your thoughts my man, as always.

BTW, meant to tell you, congrats on the BBall championship. Love seeing those photos of you and your baseball family. The bring me quite the smile. :)

Marcus

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TODD July 22, 2014 at 11:35 am

Marcus, nail on head.
One point that goes “against” I would think is that text ie blog posts etc are still more likely to build community/tribe/etc- while podcasting CAN do that, unless you are a Carolla or Kevin Smith- doing it by itself is not likely to build that.

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Marcus Sheridan July 25, 2014 at 12:20 pm

Hey Todd, and good point. I think the whole tribal thing will continue to evolve and clearly this is a conversation I suspect we’ll be having every 6 months for quite some time in the future.

Thanks so much for stopping by,

Marcus

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Jeremy Abel July 22, 2014 at 12:06 pm

Hey Marcus,

Couldn’t agree with you more- podcasting has created a new medium through which the companies can continue providing value and keeping in touch with their audience- in a convenient manner while communicating in a deeper, more personal format than traditional content.

And isn’t that what makes some of the best brands so powerful (i.e. their ability to naturally ingrain themselves into our lives by considering how their content fits into the consumer’s *context*)? Stick with me here: think about cereal bars for people who eat breakfast on-the-go; think about TripAdvisor’s app that allows users to download city data for content-on-the-go (thus eliminating the fear of roaming fees).

We often talk reference how many times a potential customer needs to interact with a company before reaching out to them; podcasting not only provides another touch-point, it provides a focused experience (when I listen to the Mad Marketing Podcast on my drive into work, there are no Google Chrome tabs, email alerts, or phone calls to distract me- it’s just the podcast (audio) and the road (visual)).

Great perspective, Marcus. Always grateful for you for sharing.

Jeremy

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Marcus Sheridan July 25, 2014 at 12:18 pm

As always Jeremy, you just have a magical way of explaining things so that people will nod their head and say…”Yeah, that’s exactly it.”

Appreciate the heck out of you my man,

Marcus

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Emma July 22, 2014 at 12:10 pm

I think this is right on. Radio and podcasting is a hugely overlooked channel for marketing currently and will eventually make a resurgence. Just like print is not dead, the audiovisual arts are just as valuable if not more for communicating your messages. NPR and others have some really promising material, making radio an art, and therefore more desired listening than the average show or advertising. The theatrical radio shows of the past, in studio music, and performances, have a great deal of potential for reaching ears. Lastly, I’m excited to see how search engines will adapt…if a photo can be scanned online now for keywords and objects, who’s to say that can’t eventually be done with a video or audio file?

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Marcus Sheridan July 25, 2014 at 12:17 pm

Emma, love where you’re going with this comment and your thoughts on where this is all headed. Exciting times ahead!!

Have a great weekend,

Marcus

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Ani Alexander July 22, 2014 at 12:10 pm

Agree! I started my podcast few weeks ago and enjoy it much more than blogging. Why? Because as you said Podcast listeners become way more loyal, engaged, and connected than blog readers.
Podcast listeners become way more loyal, engaged, and connected than blog readers. And I felt it immediately!

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Brian Knapp July 22, 2014 at 12:11 pm

I am an avid listener of podcasts and frankly I think it is a great way to learn and catch some nuance that is missed reading the written word. Sometimes people say things or add emphasis in areas that you can’t clearly communicate in writing, or even worse, you might not even realize you are doing.

Mostly I think podcasts are something that people are just now starting to see the value in. My personal belief is that the future of selling and marketing lies in taking the very old idea of salesmanship or “salesmanship in print” and turning it into other forms of media. The combination of video, audio, image, text, and social is a powerful one and very few people are really doing much more than one form very well.

When people start to combine all of those in smart ways with smart distribution, the results will be nothing short of amazing. That being said, only a very small percentage of businesses will crack more than one channel simply because there are too many channels and few can see the vision of a truly multi-channel syndicated approach to selling.

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Marcus Sheridan July 25, 2014 at 12:12 pm

Dang Brian, this was a sweet way to put it all together my man and a great look into the future. Sounds like you’ve seriously got the makings of a dang good post here my man! :-)

Appreciate you and your incredible thoughtfulness, online and off.

Marcus

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George Thomas July 22, 2014 at 1:38 pm

Marcus,

Love the article and wanted to hop on and agree with Brian Knapp! Companies need to wrap their minds about a multi-channel approach. I also wanted to state that if you think for about 30 seconds, you can find more places you CAN consume podcasts than you can’t. Here is just a short list:

1. On the toilet (don’t judge you know you have)
2. While in the shower (PRO TIP – put your phone in an empty cup it increases the volume over the running water)
3. While mowing the grass
4. While cleaning the house
5. While on an airplane
6. Waiting in line at the… (well, any line actually)
7. When at work (in the background of course)
8. In bed before you go to sleep (some of those podcasters have really great voices)

That’s just a few places you could be learning, growing, and positioning yourself for a very successful future. I think anything that makes you better is a great idea!

Just my two cents,
George

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Marcus Sheridan July 25, 2014 at 12:10 pm

#BestGeorgeThomasCommentEver

My wife laughed out loud on this one bud! ;-)

Marcus

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Chris Marr July 22, 2014 at 5:29 pm

Hey Marcus,

Love this article as a follow up to what you mentioned on your podcast episode #32.

Here’s my response to you article with 10 reasons why I started the Marketing Academy Podcast – http://www.learning-everyday.co.uk/ten-reasons-marketing-academy-podcast/

Don’t forget to be awesome!

Chris.

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Marcus Sheridan July 25, 2014 at 12:10 pm

Sweet Chris!! :)

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Jamie tieche July 22, 2014 at 10:50 pm

Hi Marcus, I was recently introduced to your content via Ryan Hanleys Content Warfare podcast, and, well I couldn’t agree more with your thoughts here!

I really got into consuming podcasts about a year ago, and it’s now the only form of comtentnincomsume in its entirety regularly, due largely to the minimal distractions and ease of consumption.

Also, podcasts have allowed me to really feel like I know the presenter in a more intimate way due to the fact that I can hear their voice,accent, and nuances (Ryan Hanley, Wade Harman and so on) which helps me to relate or not relate much quicker than via written text.

Anyhow, great work, keep it up!

Your newest fan!

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Marcus Sheridan July 25, 2014 at 12:09 pm

Hey Jamie!! Well welcome to the site and I’m so glad Hanley made the intro. That guy is one cool cat :-)

Continued success!

Marcus

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Bernard Kelvin Clive July 23, 2014 at 1:45 am

You have really nailed it! Nobody reads a blog while driving :), podcast provides the power of multi-tasking. I have always believed in the power of podcasting. It has been one of the most effective learning tool for me so far. Thank you!

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Marcus Sheridan July 25, 2014 at 12:07 pm

Appreciate that Bernard…continued success sir and have a great weekend as well!

Marcus

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Pankaj July 23, 2014 at 6:42 am

Hi Marcus,

I was the firm believer that video marketing is the future of online marketing, but you proved me wrong with this article. Now I would say podcast is the future of online and even offline marketing. What I find more appealing is that you can listen the podcast even if you’re doing any other work like driving or taking bath etc.

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Marcus Sheridan July 25, 2014 at 12:07 pm

Thanks Pankaj. I think they both certainly have their place, and will only grow and grow…that is for sure. :)

Best to you,

Marcus

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Ramesh Ranjan July 23, 2014 at 12:49 pm

Great post as always, Marcus. I think one of the obstacles to starting a company podcast might be having the right equipment to do it right. Can’t really trust the computer microphone! But I guess a simple headset does the trick?

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Marcus Sheridan July 25, 2014 at 12:05 pm

Go with the Blue Yedi USB Mic Ramesh. About $120, and it’s great…and what many, many use in this space with a very high satisfaction rate.

Marcus

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Sam Edge July 23, 2014 at 6:58 pm

I’m a reader and a writer. Being a self-centered, type A, male, I think everyone is just like me.

This article really opened my eyes.

I’ve been inspired by the Sales Lion, Marcus, for one main reason. When I read that your goal was to “Listen, Educate, Communicate, and Be Helpful” (I think I got those right) It really hit home that we have an opportunity to do something special here with Content and Inbound Marketing.

We have an opportunity to get away from just “selling stuff” and actually create and share new ideas. There is some real economic motivation behind good content right now. More and more the money in getting behind it.

That means there’s money in doing the right thing! Being virtuous is always better when you getting paid.

My goal as a writer may be different than the C-suite types I produce content for – but I feel like the stars have really lined up on this one, and we can help move the economy forward AND make a difference in peoples lives through the sharing of ideas.

This article blows that wide open from just writers to everyone. We all have something to contribute and with the potential movement towards podcasting this opportunity is only going to grow.

I will throw a bit of a blanket on the party. You can’t skim a podcast. That’s what’s kept me away. I speed read a zillion pages a day and I get antsy listening to podcasts. But that means its probably good for me.

I’ve been struggling with how to write about something along these lines – “Content Marketing and the Revolution [or Evolution] of Ideas” Writing this comment just blew open the door on that – off I go.

Thanks Marcus,

Best, Sam

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Marcus Sheridan July 25, 2014 at 12:04 pm

Ahh, now this is what it’s all about Sam–for the writer and for the reader…who then becomes the writer. LOVE it. :)

Seriously, I like your style Sam, and I hope we’ll cross paths in real life soon.

Have a great weekend,

Marcus

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Sam Edge July 25, 2014 at 7:22 pm

Thanks Marcus. I’m fairly new to content and inbound marketing, but I’m a fan. I’ll definitely be in touch.
Best, Sam

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Craig McBreen July 23, 2014 at 11:21 pm

Hi Marcus,

I agree with most of what you’re saying here especially “The good is that most people don’t share a podcast unless they actually listen to it.” So true.

I only wish I had started earlier … as you know, I’m just now putting together a series of interviews to launch later summer/early fall. I do believe there is tremendous power in this medium for all the reasons you mentioned. A heck of a lot of work too.

I also love the fact that a podcast is so easy to listen to while you’re writing (or writing show notes for your very own podcast) to prepare a post or for a meeting, etc.

Why, just the other day I was listening to one of your shows to refresh my memory before a big client meeting ;)

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Marcus Sheridan July 25, 2014 at 12:01 pm

Craig, that was a fun comment to read buddy—and further evidence of what makes this medium so cool.

But the question is, how did the big client meeting go??? ;-)

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bàn thí nghiệm July 24, 2014 at 12:55 am

I also noticed that, podcasts have allowed me to really feel like I know the presenter in a more intimate way due to the fact that I can hear their voice,accent. I think podcasting is a good idea which I never thought about.

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Nick July 24, 2014 at 11:26 am

I totally agree. I just started a podcast with my 4-year-old son (now 5) and am releasing one on my own next month.

I’ve had such amazing responses from listeners already on the one starring my son. And I’m getting amazing people to interview on the other one, much higher quality than I’ve seen on many blogs. It’s such an amazing platform.

The challenge will be to connect calls to action, as it’s not as simple as just clicking to do something, as there is often a separation of time and medium for the calls to action.

But it’s a great forum to establish authority and connection with people.

Great post.

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Marcus Sheridan July 25, 2014 at 11:59 am

Good points Nick. Yes, not have an “audio CTA” is a difficulty when it comes to conversions and lead generation, I’ve found the same to be true.

But congrats on your success and a GREAT idea involving your son in the process!!!

Best,

Marcus

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Bluesol July 25, 2014 at 6:41 am

Marcus

Podcasting is already big. As so many people buy smartphones and can listen on their way to work as you mentioned, while running, cooking etc.

The speed of life adds to it as well

let’s talk technical: what plugins do you use to insert it on your website? I use blubrry powerpress, and it is really good.

two more questions: when you observe the nwesletter signup and your blog readership, have they risen up since you launched your podcast?
Your writing is good, very smooth, I read the article without stopping, what about the growth?

I have one more question: I have been recently disappointed with a newsletter signup we use, which is popup domination, I see that you use a sign up popup on your site, can you share the name of it? is it good?

Thanks in advance
Tom

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Marcus Sheridan July 25, 2014 at 11:56 am

Hi Tom, and thanks for the note bud.

I’m by no means a tech expert with all this but like you, I use BB powerpress…and host on Lisbyn.
As for a connection between readership and signups, I’ve never dug that deep. This is mainly because when I started my podcast, I saw it more as “fun” versus business. Now I realize that it’s a HUGE business lead gen tool.

As for the pop up, I use Pippity, and know many big players in this space that are very happy w Pippity as well.

Thanks again for stopping by Tom and best to you sir!!

Marcus

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findyahan July 25, 2014 at 7:04 am

I always wanted to get into podcasting but for some reason never had the time to actually do it. I already have all the equipment that is needed too so maybe I will try it for my fitness site.

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Jeff Brown July 25, 2014 at 2:27 pm

Having spent 26 years in radio prior to podcasting, I can tell you from first hand experience that no other form of content delivery comes close to competing with audio for intimacy.

If we as podcasters will be careful not to do things that chip away at that intimacy – talking to “listeners” instead of connecting to one person, as an example – then we have nowhere to go but up.

I’m especially excited by what’s happening in the car dashboard. People who would never otherwise think to listen to podcasts on their mobile devices will have them offered up and available at the touch of a button via the dash.

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Scott Riley July 25, 2014 at 4:33 pm

Hey Marcus, do you believe every business should podcast? What about River Pool’ish type companies?

Thanks for all you do, really enjoy your stuff.

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Paul Tansom July 26, 2014 at 7:20 pm

Not quite sure I agree with you here, although I may be in the minority. I subscribe to several podcasts, probably half of which I’ve not got round to listening to – in spite of the fact that I know the people that present them in most cases and have been subscribed for a year or two in some cases. Of those that I have listened to none of them have I listened to every episode, in fact most I have only listened to a couple. These same people I have read and interacted with more on their blogs, Google+, etc..

I guess the fact that I don’t have a commute to work probably limits my listening time, but even when I do commute I tend to prefer the radio or a CD (i.e. music) to talking. I have tried both audio books and podcasts when commuting and find that my mind sometimes wanders – attention to driving, something distracts me because I’m not shut away quietly listening, etc. I am then left trying to skip back to work out where I was last following (or miss what was being discussed by just carrying on). This is much easier to cope with when reading as it is easier to scan a page and see where you left off. Apart from driving (obviously) I tend to read when commuting.

Put it another way, I saw a reference to this blog post on Google+. It caught my eye so I clicked, read the post and commented. If it had been a link to a podcast I wouldn’t have bothered. Perhaps it is because the time commitment for a podcast is much greater, and those I have subscribed to I want to listen to properly and not just have on as background noise. Perhaps I’m just odd!

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corey lewis July 28, 2014 at 12:12 pm

I’ve been checking out podcast’s lately like Grant Cordone’s and many others but i’ve still trying to figure out how it could suit my needs and how i can make it work for me and my site! Maybe it is time for the switch?

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imran iqbal August 9, 2014 at 5:18 am

a very good and unique artical, thanks for sharing these kind of articals
keep visiting global tech news

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Nathan Lomax August 10, 2014 at 2:45 pm

Great article Marcus!

Podcasting has become a great way to build trust and loyalty amongst your existing customers but I have also found that it has help build authenticity and authority for new prospective clients. I find that hearing someone’s voice or as they say hearing it from the horses mouth really does help build trust. A great read. Thanks again!

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Marcus Sheridan August 13, 2014 at 9:04 am

Glad you liked it Nathan, continued success bud!

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Bernard September 13, 2014 at 12:07 am

There’s definately a great deal to know about this topic.
I love all the points you have made.

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