This is a question that I have an obvious interest in asking. Estimates put the number of blogs at 570 million. How many of those are active, I have no idea. But, that is still a lot of words and a tremendous range of topics. I could find no gross income figures for blogging but my guess it would be in the tens of millions.
A high percentage of blogs are personal, advertising-free (like this one), or purely promotional for a particular business, so not designed to make money. But, those who blog for a living can generate a seven-figure income. Even bloggers who don’t depend on sponsors can generate extra income with books and seminars.
On the other side, two million podcasts have produced over 48 million episodes, a 65% increase in just the last four years. Advertising on podcasts has passed the $1 billion mark. That seems like a rather substantial sum for a relatively new form of communication. Just looking at a platform like Spotify makes it obvious podcasts are enticing to many. Without getting into the Joe Rogan issue, Spotify (and other media sources) have put these verbal episodes front and center.
The advantages of podcasts over written blogs are obvious. Listening to one while exercising, doing housework, walking the dog, even commuting to work is easy. Reading a blog while engaged in these activities…not so much.
Podcasts usually include music or sounds as an identifier or a transition element. Depending on the topic, interviews or a co-hosting situation with two people expressing opinions can be more engrossing than just the written word.
Making money is easier with a podcast. A commercial message with sound, or a jingle, is inherently more memorable than a static display ad. Using sound to sell is a mainstay of marketing.
In addition to a place on the Internet to be found, a podcast requires a digital recorder, editing software, microphone, and a place to record the episode that doesn’t sound like a subway tunnel or a nursery with a baby wailing in the background. A barking dog at the wrong time means extra time splicing that distraction out, or re-recording part of that segment.
A blog requires a home on the Internet. Satisfying Retirement uses the free Google service. Others pay a nominal fee for different options. A computer and a topic to write about are all that are really required to launch a blog. Of course, lots of effort must be made to make a potential reader know the blog exists. But, the entry costs are very low.
My questions to you are straightforward: do you find yourself listening to podcasts more often than you used to? Are you reading fewer blogs because of the time required or do you have a tough time finding ones that make you want to read them on a regular schedule?
The death of blogs has been talked about for at least the last decade or so. They take too much time to read, they are not very enjoyable or well written, or there isn’t enough time in the day to check out all the blogs that may be absorbing. As podcasting and video blogging (known as vlogging) have grown, their written cousins can seem so yesterday.
A confession: regardless of your response, I have no intention of ending this blog anytime soon. I produced a short-lived podcast four years ago that was just the audio version of these written words. It did not attract enough attention to be worth the time so I stopped, though that was just before podcasts became more mainstream.
My interest is whether podcast appeal is real or a creation of wishful thinking. If I do learn that they have a strong draw for you (and your friends or family), I may start a regular series on podcasts if I think it would be worth your time, and mine. Such a project would involve putting a sizable dent in my schedule, but if the ship is sailing in that direction, maybe I should jump on board. No promise, but your responses will get my attention.
A podcast would not replace the blog. Simply put, I find writing too satisfying to give up. So, I am really anxious to get your feedback. In your life, are blogs being replaced by podcasts? Or, are you making the time for both?