There are many things to consider when choosing an outlet for your content. And, as much as I wish there was, there’s no easy checklist or quiz you can take to find out which is right for you. There are simply too many things to consider, including which one you are really interested in.
Each outlet – blog, podcast and video channel – can help you grow your business by letting your audience know, like, and trust you, so there’s really no wrong choice here. The only wrong choice is to not start!
To help you make the best choice for your business I’ve broken down the 3 primary content outlets to explain what they are, what skills are needed, and what equipment you will need to get started.
What is a blog?
A blog is a regularly updated website, typically written in an informal or conversational style, that exists to entertain or to convey information to an audience.
There are 2 key pieces of information in that ever-so-dry definition.
First, a blog needs to be something that you’re going to update regularly. You can’t just post a couple of articles and let them sit there, especially if you want to build a following. A blog requires consistent posting of new content to keep people coming back week after week.
Secondly, there needs to be a purpose to your blog. What are your readers going to get when they go there?
These ideas are true for all of the types of content you produce.
What skills do you need to blog?
Let’s start with the obvious one. You need to be a decent writer in order to be a blogger. I’m not saying you need to be a professional and know all the rules of grammar or anything – blogging is much less formal than that. But you do need to be able to organize your thoughts in writing.
You’re also going to need to be comfortable with technology and willing to learn about websites. Yes, you could hire someone to design and manage your site, but that’s really expensive and not very practical.
There are other skills that will come in handy and you can learn as you go. Those would be things like creating graphics, search engine optimization, and social media management.
What equipment do you need to be a blogger?
The equipment needed for blogging is pretty basic, which makes it a great entry point for people who want to start content marketing. All you need is a computer with a good internet connection, a website with a hosting plan, a theme for your website, and the dedication to go for it.
What is a podcast?
A podcast is an audio-only broadcast that can be downloaded from streaming services or one’s own website, typically created as an ongoing or limited-time series.
While podcasts can be limited in nature (i.e. Serial), for business purposes, an ongoing format is preferred in order to keep your audience coming back.
What skills do you need to podcast?
Like bloggers, podcasters need to be able to organize your thoughts, but not necessarily in writing. Podcasters need to be well spoken and able to articulate ideas clearly.
You’ll also need a good ear for catching audio issues during editing to ensure a good experience for your listeners and working knowledge of your editing software.
Like blogging, you’ll also pick up skills like graphics, SEO, and social media as you learn.
What equipment do you need to be a podcaster?
There are podcast outlets that allow you to record and edit on your smart phone and upload to the internet for free. However, if you’re podcasting as a way to grow your business, I recommend upgrading a bit. You’ll want a good quality microphone, recording and editing software, and a podcast host.
You’re also going to want a website where you can host your own content and sell your products or services, but you can get started without it.
What is a video channel?
A video channel is an audio-visual outlet for content that can be downloaded or streamed. YouTube is the dominant video channel host at the moment, so many video content creators refer to themselves as YouTubers.
What skills do you need to have a video channel?
As with all forms of content marketing, the first skill you need to be a YouTuber is the ability to organize and present information. (Yes, YouTube can be used for entertainment, but that typically doesn’t serve a business AND it’s extremely difficult to break into entertainment categories on the platform.)
You will also need creative visual skills in order to make visually appealing videos, as well as an ear for good audio. In fact, most professionals agree that good audio is even more important than good visuals.
If you choose to be in your videos you’ll need to be comfortable on camera, and if not you’ll need to be able to create action in some way.
What equipment do you need to be a YouTuber?
Like podcasting, you’re also going to want a website where you can host your own content and sell your products or services, but you can get started without it.
In the end, the most important thing is to get started and be consistent with your posting. And remember, you’re allowed to change your mind or grow into a new form of content. If you start with a blog today and decide to transition to a podcast later, that’s okay!