When you want to communicate with your remote workforce, your customers, and/or your prospective customers, there's a variety of routes you can take. There's the classic company newsletter, of course. But more recently, webcasts, webinars, and podcasts have grown in popularity.
All three mediums are a great way to get your content in front of your audience, building relationships and your brand identity in the process. So how do you choose which is best for your business?
In this article, we discuss what webcasts, webinars, and podcasts are, the differences between them, and which option is best for your business depending on your goals.
A webcast - short for "web broadcast" - essentially involves broadcasting over the internet. Webcasts are commonly used by medium and large businesses to live stream events and meetings to a large audience (in the hundreds or even thousands).
That might be a conference, a virtual town hall, an AGM, or a big product launch. The content can be either live or pre-recorded (or a combination of the two), but the viewing is done simultaneously, and the end result is well-polished and professional.
Since the audience numbers are high, webcasting is typically non-interactive - think of it like a TV show or a TED Talk. That said, there's often the option to give online attendees the chance to submit questions and engage with polls.
Webcasts are ideal when you want to live stream a meeting or event - like a conference, a virtual town hall, or a big product launch - to a large audience. If you don't have the capacity to host your entire audience in a physical location, or your audience is spread far and wide, then a webcast is a brilliant alternative.
There are loads of webcasting tools to choose from, each with different features, from event management tools to Zoom integration and analytics functions. These three are good all-rounders:
A webinar, short for "web seminar", is an online presentation, meeting, or workshop, typically used for smaller audiences. Speakers present using webcams and microphones, and display slideshows or other multimedia elements, or share their screens.
A key feature of webinars is that they encourage attendees to engage and interact in real-time, with features including live chat, Q&A, polls, and surveys.
Like webcasts, webinars can also be pre-recorded. This is particularly useful if you need to do a specific online presentation (perhaps for training purposes) more than once. To make sure the webinar remains interactive, you can turn on live chat while the pre-recorded webinar is running and answer any audience questions live.
Webinars are popular with marketers focused on lead generation, and with 40% of total webinar audiences converting into leads, it's easy to see why.
Webinars are ideal for workshops, meetings, and presentations when you're working with a smaller audience and want them to be able to interact as part of the session. They're particularly great for knowledge sharing, onboarding, and training, and they're an effective way to convert your audience into leads.
Many webcasting tools can be used for webinars too, but these three are specifically designed for webinars:
A podcast is a pre-recorded digital audio file that your audience can stream online or download and listen to at a time that suits them. Most podcasts are created as part of a series or collection, but they can also be one-offs.
Podcasts are typically used by businesses to share company information, industry information, or information about new products and services, and they often include interviews with other industry experts. They're a great way to build trust with your customers and prospective customers because they allow you to showcase your expertise and knowledge (as well as your personality).
In the US alone, the number of monthly podcast listeners is predicted to hit 164 million in 2024. That presents a huge opportunity for businesses, with an enormous number of potential customers to reach!
Podcasts take time to create, but with an audience that large at your fingertips, it's often worth it. And to get the most out of each episode, savvy marketers use podcast transcriptions to repurpose podcasts into other types of marketing material, such as social content and blog posts.
If you want to grow your audience, and you have time to create regular content, then a podcast is a great way of sharing your expertise, expanding your reach, and building awareness of your brand.
You'll need access to a variety of tools when creating a podcast, from podcast recording and editing software to a hosting provider and transcription software. Here are the three best tools in each of those categories:
Webcasts and webinars are often confused, and the terminology is sometimes used interchangeably. But while webcasts are better for live streaming an event to larger audiences, webinars are better for smaller audiences. Webinars are typically more interactive, making them better for training sessions and workshops, whereas webcasting tends to be a one-way flow of information.
The most obvious difference between webcasts and podcasts is that a webcast involves both audio and visual content, while podcasts are just audio. The other key difference is that webcasts are live-streamed, whereas podcasts are pre-recorded and available to listen to on demand. They are similar in that neither is designed to be interactive, however, webcasts do have the possibility for audience engagement, whereas podcasts do not.
The main difference between podcasts and webinars is that podcasts are audio-only, while webinars combine audio and visual content. Since podcasts are pre-recorded, there's no opportunity for audience engagement. Webinars, on the other hand, encourage real-time engagement and interaction from attendees via live chat, polls, and Q&As.
Both are great for building relationships with prospective customers, but podcasts are better for building brand awareness with a wider audience, while webinars are better for converting your audience into paying customers.
We hope you've enjoyed learning more about the differences between webcasts, webinars, and podcasts. Hopefully, you've come away with a better understanding of which might be most beneficial for your business. If you decide to take the podcast route, check out our podcast guides to help you from setup through to promotion.
Written By Katie Garrett and Irina Serdyukovskaya