It seems to be the communications question of the year: is YouTube’s meteoric rise finally leveling out? What role does podcasting play in the contemporary PR toolbox? Which one has more opportunity? What exactly is a podcast, anyway?
In reality, the debate can never be about which medium is objectively the best; what matters is which platform is going to work best for your brand. That way, you stand to truly get the most out of your hard work and content creation.
As such, let’s take a step back from the anecdotal success stories of both platforms, and explore some alternative perspectives to take when making your assessment.
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If some 80% of businesses ultimately fail, it is fair to assume that 80% of business owners don’t actually know what they’re doing. With this rule of thumb, approach success stories with both podcasting and YouTube with a weighty grain of salt. Focusing on the 1% of people who are truly “making it” is not a big enough sample to base a business decision on.
Think Outside the Box
Podcast payment rates are based on the rate advertisers pay per thousand listens; the podcast rate is currently $20 per thousand listens. Meanwhile, YouTube video views are paid $9.90 per 1,000 views, which is half this rate.
For most podcasters, sticking exclusively to this model is sure to net you less than $5 an episode. This often leads to people abandoning their posts; the average podcaster ditches their project after only seven episodes. In order to be successful, you’re going to need to be creative and hunt down alternative revenue models.
Alternative Podcast Revenue
YouTubers tend to make more revenue through outside brand deals, sponsorships, events and merchandise than they do through advertising on their videos. There are also other, less obvious, avenues to consider:
Acquiring equity in other businesses, such as those belonging to guests who appear on your show, is one way of securing potentially more profitable stakes in alternative pies. This means being strategic in inviting your guests to your show.
Affiliate marketing has become a popular source of “passive income” for influencers. Even so, the use of the word “passive” is misleading; more often than not, some kind of additional promotion is still required in order to earn revenue as an affiliate. Even so, this is a low-risk option: your only task is to vouch for a certain product and reap the benefits from your persuasiveness.
When you have built a skill-set that your audience wants, you stand a chance of entering the $355 million a day information services sector. These days, audiences are typically time-poor, and far more willing to pay to access other people’s experiences. In essence, they are looking for a playbook or blueprint for a shortcut that will help them get to where they want faster than if they try to figure it out on their own. Indeed, your expertise may be more valuable than you think.
While the rest of the communications community debates over YouTube vs Podcasting, know this: relying on advertising revenue from either platform is a fool’s game.