Blogs vs Vlogs vs Podcasts vs…. Huh?

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Content is king! Blogs, vlogs, podcasts and video podcasts! You watch the content. You’ve been thinking about making the content. But what should you make? You already have the best idea ever? Great! So. HOW should you make it? That’s a big question. Let’s take a step back and ask, what do you want your content to “look” like?

Let’s start with the basics. There are four general categories of content that we all consume. Each present information in a slightly different way.

First, just so we’re all on the same page, let’s define those four categories. Don’t worry. I’ll include examples. Then let’s talk a bit about what category would work best for your great idea.

What are the four basic categories of content?

Communication is hard. To do so, we have to agree on what words mean. Here’s how the interweb defines our four categories: blogs, vlogs, podcasts and video podcasts.

Blog:

a regularly updated website or web page, typically one run by an individual or small group, that is written in an informal or conversational style. (Oxford Languages)

So, yeah. You’re reading one right now! Blogs can be about anything and usually contain a lot of opinion about a subject the author feels some level of expertise. Or not. The expert part doesn’t matter so much as the opinion. And with that, I hope you keep reading….

Vlog:

a personal website or social media account where a person regularly posts short videos. (Oxford Languages)

That definition feels a little old. Vlog has become a catchall term for lots of different video content. I disagree that the videos are “short”. Vlogs are commonly 15 minutes and longer. They’re process driven. They show rather than just tell. They generally take a significant time to shoot and are sometimes highly edited. These days the line between a vlog and a fully produced TV program is blurred. My wife and I watch a lot of cooking videos, tiny house videos and woodworking videos. These all qualify as vlogs.

Podcast:

a digital audio file made available on the internet for downloading to a computer or mobile device, typically available as a series, new installments of which can be received by subscribers automatically.  (Oxford Languages)

The key here is that a podcast is audio-only. A podcast is essentially radio on the internet. It’s usually a talk show of some kind that carries a general theme. Sometimes it’s a single host waxing poetically. Or it could be multiple hosts and guests sharing opinions and experiences. The point here is that all the information can be conveyed via audio, usually through exposition and conversation. “Junkfood Cinema” and “Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard” are a couple of my favorites. There’s usually some editing involved to tighten things up (and make the hosts and guests sound super-smart by deleting all the pauses and ums).

Video Podcast:

A video podcast (or vodcast) is a podcast that contains video content. (Wikipedia) 

This is exactly what it sounds like. A podcast with video. “The Joe Rogan Experience” and “Miyam Bialik’s Breakdown” are exactly this. It’s like watching a radio interview. Most unboxing and review videos would qualify as video podcasts as well. Like Joe Rogan, some video podcasts just point cameras at the people talking. Others might drop in some visual elements during the edit like charts and graphs or shoot video of a product as they give their “expert” opinion. 

So, what’s the big difference between a vlog and a video podcast?

Great question. And honestly, the lines just continue to blur. Categories are just ways to describe things so we can all understand what we’re trying to make. I think the difference comes down to asking another question. Are you talking about something or are you doing something? If you’re just talking on camera, video podcast. If you’re showing how you do something, vlog.

Okay, what should you make?

First, I’m not here to tell you that one is better than another or tell you what will get the most views or downloads. Getting eyeballs on your work is a completely different topic and you gotta make what makes you feel good. But I can ask a few questions that might help you make a good choice.

1. What can you realistically create based on your skill set and available time and the skills and availability of your collaborators? 

It goes without saying that a written blog with a few photos on your website or social account about your latest landscaping project is less time consuming than shooting a vlog that shows you doing the work as you describe your choices in detail on a live microphone, then editing it into a tight 10 minute video for your Youtube channel. Be honest with yourself. Maybe start small.

2. Will your audience benefit from moving beyond the written word? And if so, will they benefit by including video?

Will a blog on your website scratch your content-making itch? If you’re reading this, I’m gonna guess not. You want the media consumer to feel your passion. Cool! If you’ve got a lot to say and you want to have guests, consider the audio-only podcast. People can download it and listen to it like we used to listen to the radio. In the car. At the office. At their leisure. Podcast!

You may be asking, “But Third Rail’s podcast has video! Why do you get to do it with video?” Simple. We’re a company that makes videos! We have the gear and the skills and the time to do it. If you have the desire to shoot video, do it! If you’re interviewing celebs like Joe Rogen and Mayim Bialik, shoot video! Video podcast!

3. Are you gonna talk about stuff or are you gonna do stuff?

We’ve already talked about talking about stuff. But if you’re gonna DO stuff, you definitely want video. How much video work you do is up to you. June Xie and the folks at Delish.com do a lot of work for her Youtube content. But there’s also hundreds of hours of “clean with me” content. Seriously. People set up a camera and clean their house, very simple production work for a lot of Youtube content. Vlog!

Okay. I’ve shared my knowledge. Your turn! Go make content!

Want more help?

If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed or have more specific questions, please feel free to contact us. At Third Rail Content, we don’t just make videos. We consult on all kinds of projects, anything and everything that will help you communicate at your best. Contact Us. We’re ready to help.

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