Webinar or podcast, which one to use? If you have ever asked yourself this question, you are not alone. There is no simple here, as when to choose what depends on what you’re trying to achieve. Let’s look at the difference between a webinar and a podcast, and you can decide which option is best for you.
Webinars are live events with video and presentation slides. Podcasts are pre-recorded and produced downloadable audio episodes. A podcast is democratized online version of a radio show, whereas a webinar is an online equivalent to a seminar or public speaking. For podcasts, you’re merely a passive listener, while in webinars, there is some interactivity.
The Primary Difference Between a Podcast and a Webinar
First, let us define what these terms are. By knowing the meaning of each of these terms, we can easily tell what the primary difference is between the two.
What is a Podcast?
Essentially, a podcast is an episodic audio recording that a podcaster uploads online. It’s like a radio talk show that you can listen to live or download and listen to later. A podcast is usually free and accessible on your computer or smartphone. With radio shows, you have to catch them at a specific time. Podcasts, on the other hand, you can listen to them at any time.
Podcasts touch on a number of different topics, from business to health and wellness to personal finance. Podcasters can even talk about topics that radio stations would never allow. An episode can be as short as one minute or extend to over two hours (when the podcaster wants to cover a particular topic in detail).
What is a Webinar?
A webinar is basically a seminar that you host online. It happens in real-time and in front of a global audience, meaning anyone with an internet connection can “attend”. The host of the webinar does a presentation, demonstration, or workshop for the audience that encourages participation and relationship building.
Just like podcasts, webinars also touch on a variety of topics. However, webinars are extremely popular in the business, technology, and health industries. They are usually paid events, where the person speaking at the webinar is a professional in that particular field.
So what’s the primary difference?
By now you have probably worked out the difference between a webinar and a podcast. A webinar is an online seminar, while a podcast is like an online radio talk show. Webinars are live events and podcasts are downloadable audio episodes. For podcasts, you’re merely a passive listener, while in webinars, there is some interactivity.
The types of webinar formats
There are plenty of webinar formats that you can use that it would be impractical to list them all. And knowing the types of webinars at your disposal will make the difference between a webinar and podcast more pronounced. Below, I will list the popular types of webinars that many people are doing right now.
If you want to show your audience how to achieve something step by step, then you should host a workshop webinar. You can demonstrate the process by performing the steps yourself or by showing them through a PowerPoint presentation. For presentations, webinar software usually gives you the ability to share your screen with the audience.
In this webinar format, an individual or a group will talk to a coach, that will ask questions and help the attendees reach a certain goal. There will usually also be a form of ad hoc teaching in the topic the group finds is needed.
These days, online learning has become popular, which has also made educational webinars popular as well. This format is the same as conducting a lecture online, where your audience tunes in to learn useful information. So if you have knowledge of a highly-coveted skill, then this is the best format to use.
This format presents you with a lot of flexibility and creativity. You can use a variety of visual aids to make your presentation more engaging. So be sure to include images, videos, graphs, charts, and other visuals to capture and keep the audiences’ attention. You can also include exercises at the end of each module or section to make it more interactive.
If you know an expert on a particular subject, you can tell them to join you for an interview. You can then ask them questions centered on the subject so that the audience can learn from them. Your viewers will love such a conversation between two industry professionals, especially if the subject is engaging. You should also make some time at the end of the webinar for the interviewee to interact with the audience.
Product Demonstration Webinar
If you have a product you are selling to consumers, images and videos can only get you so far. If you want to seal the deal, it helps to show people how the product functions in the real world. This is where product demonstration webinars come in handy. This is a chance to show your target audience that the product will solve their problems.
Question and Answers Interview Webinar
People usually have questions, and this webinar format is a great way to answer them in a live online setting. There’s not much preparation involved here since you will be answering questions on a topic you are highly knowledgeable about. This is a great platform to clear up misconceptions and problems that people may be having with your product or service.
Panellist Discussion Webinar
This is where you have a panel of experts talking about a particular topic that is of interest to the audience. To keep the conversation flowing and organized, there is usually a moderator present. The moderator will ask the panelists some questions, and the audience will learn by hearing each expert’s perspective. You can get the audience in on the action by having them submit questions in advance for the moderator to ask the panelist.
Can webinars (also) be audio-only?
When people think of a webinar, they usually expect the availability of both audio and video components. While an audio-only presentation is a possibility, it will be less engaging for the audience.
The types of podcast formats
Just like webinars, there are a number of podcast formats to choose from. This will also help highlight the difference between a webinar and a podcast further. Which one you choose will depend on what information you are trying to convey and who your main audience is. Here are some podcast formats you can try.
Many podcasters use this format due to the fact that it’s one of the easiest podcast formats to pull off. You just set up a microphone, make sure you have a strong internet connection and you’re good to go. Basically, it is just you and a guest speaking to each other. You ask the guest questions about whatever they are an expert in, and the conversation flows from there.
The guest can be an expert in anything, such as science, politics, religion, technology, and video games. An important thing to keep in mind with this format is to choose an expert that resonates with your core audience. If your podcast is about health and wellness, then it makes no sense for your guest to be an expert in politics.
With a panel podcast, you have two or more people on the show with you to discuss a particular topic. This format is one of the more engaging ones, as it presents your audience with multiple views on a topic. If there is great chemistry between the panel members, your listeners will enjoy a great and organic conversation.
This is also an extremely popular format, especially for beginners, because it is just you, a microphone, and an internet connection. You talk to the audience about something you’re an expert in or passionate about. However, if you are going to talk for a long time, you might want to prepare a script in advance. This is especially important if you have a hard time speaking off the top of your head.
If you are a great storyteller, then this format will work well for you. With non-fictional storytelling, you find real-life stories and retell them to your audience. It could be an inspiring story about overcoming a tough challenge or a reimagining of a historical event. You could also just simply tell the news if you have journalistic inclinations.
If you have other content, you might want to take another look at it and repurpose it into a podcast. You can even take one of your webinars and restructure the content to create a downloadable audio episode. It could also be a series of episodes. This is a new way to breathe new life into your old content and use it to reach a wider audience.
You don’t have to stick to just one type of podcast. It is perfectly okay to mix and match different elements from other formats. You could start with solo commentary and then move to a panel discussion. The more you mix and match, the more you create a distinct style to your podcast, which can be fun.
Can podcasts (also) be videos?
This simple answer is yes – you just need to add a video component to it. This will allow you to reach an even wider audience of people who prefer video to audio. On top of that, video is more engaging than audio, which is great for visual creatures like humans. Also, social media platforms are more optimized for video than audio.
Though many creators report that video-based podcasts don’t have the same reach, there’s no technical reason why they couldn’t have. For video, you would probably see more traction on platforms where the audience anticipates video – like on YouTube.
Wrapping Up – When to Choose a Webinar or Podcast
Now that you know the difference between a webinar and a podcast, you should be able to pick one based on your needs. If you want to teach or demonstrate something to the audience and interact with them live, go with a webinar. But if you want to talk about a particular topic without needing any visuals, go with a podcast. And it is good to know that there are different webinar and podcast formats you can use to reach your audience.
I f you think you’ll need to know more, you can also check out my complete guide for webinar consultants here…