YouTube vs. Podcasting: Which Should You Start?

Should you start a YouTube channel or a podcast?

Which channel is better suited to you and which will be better for your business?

Thankfully, both of these mediums are growing at a rapid pace. We’re seeing more people get into the online space than ever before.

Now, it’s not uncommon for someone to be able to earn a full-time income doing what they love from the comfort of their home.

I myself have a YouTube channel and a podcast on the same subject. They’ve grown a ton over the years.

My podcast has generated more than 150,000 downloads and my YouTube channel has been viewed more than 300,000 times.

I’ve learned a ton since starting my blog way back in 2012 and I’m happy to share with you that if you want to learn how to start an online business, then you’re in the right place!

With this article, I want to bring some of the pros and cans of each to light and share with you which has been more powerful for my brand.

This way, you’ll be able to make a more informed decision going forward. You’ll know how to devote your time and which channel will give you the best bang for your buck.

1. YouTube CPM vs. Podcast CPM

Without a doubt, Podcasting has a higher CPM than YouTube. On average you can earn about $25 per 1,000 listens for a mid-roll advertisement and $18 per 1,000 for a pre-roll advertisement.

This mean you’d be making about $43 per episode if you were getting 1,000 downloads per episode. This is for just one sponsor. You can have multiple on your show.

You can easily see how shows with a large number of downloads can rake in lots of advertising dollars. If you had a show that got 10,000 downloads per episode and you had two sponsors per episode, you could be making $860 per show.

In contrast, the CPM that you experience on YouTube will fluctuate based on the content that you produce and the demand for those viewers by advertising dollars.

Depending on the content of your show, you could be attracting visitors that are worth a $1 CPM or a $10 CPM. Even at those that upper number, this is nothing like the CPM that you’ll get with podcasting.

The reason here is that YouTube viewers are far less engaged than podcast listeners. Someone who listens to a 3 minute YouTube video is not as high quality of a lead as someone who listens to an entire 60 minute long podcast.

By studying the difference in advertising income, you’ll get a clearer picture of how you’ll monetize your work going forward. You’ll also gain more clarity about the opportunity available for each of the channels.

The reality is that you can earn anywhere between a $18 – $50 CPM with podcasting and you might get $2 – $10 on YouTube.

2. SEO vs. Novelty

YouTube is a search engine. Every minute of every day, people are typing keywords into the YouTube search engine in order to discover content. Those searches could look like:

“Funny cat videos” or “flirting with a hot chick.:

However, they could also be more serious terms like:

“How to grow a business” or “Best microphones for YouTube”

No matter what niche you start your business in, it’s pretty likely that people will be searching for content related to that industry on YouTube.

This is extremely powerful, because it means that you can take advantage of SEO optimization and receive perpetual traffic to your videos (and your website).

My videos receive thousands and thousands of views each year because of this concept alone. I have a good number of videos that rank well on YouTube and continue to get traffic from the search engine.

Unfortunately, podcasts don’t really work this way. Most people consume podcast episodes via the iTunes app on their phone or via Stitcher, Soundcloud, or Spotify.

While you can make the overall podcast show SEO optimized by including key words in your show title or subtitle, you aren’t likely to receive much iTunes search engine traffic to your individual episodes.

When people type that same term, “Grow a business” into the iTunes app, they are more-so looking for a podcast on how to grow your business, rather than an individual episode.

I have covered this in other blog posts, but typically, I will see the “download curve” of a podcast to look like a spike within the first 1 – 4 days after it’s released and then to sharply nosedive.

You’ll get most of the downloads for your podcast episodes within the first week of it’s airing date. On the flip side, if you rank well on YouTube, you might see the bulk of your views later as more people discover the video from search terms.

3. Attention Span and Consumption Habits

The attention span of a piece of content and the overall consumption habits are going to be different for an educational vs. an informational show.

For example, you can watch a 2 hour long movie and come out of that feeling ecstatic and emotionally recharged. If you were to come out of a 2 educational hour lecture, you’d likely feel tired and emotionally drained.

In general, YouTube viewers have a very short attention span (10 minutes and less). Many videos won’t get views even beyond the 3 minute mark, unless they are highly entertaining or emotionally engaging.

Of course, there are things that you can do to make your videos more interesting, like including sound effects, transitions, storytelling, etc, but as a rule of thumb a YouTube viewer is likely to view shorter videos (but a lot of them).

The consumption and attention span for podcasts is a little bit different. According to my own podcasting statistics, listeners on average are staying around for the majority of a show, which is about 45 – 60 minutes long.

That’s a very long attention span compared to YouTube. People are also more likely to consume one or two podcast episodes in a sitting, rather than a bunch.

Whereas YouTube viewers will give videos their undivided attention at home, on their phone, or in the workplace, many people listen to podcasts while they are doing other things, like working out, commuting on the subway, or washing dishes.

This gives more flexibility for an in-depth discussion of a topic rather than surface-level points.

By keeping the consumption patterns of YouTube videos and podcasts in mind, you’ll be able to pick the medium that is a better choice for YOU.

I publish both educational and entertaining vlog videos. I find that I’m better at the educational content, but over the next few years, I want to improve the entertainment quality of my videos so that people can have a deeper emotional connection with my brand.

4. Equipment and Skills Required

The resources that you’ll need to start a YouTube channel are different from that of a podcast. I want to give you a clear idea of what you’ll need to get started and the skills that you’ll need to improve if you want to have a successful channel.

Of course, you can film YouTube videos with a simple smartphone camera and a cheap lapel microphone. It’s not ideal, but it will work.

When you start to up your YouTube game, you’ll want to invest in a DSLR camera. This is the cool camera that will give you a blurred background when you’re shooting talking videos.

On the low end, you can pick up a DSLR camera for about $500 (like the Rebel T6). On the high end, it’s going to be $1,000. My camera was a little over $1,000 when I lump in all the accessories like the Rhode microphone.

A high quality camera is one component of good video quality (duh). The other thing that will make a major difference for your videos is the quality of the lighting. A bad camera with good lighting will produce a superior-looking video than a good camera with bad lighting.

The best lighting that you can use is natural lighting. You can also purchase lighting for your studio, like a simple lIght box setup. I use this lighting set occasionally for my videos.

After you do the recording, you can use simple recording software like iMovie to get started.

Good equipment: $500 – $1,200.

Now… the equipment that you’ll need to start a podcast is a little bit different. This will all depends on how you want to structure your show. If you want to have multiple guests on, you’ll have to figure out how you’ll record those guests.

If you are physically recording them in a room, you’ll need a different setup than if you’re recording the podcast via Skype or Zencastr.

Get my drift? It’s going to vary depending on the type of show you have.

For the standard podcast, you’re probably going to need a USB compatible microphone that you can plug into your computer. You don’t really need a mixer or any other fancy sound equipment.

I just record my podcast episodes via Skype and I use the Blue Yeti microphone. You can also look into these microphones.

Good equipment: $50 – $100.

It’s going to be cheaper to get started with podcasting than YouTube. But what about the skills that you need to master in order to get good?

What skill sets are each of these two mediums best for?

When we see someone achieve success in a certain area, it’s usually because their natural inclinations have helped them out a lot. They could be good a talking, social skills, breaking down complex topics, or engineering cool shit.

Whatever it is, their natural inclinations and skills will pre-determine their success to a certain degree.

With YouTube, the following skills are required:

  • Speaking on camera. Being yourself on camera. You must either conveys information or convey your personality on camera.
  • Knowing how to operate a camera and set up the video (lighting, etc).
  • Editing the video with software
  • Marketing the video (thumbnail, SEO, social media, etc).

I’ve found that the majority of my success on YouTube has come from my choosing the RIGHT videos to make. These are topics that in-demand and there isn’t enough content out there about them.

For you, your success could come from your personality, your style of editing, or the topic of your videos.

With podcasting the following skills are required:

  • Interviewing guests and asking good questions
  • Knowing how to get the best sound out of a microphone
  • Editing your audio with software like Garageband
  • Marketing the show and episodes. Getting good guests

My success with podcasting is two-fold. First, again, I chose good topics for my episodes and my show. I am fulfilling a need in the marketplace.

Second, I’m constantly told that I have good rapport with the guests and that I make the interviews fun and relatable. Many of the people that run business-style podcasts can make it super boring. I bring more passion and personality to my show.

I talk a lot more about podcasting and what you need to know to get started in my book, Podcasting for Beginners. This book covers everything that you need to know to launch and grow a podcast.

You’ll be talking on both mediums. You’ll be educating, entertaining, or both. I’ve found that the main difference in the skillset comes with whether you want to be the sole talking head or have guests on your show who provide the content.

5. Who do you want to be in 10 years?

YouTube and podcasting are both a great source of leads for your business. You can generate traffic, interest, and new email subs with either medium.

The main difference comes with your role in the process and what skills you want to improve on. Which do you enjoy more? What do you want to get good at?

Only YOU can answer this.

In 10 years, I want my personality to be out there. I want people to know my face, my name, who I am, and to follow me and my life like a TV show. I want a tribe of followers.

I want to be able to talk about in-depth topics through a podcast and to also be able to put out educational and entertaining YouTube videos.

All of this comes from the core desire expose the world for what it is and to teach people how things really work in society.

This can take small forms, like how to start a business, or larger forms, like how the structure of our society shapes our social conditioning and beliefs.

Who do YOU want to become? You have to answer this for yourself. I also have a great video that explores this concept for my own life and how you can do the same thing.