Audio or Video Podcast: Which Should My Nonprofit Use?

NetSquared's picture

As online video becomes an increasingly popular tool, I've had a number of organizations ask me recently, "Should my organization use audio or video to tell our story?"

Before choosing any social media tool, first you need to ask yourself:

1. What is the goal I want to achieve?
2. Who is my target audience?
3. What are the communication tools I could use to achieve that goal?
4. How much time, staff and money do I have to put into this project?

Answering those four questions may make the decision for you.  

 If not, check out Jason van Orden's January 2007 post, Audio vs. Video Podcasting Pt 2 | Considerations for Choosing the Best Format for You.   I've listed his points about each medium below.

Advantages of Audio
1. Audio is a background media. Video is a foreground media.
2. Audio generally takes less production time.
3. Audio requires less bandwidth.
4. Audio podcasts can contain more info.
5. Audio formats and compression are easier to understand and use.

Advantages of Video
1. The visual aspect allows for a more powerful message.
2. Some advertisers prefer video.
3. Video can be viral.

If that doesn't help, look at the numbers. According to Podcast News' April 2008 post, Audience For Audio, Video Podcasts Way Up:

  • The audience for audio podcasts grew 38% in the last year;
  • The audience for video podcasts grew 45% in the last year;
  • About 30% of regular Internet users have downloaded a podcast

Video is growing faster, but podcasting isn't terribly far behind.   If all of that doesn't determine which is the best tool for you, why not ask the people you are trying to reach what they think?   You could use an online survey, or an old school face-to-face focus group.     Ask about how they'd like to hear stories from your organization, and about their Internet habits.

Finally, ask your team which tool they are the most excited to use.   Producing audio and video can be super fun, but it is also time-consuming so you need to be excited about what you're   creating.

Flickr Photo Credit:
Young Roma Girl at Film Workshop uploaded by Chris Schuepp
Home Podcasting Studio
uploaded by Tim Wilson