Here is a fascinating statistic about how different podcasts are from blogs, and not just in the obvious ways. Podcasts are still a minority taste (just), but —
80% of podcast listeners listen to an entire podcast episode or most of the episode.
Why such high engagement?
- More Podcast Statistics (2019) from MusicOomph.com
- See all the stats in their infographic at the end of this blog post.
How we read blogs
You certainly wouldn’t expect to spend 20 or 30 minutes reading a single blog post. You skip around the blogs, follow a red herring here, an interesting comment there… and if you’re anything like me, your attention span is pretty short. Your eye darts over excerpts, and most people probably read very few blog posts from beginning to end.
You’re not flighty or easily distracted, you’re just reading online! It’s the nature of the web to distract you and tell you to hurry up because there’s something more interesting one click away.
Personal blogs are precious in having minimal ads and intrusion. It’s a quiet safe place compared with Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or Reddit or Pinterest.
And yet blogs are social, we swap comments, it’s a community. Our hands are busy as we read.
Also, we tend to wander around blogs in search of entertainment rather than solutions. Using WordPress Reader is actually “web surfing” — remember that funny old phrase from a time when the web was young?
I’m guessing you rarely spend more than 5 minutes at a time with one blogger, no matter how much you like them.
Why do we spend so long listening to podcasts?
Now, only 32% of the US population in 2019 say they listen to podcast even once a month. So if you don’t listen to podcasts, that’s kind of the norm.
However, once people subscribe to a podcast they tend to listen to a complete episode rather than pod-hopping. Episodes of my own blog will be 15–20 minutes. Others commonly publish episodes of 30–58 minutes. Imagine spending that long reading a single blog post!
While you listen, your eyes and hands are free to manage another activity, because you’re not using a computer. You can listen while commuting, cooking, running, gardening, walking, or getting ready to sleep. You’re moving, so a phone is the #1 device for listening to podcasts.
Thus for practical reasons the experience changes utterly. Podcast-listeners are inclined to listen to the end.
Are you a podcast rookie? Use your smartphone
First, different means different, not better. Personally, I love podcasts, and I’ll write more about them in future. But be assured that I also love blogs, yours and mine.
If you have never listened to podcasts, first find a popular podcast app on your smart phone. You can’t go wrong with Apple Podcasts or Spotify.
Then find a few podcasts that people recommend or just sound interesting. Favourites of mine include Invisibilia, Freakonomics, No Such Thing As A Fish, and The Allusionist.
Start listening to podcasts—but not at your desk computer. Listen alone when you are (yes) commuting, cooking, running, gardening, walking, or getting ready to sleep… Subscribe to the podcasts that appeal. Then they are at your fingertips any time you want another chapter.
Large infographic below: The meteoric rise of podcasting from MusicOomph.com
My podcast will soon be available on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher and more
I’ll let you know when you can subscribe to “How To Be Old” from your podcast app.