Why Podcasting Is Like Photography

Daniel Steinberg‘s guest post on Chris Brogan’s blog this Saturday got me thinking. He noted: “we don’t know what podcasting really is any more than we know what photography really is.”

When you think about it, podcasting as a communications medium has a lot in common with photography.

  • Niches – while they don’t need to by definition, many podcasts serve narrow niches – they focus on a tightly defined topic. Photographers often focus on specific niches – Caralin, for example, focuses on portrait and wedding photography. There are plenty of other forms out there, but she’s decided to focus. Your podcast is more likely to succeed if you do the same.
  • Comments after the fact – unlike Twitter, for example, podcasts don’t involve a rapid free-flowing conversation. Comments are possible, but they are submitted after the current content is posted.
  • Large or small audiences – most photographers have a relatively small audience for their photography. The vast majority of photographs aren’t taken by people who would consider themselves ‘photographers’ but who take photographs anyway. Meanwhile, a small number have very large audiences for their work. The same goes for podcasts. Most have a very small audience. Others enjoy large followings. Both are fine. Don’t expect your podcast to go nuclear just because you produce it.
  • Perfect for some means, limited for others – as the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. However, in some cases photographs just can’t capture the moment effectively and a different medium – perhaps video – would work better. The same goes for podcasting – just like any other communications tool, it’s not suitable for every occasion or every audience. Pick your use effectively.

What do you think? Are these comparisons on-target? Way off-base? What would you add?

Dave Fleet
EVP Digital at Edelman. Husband and dad of two. Cycling nut; bookworm; videogamer; Britnadian. Opinions are mine, not my employer's.