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Blogging Vs. Podcasting: Which Is the Better Business Model in 2021

If you’re weighing the pros and cons of blogging vs. podcasting in 2021, this post is for you.

My wife and I are pro bloggers, making a modest living from her brand.

And although I’ve never started a podcast, I’ve carefully evaluated the business model and have almost setup a podcast more than once.

So should you start a blog or a podcast in 2021?

The short answer is:

Podcasting might be a better business model to pursue if you have a rich relational network of potential podcast guests, you have a great “radio” voice, or you’re otherwise uniquely equipped to share audio content. If none of these things are true, a blog is probably a better business model for you.

I’ll explain this more in the sections below.

Blogging Vs. Podcasting: Ad Revenue Rates

According to Advertise Cast, average podcast CPMs range from $22 to $31 depending on several factors including the number of listeners.

For those who don’t know, CPM stands for Cost Per Mille.

CPM is an advertising term referencing the cost per thousand viewers (or listeners in the case of podcasts).

CPM is closely related to the term RPM or Revenue Per Mille.

In fact, these two terms mean essentially the same thing.

It’s just a matter of perspective.

For instance, if an advertiser wants to advertise on a podcast, he’s going to call this fee the CPM because it’s a cost for him.

But the podcaster would think of this as RPM because it’s revenue to him.

The CPM or cost the advertiser will pay per 1,000 listens is the same as the RPM or revenue the podcaster makes per thousand listens unless the podcaster is using a platform that collects a commission.

For instance, Spotify’s podcasting platform, Anchor.fm collects a fee such that the CPM is higher than the RPM with Spotify collecting the difference.

That said, a $22 – $31 CPM would still result in a high RPM compared to other advertising platforms making podcasting seem like an attractive business model.

Let’s take a look at blogging RPMs in the next section.

Blogging Ad Rates

Like I mentioned in my blogging vs. YouTube article, the RPM for blogs varies depending on your audience size.

In the below table, I’ve outlined the RPMs I’ve experienced on each of these ad networks for my various blogs.

Ad NetworkMinimum Monthly PageviewsAverage RPM
Ad Sense0~$5.00
Mediavine50,000~$15.00
Ad Thrive100,000~$25.00+

Keep in mind, these are average RPMs.

Your blog may experience much higher or lower average RPM depending on the blog’s niche, location of readers, and more.

Regardless, these ad rates are lower than average podcast ad rates.

Does that mean you should start a podcast instead of a blog?

Let’s take a closer look in the next section.

Blog Vs. Podcast Content Discoverability

There are many different places to publish a podcast from Apple and Google to Spotify and more.

You can also do what Joe Rogan did for a while and publish your podcast episodes on YouTube as well as the popular podcasting destinations.

If you do publish your podcast on YouTube, check out my blogging vs YouTube article.

Obviously, YouTube has more than just video podcast content on it and therefore has different features that make it unique for podcasting.

That said, although there are many places to publish a podcast, listeners tend to consume podcast episodes like social media content.

In other words, podcast episodes usually aren’t evergreen content that receives traffic, listens, and shares for months or years to come.

Instead as Brian Dean of Backlinko says in his evergreen content marketing study:

Podcast episodes tend to create a buzz early on. But very few podcast episodes continue to receive shares and links over the long term.

On the other hand, blogs are so powerful because you can get recurring traffic to your content from search engines for months and even years to come.

Plus, blog posts are typically easier and less expensive to produce than podcast episodes.

And unlike podcast episodes, they can be updated at any time.

Of course, you could (and many will) succeed with a podcast.

But if you want to pursue a business model with higher odds of financial success for most people, I recommend blogging over podcasting.

Blogging Vs. Podcasting: Number of Content Pieces Required to Succeed

Like I mentioned in my post comparing blogging with YouTube, I estimate a new blog will need ~300 posts to make ~$70,000 per year in advertising income, the annual household income in the US.

As a reminder, this is annual recurring revenue (ARR).

In other words, those 300 blog posts could make you $70,000 per year indefinitely.

How many podcast episodes will you need to produce to make $70,000?

This figure is more difficult to estimate.

If we assume an average RPM of $25.50 and three ads per podcast episode, your podcast will need to be listened to (downloaded) 915,033 times annually to make $70,000 in a year.

Combine that estimate with data from Libsyn via the podcast host, you can get a ballpark estimate for the number of episodes you may need to produce below.

Top X% of Podcasts# of Downloads Within 30 Days of ReleaseAnnual # of Episodes Required to Make $70,000
50%1366,728
20%1,100832
10%3,200286
5%7,700119
2%20,00046
1%36,00025
Data source

If the chart isn’t clear, the way to think about the first row would be:

If you are in the top 50% of podcasts your average podcast episode gets downloaded and listened to 136 times which means you would need to publish 6,728 podcast episodes in a year to make $70,000 in advertising income.

This particular line of the chart is a little absurd.

I don’t think publishing 6,728 podcast episodes in a year (over 18 per day!) is an effective strategy or possible when trying to maintain any degree of quality.

However, I do think this table points out the fact that you’ll need to produce a high volume of content to succeed.

For instance, John Lee Dumas, the creator of the hit podcast, Entrepreneurs on Fire, published a podcast episode every single day for 2,000 days (~ 5 years)!

Today he makes six figures monthly from his podcast.

But in his first year of publishing every day, he grossed almost exactly $70,000.

In short, if you want to make a living as a podcaster, expect to produce hundreds of episodes to reach a full-time income.

Blogging Vs. Podcasting: The Final Verdict

Publishing hundreds of podcast episodes in a single year is very challenging particularly if you’re using an interview format and sourcing guests like many popular podcasts today.

In general, I’d say this is more challenging than publishing hundreds of blog posts in a year.

Also, as I mentioned above, a blog can receive recurring traffic and therefore provide recurring income.

According to Brian Dean’s content marketing study, podcast episodes

So while 300 blog posts could potentially provide you $70,000 of annual recurring income, you might need to publish hundreds of podcast episodes every year to continue earning an income.

Evaluating these options purely on the basis of return on time and effort invested, I think blogging is the superior option.

However, like I mentioned in the introduction, you may have special skills or a life situation that makes podcasting an attractive option for you.

Ultimately, I think whichever path you are more excited about has the greater odds of financial success.

Are you leaning towards creating a blog or podcast?

Let me know in the comments!

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