Why Your Vlog or Podcast Might Fail

    February 28, 2007

I don’t want to sound like an old, crotchety, cynical, email-will-never-overtake-fax-machine dinosaur but I don’t think podcasts or video blogs are all they’re cracked up to be.

I’m the first to admit that I may be way off the mark here, because this is a somewhat counter-intuitive argument. The newer media of internet videos and podcasts seem like the next logical evolution of the written word, but think again. For the near future at least text-based information still has distinct advantages over video and voice.
The main advantages text has are: usability and searchability.


  • Text is much more scanable. Most people on the internet still don’t read entire articles. They like to scan through and pick out certain parts. This is much more difficult with long videos and podcasts. Its just not worth listening to an hour and a half podcast for 5 minutes of useful information.
  • Text is quicker and can be more to the point. I think this is the reason people still text-message or instant message rather than just picking up the phone and calling someone. It’s a more convenient way of communication.


  • Search engines can’t search video or voice. If you ever want to rank for anything you’re better off being text based.

So that’s the problem. Now, what’s the solution? – All podcasts or longer length videos should highlight the important parts with text. If this post were in vlog format:

(5:37) – Interview with Brian Thibault begins.

(9:29) – Brian talks about the significance of podcast usability, and states that podcasts are not usable nor searchable.

(12:14) – Brian says the way to fix podcasts is to highlight important events.

Documenting the events of the vlog or podcast solves the problems to a certain extent by:

  1. Making the podcast much more scannable. The listener can cut straight to the point by fast-forwarding to the time intervals of her choosing.
  2. Offering an alternative to actually listening to your podcast altogether. Someone can get the information they require either way.
  3. Adding text you make the podcast search engine friendly. You increase your chances of picking up many more long-tail searches like “+podcast +usability + searchable”.

I know this just throws a lot more work on your plate, but without it, don’t be surprised if your new vlog takes a nosedive quick.



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