In a short span of a few years, podcasting has evolved from a niche form of media to one of the most popular ways to consume information today. Consider the statistics:
- 48 million Americans listen to podcasts weekly (source).
- Podcast fans listen to 40% more shows than last year (source).
- Apple features more than 525,000 active podcast shows, with more than 18.5 million episodes (source).
- The average number of monthly podcast listeners will reach 112 million by 2021 (source).
It’s clear that podcasting isn’t going away anytime soon—so it’s time for B2B marketers to explore podcasting as a new marketing avenue through which they can build their brand, reach new audiences, and scale overall business growth.
Creating a podcast may seem complicated at first—but for modern marketers, it’s a relatively simple, cost-effective process. Today’s blog post breaks down B2B podcasting into a few easy steps. Let’s get started.
The Benefits of Podcasting for B2B
There are many advantages to podcasting, both for your brand identity and as a revenue generator. Here are the three primary benefits B2B marketers should keep in mind:
Expand your audience: A podcast can expose your brand to new audiences, and provide your current audience with a convenient, new form of content. Unlike written or video content, your customers can listen while they drive, work, and perform other tasks.
Become a thought leader in your industry: Podcasting is one of the most modern and trendy content types in the world today. By building a successful podcast, you establish your brand as a current and innovative presence within your industry.
Boost revenue: We’ll dive deeper into revenue later on, but you should know—podcasting can be a key contributor to your company’s total marketing revenue. Whether through direct sponsors or lead generation, B2B brands who podcast can make money in a number of ways.
Now, let’s get into the specific steps of starting a podcast.
As podcasting became more mainstream, the process of recording and publishing podcasts became increasingly streamlined. But, starting a new podcast still requires extensive planning and preparation if you want your show to be a success. Here are some important factors you must consider:
In order to reach your target audience, the subject of your podcast should be relevant to both your ideal customers’ interests and your products and services. Your overarching subject should be a general topic that contains many sub-topics—which you can touch on in individual episodes. For example, a podcast about content marketing can include individual episodes about blog writing, visual content, creativity and innovation, content marketing trends, and much more.
Create a unique, memorable title that will catch your audience’s attention. And, consider your SEO strategy as you would when creating any other content—optimize your podcast title and individual episode titles to include your target keywords.
Successful podcasts stick to a strict schedule. Determine how often you will publish and when you’ll release new episodes. Be sure to create a schedule that you can actually sustain—as with a standard blog, inconsistent publishing or missed release days will hurt the growth of your podcast.
Give your podcast a structured format so listeners know what to expect. For instance, your format could be interview-style, a panel discussion, or a step-by-step tutorial.
Determine the appropriate podcast length for your subject matter and format. Longer podcasts are better suited for interviews or in-depth discussions, while shorter podcasts may work best for quick tips or how-to guides.
Select podcast hosts who are well-spoken, entertaining, and knowledgeable about the subject matter. Remember, even the most informative podcast in the world won’t gain listener traction if the host isn’t popular with your audience.
Your logo should be included in the cover photo of your show. Work with your design team to create a unique image that complies with your branding standards.
One last tip before we move on: Be sure to check out other podcasts in your niche before planning your own show. See what works for other businesses in your space and make an effort to do something different than other, competing podcasts. Check out our recent blog post for more podcasting inspiration: The Ultimate List of Marketing Podcasts.
Now, it’s time to record. If you don’t have access to state-of-the-art recording studios and high-tech equipment, don’t panic. Fortunately, you can record high-quality content with a relatively low budget. All you need is a laptop, a microphone, and a basic recording program. Two high-quality, but affordable options include Blue Yeti and Blue Snowball. Or, try a free audio editor such as GarageBand or Audacity.
We also recommend soundproofing your recording room to avoid any unwanted background noise. And, as with any new marketing medium, be sure to perform a few short test recordings prior to starting your podcast. That way, you can identify and fix any sound quality issues early on in the process.
3. Publish your podcast.
Before you can publish your podcast, you must find a good podcast host to store your audio file. There are many free options available, such as Podbean and Buzzsprout. Consider your immediate and long-term needs when selecting your podcast host. Go with a host who has the features you need currently, but also has the features you can see yourself needing in the future.
The next step is to publish your podcast across several listening platforms. Using more than one platform will allow you to reach more of your target audience. The most popular listening platforms include iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, SoundCloud, Stitcher, and TuneIn.
To publish your podcast, you must create and submit a podcast RSS feed—just as you would with your company blog. How you create your RSS feed is up to you. You can create one from scratch using HTML or have your podcast host handle it.
Promote your podcast using your established marketing channels— these may include your website, social media accounts, and advertising channels. We also recommend you set up dedicated social media accounts for your podcast so you can offer additional podcast content without cluttering your main social feeds. This will become especially important as your podcast grows.
For even more promotional value, work with guests and influencers to host, interview, or chat on an episode of your podcast. That way, you can leverage their audience as well as your own.
As with any marketing initiative, you must measure the success of your podcasting efforts in order to be successful. Here are a few key podcast metrics to consider as you get started:
Unique downloads: Unique downloads per episode is the most important podcast metric to track—as it tells you the size of your listening audience.
Subscribers: Keeping track of your subscribers is more difficult than you might think. Many podcast hosting platforms don’t provide accurate subscriber data. But, you can develop a fairly accurate picture of your subscriber base by tracking this metric over time.
Source of streams and downloads: How are people finding and listening to your podcast? Do a vast majority of your listeners use one specific channel? Tracking the source of plays and downloads allows you to measure the success of your promotional strategy—and determine which channels you should focus your efforts on.
Average listening time: Track how long your listeners play each episode before leaving, and identify key drop-out moments within specific episodes. It’s important to identify the different factors that lead to listener abandonment—did listeners leave when a new segment started? Did they leave when a certain host came on the show? These things are important to take note of.
Engagement: Track how listeners engage with your podcast on social media. Social media engagement will provide real insight into the topics and guests your audience wants to see more of.
Podcasting can be an incredibly lucrative business tool. Of course, sponsors and advertisers account for a majority of podcast revenue. But, even brands that are new to the medium can still leverage podcasts for business growth.
To achieve maximum podcast ROI, be sure to optimize your podcast for lead generation. At the beginning and end of each episode be sure to include a specific call-to-action. We also suggest that you set up a dedicated webpage or microsite for your podcast where listeners can find bonus content and subscribe to your mailing list.
7. Repurpose and redistribute.
Podcasts may take time and manpower to produce—but luckily you can repurpose each episode into several other content types. Directly following each episode, create a blog post containing the full transcript or key highlights. Quotes from your podcasts can be reused in infographics, white papers, and e-books. And, you can pull short audio clips to use as a voiceover in social media videos, webinars, demos, and other video content. Get creative!
Final Thoughts about Podcasting
Podcasting is still a relatively new B2B marketing channel, but adoption rates are on the rise. In fact, 17% of B2B marketers use podcasting in their content marketing efforts, up from 12% the year prior (source). So we say, take advantage of this medium now before your competitors do.
To learn how ZoomInfo’s contact database can help to scale your marketing efforts, speak to one of our sales reps today!