B2B Podcasting: Benefits, Best Practices and Statistics
There's a misconception in marketing that clients make decisions based on rational, logical and economic thinking. That’s simply not true. People aren't looking to buy from companies anymore, they want to buy into them.
Knowing this, businesses need to move away from traditional, toneless public relations methods and speak directly to their clients. And when we say "speak," we mean it literally.
Let's take a look at the advantages of podcasts for B2B organizations.
Benefits of Podcasts for Business
In today's multi-channel marketing environment, leveraging and dispersing a marketing budget can be challenging. Generating the most value for a business typically requires a multipronged approach that includes everything from SEO, content and partnerships to paid advertising, sales (SDR), conferences and networking events.
There’s a symbiosis with these channels that makes using them so appealing. For example, keyword mapping defines content topics, while attending networking events helps to form lucrative business partnerships. Paid advertising data can guide your SEO strategy.
The question is, where exactly does B2B podcasting fit into your overall marketing strategy? Is it a whole lot of hassle for not much ROI or is there more to the medium than initially meets the eye?
Downloads are notoriously tricky to track with any degree of accuracy. Add to that the fact that everyone and their mom is creating a podcast. Plus, there’s the question of resources. Do you even have the in-house talent to get it off the ground?
We'll address each of those concerns in the post. For now, know that a B2B podcast is actually easier to create than you think. In terms of ROI, it has the potential to bolster your current marketing channels.
Partnerships, connections and long-term relationships can come about as a result of having quality guests on the show. Podcasts also create deeper engagement compared to other avenues. For example, over 90 percent of people who start a podcast listen to most (if not all) of an episode compared to just 12 percent for video.
Repurposing audio into written content and publishing it across multiple channels allows you to extend the reach of your podcast SEO. Sales and deals can be initiated through the relationships formed with your podcast guests as well as the audiences that tune in.
The audio format coupled with the portability of smartphones means you can reach people in places that weren’t accessible to you before, such as on their commute, at the gym, doing chores, etc.
You are essentially sitting right at the very top of the funnel by building brand awareness and affinity. It's such an intimate format and because of that, it automatically projects an air of authenticity.
With today's constantly changing content demands, running a business has become a lot more complex. As a fast developing technological and content creation avenue, B2B podcasts can make a worthwhile addition to any marketing strategy.
Is a Podcast Right For Your B2B Business?
As a marketing aficionado, you will already have a deep understanding of the value that typical content channels hold. Videos, blogs and social media all have their place in the overall marketing strategy. Where do podcasts fit into that scenario?
Could a podcast be the missing puzzle piece in your B2B marketing strategy?
Podcasts are great, they present an opportunity to generate qualified leads and brand advocates. While that might motivate you to get started on producing a B2B branded podcast, there are some things you need to consider before you dive in.
What Are Your Business Goals and Objectives?
Subscriptions, downloads and Apple Podcast chart rankings aren’t as important for B2B podcasts. While these statistics serve as a handy metric to show growth and influence for regular podcasts, B2B shows need to align their ROI objectives with their other content marketing avenues. Which, simply put, is to grow your business.
Get clear on this before you start:
Goals: Decide where you intend your podcast to go in terms of metrics and results. Are you looking to generate deeper connections with prospective partners? Would you like to establish brand awareness and thought leadership? Having these things clearly defined can help improve your overall effectiveness as a company.
Objectives: What are the individual steps you and your company need to take in order to reach your ideal podcasting goals. Knowing what they are will inform your day-to-day tasks and deadlines.
Stats and data are great. We know this. You know this. Without them you would have no way of knowing how to tweak and adjust your content in order to reach the right people for your business.
With B2B podcasts, the numbers don’t matter quite as much. Rather, it's the quality of the leads you generate and how your messaging bolsters your brand that’s ultimately the aim of this game.
Are Your Competitors Doing It?
Are your competitors creating a podcast? Probably. And if they’re not, they’re at the very least considering it. It's easy to see why.
Podcasts are gaining popularity fast. There are currently more than 2.4 million podcasts worldwide, with a whopping 66 million individual episodes between them. From an outsider’s perspective it can seem as if the market is oversaturated.
Especially when you take into account how alike so many of the shows are. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the global listener base is growing just as fast. It’s predicted that podcast listeners worldwide will increase to 424 million by the end of 2022.
Programs like Rephonic are ideal for scoping out your competitors. By using their "Audience Graph," you can search for any podcast and view all the "Listeners Also Subscribed To" data displayed in the interactive 3D map.
A tool like Rephonic can provide you with an overview of the podcasts your target audience is already listening to. Additionally, it can offer you an opportunity to do some quality market research to guide your podcast's content.
Does Your Ideal Audience Listen to Podcasts?
According to an Edison's Infinite Dial report, podcast listeners are part of a younger demographic. More than half are 12-34 years old and within that range, 42 percent claim to tune into at least three podcasts on a regular basis.
That said, you’d be remiss to think that podcasts aren’t as popular with older generations. As it happens, almost 25 percent of people 55 and older listen to podcasts on a monthly basis.
44 percent of senior-level decision makers, including department heads, VPs, owners and C-suite executives, also make a concerted effort to listen to podcasts.
Audio has some distinct advantages over written content. Where reading requires your full attention, listening to podcasts allows for multitasking. For key decision makers, an approach that saves on time, energy and bandwidth is always preferable.
In terms of your ideal podcast listeners, it’s not enough to think only about who they might be. You also need to factor in where they’ll listen. Statistica revealed that 90 percent of US listeners reported listening to podcasts during their leisure time at home, in the car or at the gym.
Competition for the B2B podcast space is gaining traction. The Content Marketing Institute found that over a fifth of B2B marketers are now incorporating podcasting into their content marketing efforts.
Does your ideal audience listen to podcasts? More than likely.
Thought Provoking Podcast Statistics
In an increasingly uncertain world, having the correct data at your fingertips is the best way to inform business decisions. As a case in point, these podcast statistics highlight the ways in which a B2B podcast might well be a worthy marketing option.
45% of podcast listeners have an annual household income of $250,000+. [Nielsen]
74% of users listen to podcasts to learn new things. [Edison Research]
52 million US households listen to business podcasts. [Nielsen]
54% of podcast listeners are likely to consider the brands they hear advertised on podcasts. [Edison Research]
39% of small and medium-sized businesses owners are podcast users. [Forbes]
52% of podcast subscribers listen to entire episodes. [Edison Research]
In a report commissioned by the BBC, organizations with branded podcasts saw:
89% higher awareness.
57% higher brand consideration.
24% higher brand favorability.
14% higher purchase intent.
12% higher memory encoding than other forms of content.
16% higher engagement.
Benefits of Podcasts for B2B Organizations
While the numbers of branded podcasts are steadily rising, there's no sign that this emerging marketing is going to be saturated anytime soon. Given the benefits of podcasts for B2B organizations, that’s good news indeed.
1. Thought Leadership
As someone with real expertise on a specific topic, a podcast provides a unique platform to share it with the world without asking for anything in return. It's an opportunity to create content that matters.
For B2B podcasters this is especially beneficial, given that almost half of B2B decision makers say thought leadership content influences their purchasing decisions.
Podcasts enable brands to showcase their expertise in an easy to consume format. They can personally answer questions, interview other industry experts, preempt potential objections and build a stronger sense of trust amongst prospective clients.
Prospects in B2B spaces are notoriously more difficult to bring on board than those in the B2C space. More often than not, it takes longer to complete the overall sales cycle.
Acquiring these clients might still require a lot of work, but developing a "knowledge first" orientated podcast will go a long way to instill trust in their minds before you've even had the first conversation.
2. Brand Awareness
One of the biggest hurdles facing most companies is the need to generate brand awareness. How do they make their organization more memorable and recognizable? How do they get in front of their ideal audience to make this happen?
Fancy a coffee? You head for Starbucks. Have a burning question? You Google the answer. Need some new sneakers? You probably buy a pair of Nikes. These brands all have one thing in common: they epitomize brand awareness and recognizability.
Most businesses can only dream of reaching that level of visibility. However, branded podcasts present a new way forward for those who fall outside of the multibillion dollar company bracket. Research shows that podcasts can drastically impact brand awareness with an uplift of 24-79 percent. That’s 30 times more than traditional channels.
The reason for this is that podcasts interact with listeners on a deeply personal level. Even if a listener isn't in the market to buy something, they might just be searching for information or guidance. By delivering what they were looking for in an engaging and personable way, that listener now has your name, voice and podcast as the go-to resource in your industry.
3. Scalable Content
When it comes to B2B marketing, a sound content strategy is critical. As any content professional will attest, producing a single piece of high quality content is a labor-intensive process. Imagine if a single podcast episode could do all of the legwork for you.
Recycling and repurposing podcast episodes is one of the easiest ways to get the maximum return on your content investment. You could generate everything from long-form blog content and show notes to email newsletters and social media captions from the transcripts of a single episode.
There’s also the option to convert segments of your audio into audiograms, quote images, shareable infographics, YouTube videos, slide presentations and even webinars.
Repurposing your podcast also helps with your SEO efforts. Google hasn't quite got a handle on indexing audio (yet), so having optimized written content is a must. By ensuring your repurposed content is in alignment with your targeted keywords and incorporates backlinks, internal links, imaging, transcripts and video, you'll undoubtedly see an overall uplift.
4. An On-The-Go Audience
As a marketer, how many times have you heard a client, a lead or even a team member utter the excuse, I didn't have the time? Unfortunately, whether we like it or not, people are busy. That's just a reality we have to accept.
Since 65 percent of podcast listeners are inclined to listen on a mobile device, this means they can consume audio content during periods of downtime, such as on their commute, while washing the dishes, walking the dog or sweating it out at the gym.
Users need only download an app like Castbox or Apple Podcasts, find a podcast that interests them and press play. With podcast platforms being searchable and the directories contained within them categorizing shows by genre or topic, there’s a good chance a listener could stumble on your podcast without any prior knowledge of your brand.
5. A Network of Ideal Customers and Clients
By targeting high-level decision makers, senior influencers and experts in your industry or niche, your B2B podcast can serve as a way for you to meet and build relationships with your ideal buyers. Think of it as a new way of networking that allows you to reverse-engineer relationships with the exact people you want to know.
Rather than relying on chance encounters, you can orchestrate things yourself. Podcasts are a wonderfully low-friction way of building an audience within your target market.
Seek out your ideal guest (someone who has expertise and insight into your industry) and invite them to be on your show. Both parties can benefit significantly from this.
For your guest:
Exposure to a new audience of podcast subscribers with similar industry interests.
A free, well produced piece of shareable audio content.
An opportunity to refine their ideas and thoughts relating to a specific topic.
The chance to look like an industry superstar.
For your brand:
Fresh insights and incredibly useful content that your audience will value.
Industry wisdom you may not fully understand or be aware of.
The opportunity to build genuine relationships (friendships, even) with decision makers at companies that could eventually purchase from you.
6. Amplifies Voices Within a Company
Behind most successful businesses and brands are a few unsung heroes helping to move the cogs that keep an organization operating. Branded podcasts are a great way to give your crew the shout-out they deserve.
Asking team members to speak to a broader audience on their expertise promotes positive company culture, both internally and externally. Even better, it gives listeners the chance to get to know and relate to the people behind the brand.
If your team has experienced a successful product launch, interview the staff members who made it happen and let them share the role they played in bringing it to fruition.
Highlighting specific initiatives aimed at celebrating diversity and inclusion within the workplace provides those groups with a space to share their experiences.
When people are excited to share their work and they're given the platform to do so, you can help forge a productive, motivated and loyal workforce that’s sure to resonate with your target audience.
7. Humanizes Brands
A baby can form an immediate bond with its mother in the womb, just from hearing her voice. When it comes to marketing a business or brand, the similarities between fostering infant affection and customer relationships are largely the same. It's all about voices.
Paul Cash, co-author of Humanizing B2B, believes that B2B marketing has lost its humanity. Speaking about the past, Paul says, "B2B marketing was done by knowledgeable, expert salespeople who made real connections with their customers."
Authentic voices from those in the business trenches are what bring your organization to life and create emotional connections. Because let's face it, after a while products or services within similar industries all meld into one. Which is why decision making often comes down to price.
But a voice can change all that. People want to buy from brands when they feel an emotional connection, because we trust people more than we trust companies or products.
8. Simple and Cost-Effective
Podcasts can be cost-effective and (relatively) easy to produce. Therefore, from a marketing strategy standpoint, they are often hailed as a more affordable way to reach customers than other advertising channels.
All you need is a good microphone, headphones, editing software and a hosting site. Depending on your time and budget, outsourcing certain elements could be an option. Multiple agencies can assist with everything from booking guests, editing and publishing to transcription and promotional strategies.
If that’s too much of a stretch for your budget, you could always petition your internal team for assistance. Draw on their individual skills to take care of the different components, such as editing, design and publishing.
B2B Podcast Best Practices
If you want your show to be a hit with target listeners and boost your conversions and sales in the process, applying these best practices to your podcast content strategy will help make that happen.
Identify Your Unique Value Proposition (UVP)
As a business ready to start a podcast, your primary focus should be on identifying your Unique Value Proposition (UVP). Your UVP is a statement that describes the benefits you offer, how you solve a prospect's needs and the unique attributes that set you apart from the competition.
Relevancy. How can your podcast solve problems or improve a listener's situation?
Quantified value: Deliver specific benefits through unique industry knowledge.
Differentiation: How you'll tell your ideal listener why they should invest their time in you and not the competition.
Create a Format With Your Audience in Mind
We touched on identifying your audience earlier in the post. Now it’s time to think about the kind of show they might enjoy. Your job is to give them what they want. Brainstorm ideas based on their age and other demographics to come up with a format that addresses their pain points, offers helpful information and does so in a way that’s engaging and entertaining.
Find out if they're more interested in a Q&A format, interviews, behind-the-scenes, etc. It's also good to know whether they prefer long or short episodes. Give them what they want and they'll keep listening.
Share Your Brand’s Story With Your Audience
A big part of why people enjoy podcasts so much is because it’s so personal. It’s a conversation as opposed to a sales page or even a blog post. With this in mind, make a point of sharing the personal side of your organization.
People already know about your amazing products and services, what they’d love to hear more about is how your company started. What drove you to do what you do. The highs, the lows, the passion, that’s ultimately what’s going to keep them coming back for more.
Don’t underestimate the amount of time and effort it takes to consistently produce new episodes for your podcast. Rather than aim too high, start slow and build up.
Your audience would much rather be guaranteed of one episode a month than wonder when or if you’ll ever be publishing something again. Once you’re feeling more confident with the process, you can start publishing more frequently.
Ask Listeners to Leave a Review
Reviews are a great way to build credibility around your brand. But, since people are busy they often don’t think about leaving a review even if they’ve had a good experience. A gentle reminder is usually all it takes to prompt action.
The more reviews your podcast receives, the better you’ll rank. Positive reviews also help prospective clients decide whether or not to do business with you.
Give Each Episode a Specific Call-To-Action
Having a clear CTA for each episode can directly impact your ROI, which in turn will play a role in your company’s growth. It doesn’t have to be a big thing, it could be something as simple as subscribing to your newsletter or following you on social media.
Asking at the beginning of the episode and again at the end is more than enough. Pestering listeners with frequent requests throughout the show will only annoy them.
Final Thoughts on B2B Podcasting
B2B podcast marketing can be a great way to reach a highly targeted audience and build trust in a way that few other forms of content can achieve. While it’s by no means a quick fix (good things take time), slowly integrating podcasting into your overall marketing strategy can stand you in good stead in the long run.
"The best brands to start a podcast are ones that have a point of view to share."
Griffin Caprio, CEO of Dante32 Inc
If you’re looking to position your company as a thought leader, podcasting is the perfect platform to achieve that. It’s a way to build connections and foster community. As a happy byproduct, your sales will probably go up as well.