The “podcast” as an idea hasn’t been around all that long. Indeed, the term was first coined back in 2004. However, in these few intervening years the medium has risen to become almost as popular a delivery device for information as text or video. Consider these statistics by Convince and Convert:
- One-third of Americans age 25-54 listen to podcasts monthly
- By 2018, 48 million Americans were listening to podcasts weekly
- Podcast listening jumped 40% between 2017 and 2018
Now, some marketers — and especially B2B marketers — might ask how podcasting can help their advertising strategy. A better question would be how it can’t help. At the moment, there are business and marketing podcasts, including in the B2B space, that cover a wide spectrum of topics and niches.
There are podcasts hosted by everyone including entrepreneurs, CEOs, C-suite executives, heads of marketing agencies, app developers, startup founders, tech giants and more. Many of these podcasts, like Reid Hoffman’s (co-founder of LinkedIn) Masters of Scale, are popular enough to land big-fish guests — everyone from Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg to Reed Hastings and Peter Thiel. There are even podcasts like the aptly titled B2B Growth, which features interviews with B2B thought leaders and marketing execs.
For a comprehensive roundup of these and other business podcasts, check out this list by HuffPo.
Now that you see there’s a dedicated market of listeners eager to devour this content, we’ll look at some best practices you can use to develop your own killer B2B podcast and better reach your target audience.
Speak to one listener
A great way to focus your podcast is by not trying to reach anyone and everyone, but to narrow down your ideal listeners (the way you would segment an audience in marketing), and speak directly to them. This is actually one of the ways podcasting for B2B is easier than with B2C.
After all, by definition, your audience is likely a niche one. So, whether you’re marketing industrial farm equipment or a SaaS tool specializing in chat features, be sure to speak directly to those in that industry. Design your podcast around them, and make sure your guests are part of that niche as well.
Create a podcast geared toward a busy lifestyle
Because, make no mistake, your audience doesn’t have time to kick back, relax and listen to your three-hour magnum opus on marketing trends. They’re on the go, listening whenever they have a free moment and from whatever device is handiest at the time. Plus, there’s a lot of competition out there with which you have to contend. Consider that Podcast Insights revealed a number of eye-catching statistics, which include:
- People listen to podcasts at home, on their smartphones, and on their computers
- The number of people who listen to all of a podcast is actually on a downward trend
- Comedy is the most popular podcasting genre
A good rule of thumb is to give your audience snackable episodes (around 15-30 min), funny when appropriate, and something that delivers all the vital info they need without spending the time to read articles, e-books and white papers.
Feature many different voices
Maybe the podcast you’d like to create would be a news format rounding up all the goings on in your industry that week or month. That’s all well and good. However, you’ll quickly find that if you only have one speaker reciting the news or other content during every episode then it will be difficult, if not impossible, to grow an audience.
The solution is to bring in as many different voices as you can. What you’ll notice about most podcasts listed in that HuffPo article is that they feature different guests. And many of them feature new guest hosts or interview subjects every single week. They don’t all have to be interviews, either. You can also use content from listener contributions. These can even be as small as social media blurbs.
Other than mixing up the format and offering your audience something new, adding different voices does something else that’s vital: it delivers your podcast to the fans of the guest in question. That’s just one more effective way to bring more listeners into the fold.
Diversify those voices
Mixing things up doesn’t just mean bringing in a variety of voices. You’ll want to ensure those voices are representative of as diverse an array of people in your niche as possible. For example, if you have two men of comparable ages and job titles hosting a podcast that interviews marketing execs of similar stripes every week, then your podcast will get stale quick.
There are a number of remedies for this issue. One, you can start by maintaining a gender balance in the continuity of the podcast. It’s an effective way to let your audience know your podcast isn’t just featuring slight variations of the same person every episode.
But this goes beyond simply having a male and female share hosting duties or interviewing each other. You’ll want to bring in people in a wide variety of job titles within your industry. This includes CEOs and entrepreneurs, who often bring to the table veteran expertise on leadership. Then there are the entry-level employees, who can reveal insight into the lives and interests of the younger generation of workers as well as the demands placed upon them.
These are a few best practices to help you get your podcast up and running. Other tips include pairing a strong social media game with your podcast (94% of podcast listeners are active on at least one social media channel) and scripting out your episodes before you record. For a basic primer on podcast scripting, check out this tutorial.