Podcasts are a great way to reach your target audience on a deeper, more engaging level. So, the question you may be asking is how you can start your own B2B podcast in 2020?
According to a recent article by eMarketer and a poll from CivicScience, there were an estimated 76 million podcast listeners in 2019 and that number is expected to grow to 85 million in the next few years. To put that in context, that’s 1.5X the number of people who tweet each month.
Not only are podcasts convenient for listeners, they’re a relatively simple, cost-effective content opportunity for marketers. Also, it’s a flexible format. It takes just few steps to convert content you already have (videos, webinars, even blog posts) into podcast episodes.
Why should you podcast?
At first glance, it may be easy to say creating a branded B2B podcasts is just this year’s trendy content platform. But the facts tell a different story.
Edison Research, in their Podcast Consumer 2019 report, shows podcast awareness, overall listening, and monthly listening have all increased year over year since 2008.
And podcasts have a long shelf life.
Other stats from Edison’s research:
- Podcast listening grew 23% between 2015 and 2016.
- Monthly podcast listenership has increased 75% since 2013.
- 64% of podcasts are listened to on a smart phone or tablet.
But how do these episodic series benefit your business?
- They’re an opportunity for your company to have a 10- or 20-minute or even longer conversation with your audience. And many people are listening to your podcast while wearing headphones, which is a very unique connection to a prospect.
- They’re an opportunity to establish your company or someone specific within your company as a thought leader.
- They’re an opportunity to establish relationships with thought leaders, business partners, and others that you may interview as guests on your podcast.
- They’re a way to meet your audience where they are, and in a format they can easily consume, whether they’re at the gym, having their morning coffee, on their commute, or working on other projects in the office.
How do you get started on your podcast?
The first step to starting your podcast is making the commitment. While there is a low bar to getting a podcast recorded, edited, and put online, you still need to make the time to do this every week, every two weeks, or every month. You also need time to reach out and schedule guests, research topics, and so forth.
When I launched the Rethink Podcast at Act-On Software, I had created a treatment that outlined the business goals, publishing schedule, thought leaders I hoped to interview, provided a sample show rundown, and gave an overview of technical requirements and costs (of both equipment and human resources). I then shared this treatment with various stakeholders, from the CMO and more immediate managers to graphic designers, website designers, blog editors, and so forth.
Other points to consider include:
- Where is the podcast going to live?
- Are you going to host it on your own, or use a third-party service?
- Who is your target market for the podcast?
- What would be your show’s title?
Another consideration is: What format type will your podcast be?
Types of B2B podcast shows
I group B2B podcast formats into five buckets – Solo, Interview, Multi-Host, Reporting, and Narrative.
Solo – This is often a scripted podcast featuring one individual. Just as you wouldn’t have only one voice in your webinars, blog posts, videos, and other content, you should avoid having only one person featured in an entire podcast. That said, some popular podcasts will release episodes that are shorter than normal and will only feature the host. This could be an episode to review trends, remind folks about a special event and so forth.
Interview – This is perhaps the most popular format for podcasts. It typically consists of one or more hosts interviewing one or more guests about a topic. This is the format that The SecureWorld Sessions took when I helped them launch their podcast in 2019.
Multi-Host – This is just what is sounds like; it’s a show with two or more hosts. They can chat amongst themselves on a particular topic or they can interview a guest.
Reporting – This is your typical NPR show or podcast, where the interviewer is reports on an issue and brings in an interview or two to support that reporting.
Narrative – This is the style of public radio’s This American Life and Serial, and uses a mix of the reporter/host and guests telling a story, which could be true or fictional. These are among the most popular podcasts for listeners. However, they are not just created by only the likes of the NPR crowd; businesses can do them, too. I recently listened to a narrative-style podcast from a website development company that told the story of how the launch of new design of their website almost went terribly wrong.
What kind of equipment do you need?
In getting started, I recommend folks adopt the KISS principle: “Keep it simple, stupid.” You can spend hundreds, thousands, and even tens of thousands of dollars on microphones, mixing boards, headphones, and other equipment. But you don’t need to.
My advice is you should try to have the podcast interviews in person whenever possible. But most times that isn’t possible, especially for a B2B company. For those occasions, I recommend using Zencastr.
As for the rest of your equipment requirements, you’ll need a microphone, headphones, something to record your B2B podcast (digital recorder, or software on your computer), and software to edit the podcast.
There are too many options at various price points to list them all here. That said, keep the KISS principle in mind. Start small, with what you have (even the voice memo on your smart phone will work), and then allow your equipment to evolve as your show grows. Mark Grimes, a Portland startup founder, angel investor, and co-host of the Tiny House Podcast, said his show used a $50 digital recorder for much of its first year. If you really want a gear recommendation list, I’ve made an Amazon list.
Once you have your show up and running, download my eBook, 13 Easy Steps to Promote Your B2B Podcast. And reach out if you have any questions or if you want to learn more about my podcast editing services.
To close, don’t get too caught up with the B2B podcast production tools. Instead, focus on what you want to know and who you want to ask it of, and then get out there and record these experts.
Look at your 2020 marketing calendar and see where a podcast could complement other initiatives, such as any themes you have for your event marketing, or new product releases, or that big industry event you’re going to attend or host. Tap into your customer marketing and customer service teams and see what questions are bubbling up from your users and make episodes about those topics.
“No matter what the medium, content is king,” said Handyman Bob, who I interviewed in 2017. “If you provide what people want to hear, they’re going to come back. What you want to be is ‘appointment listening.’ You want them looking forward to the next announcement in their email that your podcast is available. That is when you’ve hit your success.”