Podcasts have soared in popularity over the past decade and saw tremendous growth over just the past year. As of 2020, the number of Americans aware of podcasting increased 75% – over 10 million more people since 2019. More importantly, the percentage of American listeners over 12 years old has grown from 40% to 55% in the past three years. For the first time, more Americans listen to podcasts on a weekly basis than go to church that often – 68 million people.
The reach of podcasts is undeniable, but so is the growing variety of podcast genres. Besides the most popular comedy and news, the business to business genre has also emerged. Podcasts such as “B2B Growth” and “Sales Pipeline Radio” interview thought-leaders and discuss the latest trends for B2B sales and marketing teams. Additionally, industry-specific podcasts have popped up in several fields, hosted by entrepreneurs, CEOs, other executives and more.
Actively sharing insights positions your brand as a thought leader in the industry and answers customer questions to further build relationships and generate leads. If your organization is already publishing blogs and obtaining trade media coverage, could podcasting be the next step to expand your content marketing?
Like any content marketing effort, podcasting requires clear goals and consistency. To realize the benefits of podcasting, approach it with intention. Producing episodes, whether weekly, biweekly or monthly, requires finding new and relevant topics for your audience, securing guests with new perspectives to share and substantial time to edit the recordings. Haphazard episodes pulled together whenever the mood strikes won’t produce measurable outcomes.
If your bandwidth to create more content on a consistent basis is limited, appearing on another podcast as a guest is a great way to break into the medium. Finding and participating on one that reaches your target audience can elevate your brand’s position as a thought leader without the long-term commitment.
If you do decide to take the podcast plunge, ensure you are set up for success with the right tools for producing and promoting quality content.
When starting your podcast, it’s crucial to lay a strong foundation and pinpoint the following:
Are you starting a podcast to generate awareness of your brand with a new audience? Or are you trying to build upon current customer relationships? Starting with a clear goal will guide the direction your podcast takes in content and structure.
It’s a best practice to speak to a narrowed, focused audience rather than trying to reach anyone and everyone. Narrow down your ideal listeners and produce content that speaks to them directly. Too broad of a focus will miss the mark in a field of more than 850,000 active podcasts.
Whether your podcast will be more or less formal, don’t forget to be authentic. Your listeners will gravitate toward your brand voice and your host’s personality. You want them to keep coming back to join the conversation. Additionally, as comedy is the most popular genre, let the tone be funny when appropriate.
Now you’re ready to dive into the specifics. These best practices will ensure your podcast is engaging and high quality:
Your audience likely has a busy lifestyle, and your podcast should fit into it. A good rule of thumb is to produce 15 to 30-minute episodes containing only vital information and staying on topic. Since the number of people who listen to the full length of a podcast continues to decline, don’t waste time recording hours of content that few will hear.
Never go into a podcast recording without a clear outline of what you will cover. When interviewing a guest, bring a list of relevant, open-ended questions to ask. Do your homework on your guests and how they are relevant to your audience to portray professionalism. Additionally, send the guest your questions with enough time to prepare insightful answers.
It’s hard for one host reciting the news every episode to be continually interesting, and interviews are a great way to grow your audience with fans of the guests. Try to find guests of different career backgrounds, job titles, perspectives and more to avoid going stale. Whether or not you employ the interview format, showcase many voices to keep audience attention. Other ideas including using guests hosts or sharing listener contributions.
From the moment you have one episode under your belt, it’s time to extract its value:
Sharing your content on social media is always important, but this is especially true for podcasts. A vast majority (94%) of podcast listeners are active on at least one social media channel. Make promotion easy for your guests too so they can share the episode with their followers for greater impressions.
Each episode has potential for being repurposed into more mediums. Consider turning the transcript into a Q&A style blog or transcribe the audio on your website for added SEO. An email marketing campaign could ask listeners to rate and review the podcast on iTunes to boost its ranking. Pull interesting quotes into quick designs for social media and if you’ve covered a range of interesting facts, consider combining everything into an infographic to recap the episode.
Podcasts allow brands to meet customers in their homes, on their commutes or wherever they are and deliver informative conversations. If you do decide to start a podcast, figure out how to create engaging content that will be valuable to your audience.
Ready to take the next step in your content marketing? Contact us today.
Theresa Colston is an Account Coordinator at Mulberry Marketing Communications, an award-winning full-service B2B communications agency based in Chicago, London and Australia. She enjoys developing creative marketing ideas and building connections to drive results for clients.