Podcasts are well and truly having their moment. Last year in the US, listening figures went up by 25%. Even President Obama has been known to get involved, making an appearance on Marc Maron’s highly popular series WTF.
Plus, as Convince and Convert explains, business people love podcasts because “it’s the most time-efficient way to get educated. You can multi-task your podcast listening in ways you simply cannot with other forms of content.”
Getting your information via a podcast means you can listen at leisure, during your commute, at the gym, while you’re making dinner – even offline, on the tube, for example. Unlike videos, they don’t command all of your attention and, because of that, people will often listen to longer, more in-depth discussions. It’s kind of like having a radio station that’s 100% geared to your interests.
But that doesn’t mean that the usual rules on how to create good content no longer apply. Far from it. Your podcast needs to be compelling. It has to be useful. It has to be engaging enough that potential clients and decision-makers will want to listen to it in their precious spare time.
Firstly, you need decent-enough production values. It doesn’t have to be world-class, but the audio should be crisp and clear. No background noise, no echoey rooms.
Then, of course, you need to choose topics carefully. What do your customers really, really care about? What do they want to learn about? This is probably not exactly the same as what you want to sell.
Third, who is going to present it? Popular B2B podcasts unsurprisingly feature someone who is charismatic and clear-spoken, with a strong but amiable personality, and the presentation and interview skills to bring each episode to life.
Fourth, who else will be on the show? Most of the time, in order to be really engaging, a podcast will rely on the host having plenty of spark with co-presenters, access to high-calibre guests and plenty to say about your industry.
This can really work to your advantage, too. Is there someone in your field you’re dying to talk to, or a company you really want as a customer but need a way to start the conversation? Invite them in as a guest. That way, you can bolster your output by drawing on the expertise of well-known thought leaders or lay the foundations for a great working relationship, while all the time giving them the chance to promote themselves, too. The idea is to find ways to add value for your audience while demonstrating your credibility and connectedness, in order to make something really special for your sector.
What’s more, a really, really good podcast can even give you the chance to create a totally new income stream. Whereas in the past, they didn’t tend to make money, the ease with which people can download and sync to their iPhones for later listening (even offline) has seen audience sizes soar - and advertising with it.
Today, the going rate for a podcast advert is around $25 per thousand downloads. That doesn’t sound like a huge figure, but if your series gains some traction, it can go some way towards covering your production costs, making podcasting a very budget-friendly element of your overall B2B content marketing strategy.
(A word of caution, however: until and unless you have a sizeable listenership, don’t go tacking on any adverts that aren’t for your own products. No one likes listening to adverts, and there’s no point in running the risk of potentially alienating listeners unless the pros outweigh the cons.)
Of course, while earning a little bit of money from your podcast is great, it shouldn’t be the primary goal. Your purpose is to create great, informative, educational content that your B2B audience will love, enhancing your reputation, cementing your voice and establishing your company as the go-to experts in your industry. Anything else is a bonus.
For more in-depth advice on creating great resources for your content marketing strategy, download The B2B Content Creation Masterclass.