Serial, This American Life, Freakonomics . . . even if you don’t compulsively listen to podcasts yourself, chances are you’ve at least heard of these popular shows that are taking listeners by storm. The appeal goes far beyond just news and entertainment shows. Niche and business podcasts exist in nearly every industry, and yours is no exception.
Podcasting has enjoyed steady growth in recent years, with Nielsen reporting there were 16 million households who identified as avid podcast listeners in 2017, up from 13 million in 2016. It’s clearly time for podcasting to take its place in the world of content marketing, and there’s more than enough room for your brand to step up and offer value through audio. Despite the podcast’s rising popularity, only 11 percent of marketers planned to add podcasting to their marketing strategy in the next 12 months in 2017, and just 17 percent of organizations are currently using podcasting as part of a B2B marketing strategy.
Audio content is booming, and it’s time for B2B businesses to get in on the action. Read on to find out how your brand can deliver incredible value to your audience through B2B podcasting.
You’re already creating plenty of content for your audience, so why should you invest more time and money producing a podcast? The answer is simple: podcasts are experiencing undeniable growth, and they hold an audience’s attention for far longer than the average piece of content.
Even though podcast listeners aren’t directly conversing with hosts, this level of connection may encourage them to jump into the discussion more readily than if they were reading the same information through a blog post.
Even the best blog posts struggle to keep readers’ attention. Hubspot reports that 44 percent of blog readers admit to skimming posts, and Time states that 55 percent of people spend fewer than 15 seconds on a page. Compare that to a whopping 86 percent of podcast listeners who stay tuned for most of or an entire podcast episode. This ready and willing audience typically feels more engagement with podcasts than other forms of content, primarily because many listeners feel personally connected to the hosts. Engaged listeners aren’t afraid to reach out to podcast hosts with feedback and questions, creating an open line of communication that fosters loyalty and trust.
Blogging has its place in your content marketing strategy, but podcasting offers a type of long-form content that encourages listeners to stick with it. Podcasting can provide the opportunity to create brand awareness and to authentically engage with your followers. Use these strategies to incorporate the new world of audio content into your B2B content marketing plan.
Integrating thought leadership into your marketing strategy is a smart way to provide the value your followers crave, all while boosting your own brand authority. Ninety-six percent of B2B buyers want content with more input from industry thought leaders. Podcasting is the ideal way to give the people what they want. Just look at The Storybrand Podcast, which found success interviewing leading entrepreneurs like Daymond John and business and productivity authors like Daniel Pink and Dan Heath.
Interviews with thought leaders not only provide a tangible connection between your brand and industry experts, but they also open a dialogue that listeners will want to share with others. Podcast “super listeners” who consume the most audio content per week are more than willing to spread the word about their favorite podcasts, with 96 percent stating they have recommended a podcast to a friend. Imagine what that word-of-mouth could do for your brand awareness!
Podcasting is a more intimate medium than written content. The Harvard Business Review points out that although all language, written or spoken, can communicate ideas, spoken language more readily conveys social relationships. Even though podcast listeners aren’t directly conversing with hosts, this level of connection may encourage them to jump into the discussion more readily than if they were reading the same information through a blog post.
Many podcasts have taken advantage of this willingness by sharing listener feedback in a segment on their shows or even hosting a full Q&A episode. Entrepreneur and CEO Gary Vaynerchuk has made this a successful podcast model by gathering listener questions using the hashtag #AskGaryVee on social media. Taking your content from a one-sided medium to a two-sided conversation allows your listeners to feel heard and appreciated, which in turn builds brand loyalty. “Loyalty is fostered by telling the target consumers that the brand is on their side,” reports the University of Southern California. Engaging with listeners on-air presents the opportunity to strengthen those bonds.
Consumers want to see behind the curtain so they know they’re working with brands that are authentic, honest, and trustworthy. You can deliver all the value in the world, but it won’t make a difference if customers don’t trust the source. For example, Salesforce uses its Admins Podcast to connect customers who use their product every day with leaders in their company. Even though podcast listeners aren’t directly conversing with hosts, this level of connection may encourage them to jump into the discussion more readily than if they were reading the same information through a blog post.
Interviewing your company’s leaders can humanize your brand and reassure your audience that your company has their best interests at heart. Many of the factors that build trust in a brand are present in podcasting, including quality of communication, lack of opportunistic behavior, and a consistent history of positive interactions. Featuring your company’s leaders on your brand’s podcast will allow them to forge a bond with listeners, even those who are hearing about your brand for the first time.
Every employee feels the pressure to stay on top of the latest news and trends in their industry. What better way to bring value to your listeners than by being the resource that helps them stay in the know? Social media scheduling app Buffer has harnessed this strategy in The Science of Social Media Podcast, where they share updates on the latest social media happenings.
Being known as a reliable source of industry news can skyrocket your brand authority and give your trust factor a bump as well. Podcast listeners rated podcasts nearly as trustworthy as national newspapers when it comes to accuracy of content, and they ranked far ahead of network TV news and social media. Your followers are craving accurate sources of industry news. Your brand could be the one to deliver it to them.
B2B podcasting is an up-and-coming marketing trend that can propel both your brand awareness and the value you offer listeners to new heights. It does take a bit of technical know-how to get started, but podcasting isn’t as intimidating as it sounds. Veteran B2B podcaster Pat Flynn breaks it down into simple steps, from choosing the right equipment to getting your audio files uploaded. Before you know it, you’ll be attracting a listening audience to your brand! Now that your podcast has your brand on listeners’ radar, make sure your funnel is ready for all those new leads. Learning the art of nurturing high-funnel leads will help you take the next right step.