With roots in radio and modern forms appearing as early as the 1980s, the podcast—downloadable, digital audio programming—is an important storytelling form. Through audio, businesses have a flexible, affordable format for connecting with their ideal customers in a highly personalized way.
Over the past decade, podcasts have exploded in popularity and accessibility. Businesses across industries use them to provide informative content to listeners who are increasingly mobile and disconnected from workstations.
Adding podcasts to the content mix offers B2B organizations multiple benefits. Podcasts are—
Inexpensive to produce
Easy to promote to increase brand exposure
Easy to distribute through your own site and on multiple other channels
Easy to consume (good for your busy target audience)
Personal, giving your brand and message a human voice and allowing speaker personality to shine through
Beneficial for SEO, particularly if you transcribe and post the text (or a summary or abstract) of the episode.
A way to provide sales-ready content that will support your sales teams in many ways:
Sales content: Topics ready to send to specific prospects
Industry content: Co-promoted with an industry sponsor
Training content: Ongoing education, backstories, and perspective that can help internal and channel members be better sales people
As you do with your blog, you can use podcasts to extend your thought leadership by inviting expert guests to be interviewed or present their take on a topic. And the highly shareable format allows you extend the value of other existing site content by referring listeners to other resources that dive deeper into a topic.
Should You Produce a Podcast?
Considerations and Questions
Although podcasts are inexpensive to produce, they do require an investment of time and resources. Here are some considerations to help you get the most value from your podcast program.
How much time will it take?
Expect at least a full day of your content coordinator’s time for producing and posting each episode. Be sure to account for the time required for:
Scheduling—Contacting and confirming hosts and guests for interviews. Be sure to allow guests time to respond and to get approval from their companies’ internal leadership, if needed.
Research—Your podcast coordinator will want to thoroughly research and develop topics, including creating an outline or direction for each episode. In addition, be sure to research guests, prepare questions for them ahead of time, and prepare a rough script or bullet outline for hosts.
Recording—Set aside your block of time plus a little extra.
Editing—Budget more time for editing than for recording.
Posting and marketing—Allow your coordinator time to get the word out about your fresh, new content!
What’s your podcast format?
Podcast formats have a lot of built-in flexibility. Consider using a mix of formats including:
Solo—Scripted “blog-style” presentation in which one individual shares expertise on a topic or opinion
Interview—Hosts interview one or more guests about a topic
Multi-Host—Two or more hosts converse on a topic or interview a guest
As you determine your ideal formats, keep in mind these considerations:
Who will host? Will you feature one presenter regularly or spread the hosting role among several of your SMEs?
Who to interview? Draw up a short list of experts and thought leaders from inside and outside your organization. And don’t forget about your customers! Often overlooked, they can bring a real-world perspective to topics that likely matter to all your other customers, too.
How long should episodes be? This is an “it depends” question. Some organizations keep podcasts as short as 10 minutes; others fill an hour. Set yourself a target length but be prepared to be flexible.
How frequently should you post? We recommend starting with one to two episodes per month to keep your team’s commitment reasonable.
PRO TIP – To save time and resource consider recording multiple episodes in a single sitting. This approach will lower the barrier to entry and help you generate multiple episodes with the least disruption to your SMEs’ schedules.
Once you get going, your team may discover they have a lot to talk about—which brings us to the next consideration.
How to choose topics
Worried about finding topics to fill your podcast schedule? Don’t be. When your teams start brainstorming topics, it’s likely they’ll have more content ideas than episode spots. To narrow down your topic list, ask questions such as:
Who is doing podcasts in your space? Search for and review podcasts by thought leaders in your industry, industry trade sites and media sites, and companies in your space.
Who is NOT doing podcasts in your space? Take a careful look at whether your competitors are producing a podcast. If not, this may be a way to differentiate your organization and demonstrate leadership in your industry.
What are your customers’ biggest pain points? Offer listeners content they care about.
What questions do your sales people get most often? Answer them and help listeners see a clear path in their buyer journey.
What changes inside and outside your industry are directly affecting your customers? Demonstrate that you are in touch with current issues and needs in your industry and community.
Your initial list may touch on topics you’re tackling on your blog and in your current content, which gives you the opportunity to refer listeners to those other resources. Determine how your podcast content will integrate with, support, and supplement other content on your site and integrate your episodes into your master editorial calendar.
Need a way to see which topics you’ve already covered and where you need more coverage? Do a content gap analysis; we have a Content Needs Assessment Worksheet that may help you see opportunities for new content.
Next Steps to Get Started
So, are you thinking that podcasts might work for you? You can take some active steps now to get the project off the ground.
Establish your goals—Note that podcasts are NOT a device for instant conversions. Like blogs and other ongoing content forms, they are a long-term strategy for building trust with your audience and enhancing your company’s reputation.
Determine your topic areas—To get the ball rolling, gather your key stakeholders and subject matter experts. Be sure to include your sales team in your discussions to ensure you are producing content that supports your ideal customer personas at every stage of the buying journey.
Identify any skill or bandwidth gaps—If your team needs help, don’t hesitate to ask for it. Connect with a provider that has experience working directly with internal teams and SMEs and can embrace and support your goals.
Although podcasts are popular for information and entertainment among a wide range of listeners, B2B organizations are just dipping into this flexible, direct content form. If your organization is looking to add a different content type to your mix, podcasts may fit the bill!