As every marketer knows, standing out amidst the daily deluge of B2B content is a nonstop struggle. One way to overcome that hurdle is to augment your usual social, email, and campaign collateral with a new channel. Podcasts are a great way to offer customers in the awareness and consideration stage a chance to learn about your brand. According to a 2016 Infinite Dial study published by Edison Research, in the last 10 years podcast listening has more than tripled, fueled in no small part by the advent of This American Life’s award-winning blockbuster podcast, “Serial,” the first season of which has been downloaded over 80 million times and counting.
Just during the past year, the demand for podcasts has skyrocketed by 24%, with more than 66 million people in the US tuning in weekly. The Edison Research data shows that on average, people listen to five podcasts a week. That’s a lot of potentially receptive ears for your message. But there’s more to making podcasts than just supplying good quality headsets and picking out cool intro music.
Forging a personal connection, on-demand
By lining up intriguing topics and interview guests, you can create a compelling form of on-demand content that has the power to draw in an audience in a personal way that few other marketing vehicles can match. You don’t have to have a big name like Shaquille O’Neal—who’s “The Big Podcast with Shaq” regularly appears on top-25 podcast lists—to drive engagement (though it can’t hurt).
What you do need is a story that gives your audience personal insights on topics they care about, whether it’s why the Golden State Warriors lost the NBA Finals to the Cleveland Cavaliers (ouch—still a sore subject for us here in San Francisco) or a high-tech digital marketer’s view on the symbiotic relationship between your content and your company’s reputation.
Sharing insights from in-house talent on a regularly scheduled show is one way to raise the profile of internal influencers and burnish your company’s reputation as a thought leader. Featuring engaging external experts can also help attract a larger audience and keep a show fresh. People will subscribe to content that both entertains and helps them perform better in their professional life. And unlike written material, podcasts can easily be listened to by people on the go, who can enjoy it while commuting, working out, or walking the dog. The easier it is to access your content, the greater the odds it will be consumed and shared.
A forum for thought leadership
The average length of a podcast is 18 to 22 minutes, making it an excellent forum for B2B thought leadership and long-form content marketing. That span of time gives you an ample opportunity to go more deeply into topics that matter to your listeners. You can expand on concepts central to your value proposition in an informal, conversational way, helping your audience understand why they will benefit from your services.
Podcasts also present an opportunity to repurpose content. For example, at Tendo we’ve created a companion set of podcasts for a client that complements the client’s suite of written thought-leadership assets. You can also transcribe the audio from your podcast and publish brief segments as social media posts, or break up longer podcasts into multiple blog posts. You increase the likelihood that your content will reach your target audience, and you extend the value of your investment.
Taking the long view
Given that millennials have embraced the channel with a vengeance, podcasts provide a way to cultivate long-term customer relationships with a younger audience. “Podcasts are becoming (or already are) the way millennials listen to the radio,” according to Policy.Mic. In 2015, more than one in three US workers was between the ages of 18 to 34 (aka, a millennial), making them the largest share of the American workforce. And that’s a market you don’t want to ignore.