Consumers love podcasts, so it was only a matter of time before marketers started launching them to promote their businesses. A survey from IDG, CMI and MarketingProfs found 64 percent of technology marketers increased their use of audio/visual content in 2018. A report from HubSpot in 2018 noted that 17 percent of marketers plan to add podcasting to their efforts in the next 12 months.
Podcasting is really an expansion of a content marketing strategy - and the amount of content businesses are creating is still growing immensely. As proof, the IDG survey reported 58 percent of technology marketers increased their content creation budget in the last 12 months - more so than any other category.
Should podcasts be part of your B2B marketing strategy?
If you’ve already determined that podcasts should have a place in your strategy, they should, jump to the next section, “How to promote your podcast.”
As with all new plays, there will be many a marketer who will add “launch a podcast” to their annual marketing plan without thinking about the value it offers to their business and target customers. And it will be a wasted investment.
Because, a podcast is just that; an investment. In order to reap the return, you must have a solid strategy in place and align the podcast to your business’s goals. You also must produce interesting content and give your audience a reason to listen or it won’t matter how much you promote it.
Consider the following if you’re deciding whether to launch a podcast for your business.
How does a podcast tie back to your marketing goals? You might want to build brand awareness, or support an account-based marketing (ABM) strategy by profiling guests from target accounts, or get to know your core buyers better by featuring them as guests. Maybe it’s a combination?
Whatever your approach, clearly define it. Remember also that it will take time to see a return. Give yourself enough runway to fully understand how the podcast performs against your goals. Producing three episodes, realizing it takes a lot of work and calling it quits won’t cut it.
What will your podcast be about and how can you make it interesting? What are your customers most interested in learning? What will capture their attention? What will help them be better at their jobs? Your podcast should be related to your company’s vision and mission, but it doesn’t have to be about what you sell. Savvy B2B marketers know they’re really marketing to people, not businesses. So, while the product you sell might not seem so sexy, that doesn’t mean your marketing has to be boring.
Take Basecamp as an example. The Rework podcast isn’t about project management or team communication, instead, it helps you find a better way to run and grow your business. It’s a topic near and dear to the founders of Basecamp, and they turn to other business owners to tell their stories and help others.
What will keep listeners hooked for the next episode? Dissect what you enjoy about podcasts you listen to - both for work and pleasure. What keeps your attention? If you stop listening to one, what turned you off? Here are some of our other top picks for the best podcasts for work; take a listen and get inspired.
Can you maintain consistency? Once you launch the podcast, listeners are going to expect regular episodes. Decide ahead of time what is realistically manageable for your team. Once you start producing, work ahead of schedule. You never know when a guest will unexpectedly postpone your interview or you’ll encounter a last-minute travel change, so have a few episodes “in the can” at all times.
How to promote your new podcast
Once you’ve decided to launch a podcast for your business, you need to bring it to the world and build a listening base. Here’s where to start:
Launch a few podcast episodes at once. If you’re starting from scratch, you want to give listeners enough content to latch on to and get hooked. Often this is three episodes’ worth of content.
Publish your podcast everywhere. The top places to publish are iTunes/Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify, Sticher, SoundCloud and TuneIn. Note that it can take some time for your podcast to appear in iTunes, which is the directory most podcasters count on for success - so make sure it’s listed before promoting the launch.
Create a podcast landing page. This should be the home base for your podcast and where you’ll direct traffic. Include links to listen via Apple, Google and any other directories you’ve submitted to. Include a description of the podcasts, the host(s), contact information, past episodes and a link to your company website.
Make it easy for people to contact you. Involve your audience as much as possible. Invite them to submit ideas for future episodes, suggestions for guests or overall feedback. Include an email, website form, social channels or phone number for them to contact you.
Make it easy to share the podcast on social. Use pre-populated sharing links on your site and in episode descriptions, and make all social handles and hashtags easy to find.
Tease the upcoming launch in your existing marketing channels. Promote the soon-to-be-launched podcast in related marketing pushes such as email newsletters, email nurtures, social media, blog posts and more.
Publish each episode in multiple form factors. Let your audience engage in the way they prefer. Publish the audio, but also create a video version (and upload to YouTube) and a text transcript. You may want to publish highlights of the episode in text format, then include the full transcript below. Here’s an example from The Empowered Marketer:
Post about the launch to your corporate blog. Announce the podcast, share a description of the series, embed the first episode and summarize the key points - and always link to the podcast landing page. Again, make it easy for folks to subscribe and share with their networks. Here’s an example from Drift’s Marketing Swipe File.
Email your database the first episode. Email your database (or an appropriate segment of it) announcing the new series and pointing to the landing page. Ask for shares and feedback. See another example from Drift:
Feature a link to the first episode on your homepage. Feature the launch as a news item or as a banner at the top of your homepage and ask website visitors to check out the new podcast.
Promote the podcast on all social channels. Establish a steady cadence of posts to promote the episodes, the podcast, top quotes or insights and more. Use relevant hashtags and create imagery to support the posts. Pin a post to the top of your profiles.
Create new social profile banners. Use your profile header image as more real estate to promote the launch. Make sure to include the URL of your landing page since the image isn’t clickable.
Advertise on social channels.Invest in paid social to boost your top performing posts or run a separate campaign to get more eyes on your first episodes. You don’t need a large budget - even a few hundred dollars will get you more visibility. Securing high ratings in the podcast directory will be central to your success, so focus on getting more listens and ratings early on.
Create an advocacy plan. Ask employees, friends and family to do two things: Share on their social networks (give them sample posts so they can easily copy and paste) and rate the podcast, especially on the iTunes and Google directory listings.
Submit to podcast listings. There is no shortage of “top podcasts to listen to” lists. Do some PR outreach and get in front of these curators for consideration. Also consider sites such as Product Hunt and submit there.
How to keep building more listeners for your podcast
Once you establish a core base of followers, you’ll need to keep attracting new listeners. As you produce more content, you’ll be able to source more feedback, capture more data and get a better understanding of how the podcast performs against your goals.
You’ll want to continue many of the promotional efforts from your launch, as well as introduce ongoing tactics such as the below:
Activate your guests. Create a guest advocacy plan and make it easy for them to promote their episodes to their networks. You’re featuring people who are leaders in your industry, have deep ties to your customer base or are well-connected to your target buyers. Take advantage of this and let them help you get in front of their colleagues and connections. A “guest kit” might include:
Social media handles and hashtags for Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn for the guest(s), host(s), company and others
Graphics featuring quotes and images from the guests with call to actions (CTAs) to listen and subscribe
Video clips with audio from the episode
Sample posts for social media
Description of the series
Bios for the hosts
Activate your team. Similarly, ask employees to help promote each episode to their networks. You can even provide the same advocacy message as you do to guests.
Promote the podcast throughout your website and content. Be sure to include your podcast as CTAs within your blog and other marketing content. Add images or banners throughout your site pages that direct to your podcast.
Include new episodes as an offer in lead nurturing campaigns. Think beyond your latest content asset and direct leads in your database to listen to the latest episode. You should also promote new episodes within your email newsletter.
Create a regular social media posting schedule. Incorporate a mix of social posts, “asks” and promotions. You can:
Ask people to subscribe
Tease upcoming episodes with reminders or “stay tuned” messages
Post the latest episodes for listening
Post video snippets of interviews
Share interesting quotes or stats from interviews
Create images, GIFs or videos for increased social sharing and engagement
Ask followers to submit questions or guest recommendations
Run a contest. Ask social media followers and email subscribers to listen to, share and rate your podcast (or another ask) and enter to win a prize. The prize can be anything - a shoutout or brief advertising spot on the podcast, swag prize pack, gift card, etc.
Continue advertising and distributing your podcast. Just as you’d secure a sponsorship to promote your latest report or white paper, do the same for your podcast. Consider sponsorships with relevant publications or influencers, running pay per click (PPC) campaigns on social platforms and more.
Continue to pitch your podcast. Treat your podcast as one of your company’s thought leadership assets (which it, of course, is). Pitch the media to appear in curated lists of top podcasts or secure profiles of your guests and stories shared on the podcast. Incorporate your podcast into offline channels, too. For instance you might feature a live recording as part of your next roadshow event, or incorporate live updates from a trade show your team attends.
Launching a podcast as part of your business’s marketing strategy requires dedication and work. You can certainly start small and measure its effectiveness before building upon it, but be sure to set your goals and KPIs accordingly.
Have you successfully used podcasting in your marketing strategy? We’d love to hear your tips - please comment below or share with us @MetisComm.
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Business Podcasting: Your Guide to Planning, Producing & Promoting