Podcasts have been around since 2004 when MTV video jockey Adam Curry, and software developer Dave Winer, found a way to download online radio broadcasts to an iPod. Thanks to Curry and Winer, listeners gained a way to store radio broadcast files on their portable players.
The idea of portable online radio became a viral phenomenon, and in 2005, "podcast" (iPod + Broadcast) became the Word of the Year. Since then, the popularity of podcasts has grown steadily. In 2014, it experienced a surge when an investigative journalism podcast, Serial, shook the nation and demonstrated a new way to use this form of audio content.
In 2021, 80 million Americans listened to podcasts weekly. That's a 17% increase from 2020. Currently, there are over 2 million active podcasts and over 48 million podcast episodes.
The convenience and availability of the podcast format make it appealing to a highly diverse group of people, including B2B decision-makers.
Let's take a closer look at how podcasts fit into your B2B marketing strategy and their benefits.
How Podcasts Fit Into the B2B Marketing Strategy
When it comes to B2B content marketing, many marketers are extremely aware of their teams’ tight bandwidth and are careful to introduce new forms of content. Like any other marketing effort, the required energy to produce new content has to provide value for their intended audience and generate ROI.
So, what can a seemingly labor-intensive medium like podcasting achieve that others can’t?
Unlike blogs or videos, podcasts are a unique form of content sometimes referred to as “eyes-up,” meaning people can consume it while doing other things. You may ask yourself, “why should I invest in content that people only half pay attention to?” While it may sound like the format could turn your podcast into background noise, it’s quite the opposite. People are busy and only getting busier. You need to meet them where they are, whether that’s in the gym or during their commute. Podcasts will help you do that.
You can implement podcasts in your B2B marketing campaign in several ways:
- Explaining something complex in an engaging manner
- Telling a unique story
- Educating existing customers or clients about your company, products, services, etc.
- Collaborating with industry experts to provide opinions and thought leadership
- Repurposing written and video content
With their popularity only growing, podcasts will soon stake their claim as an industry standard.
Benefits of Using Podcasts for Your B2B Marketing Strategy
Besides being a convenient form of content for your audience, podcasts have a variety of other benefits.
1. They Build a Community
B2B communities have a positive impact on the customer's buying journey. About 80% of business founders report that building a community is highly important for their companies.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, B2B customer engagement was mostly in-person. From meetings to trade shows, it was easy to communicate with your potential customers face to face. Once the pandemic had people at home, online communities started gaining more momentum.
By developing a podcast, you create another opportunity to build a community for your business. With this more personal format, you create a valuable link and an emotional connection between customers and people in your company.
The rising popularity of podcasts will only cement them as a dominant medium in the near future. Using it for community building will help you gain a competitive advantage.
2. They Reach Decision Makers
Podcasts can also be the perfect solution for decision-maker audiences that don’t have the time or desire to digest written content. Whether they spend hours a day in meetings or overseeing their respective departments, it’s hard to grab the attention of a decision-maker. However, according to a recent LinkedIn survey, 44% of decision-makers who know about podcasts make time to listen to them.
Giving key members of your audience a platform to participate in your company’s community and conversation will only benefit you in the long run.
3. They Establish Thought Leadership
Establishing thought leadership is the key to client loyalty. To become a thought leader in its industry, a B2B company needs to offer its audience guidance, first-hand experience, and support.
While many B2B companies offer high-quality products or services, only a handful become thought leaders. In many cases, this happens because they can't find an effective way to communicate their expertise.
That's where podcasts come in. The often discussion-based format of podcasts allows you to give a more natural explanation of your expertise without the stress of being on video that comes with webinars or explainers.
It can be much easier to establish thought leadership when you’re comfortable and your audience can digest your information.
4. They Offer Repurposing Opportunities
While creating brand new content is great for your B2B marketing strategy, it can easily burn a hole in your marketing budget and time. Repurposing podcasts can be a useful tactic for keeping your content pipeline full and bringing value to your target audience without incurring major expenses.
You can repurpose podcasts into several other formats, including, but not limited to:
- Blog posts
- White papers
- How-to guides
- Social media posts
You can also go the opposite direction and repurpose your highest-performing written or video content into podcast topics. It offers you a perfect opportunity to put your content in front of different segments of your target audience.
On the other hand, podcasts can breathe new life into poorly ranking content by presenting dry information in a more engaging format. Guaranteed, you can stretch one podcast episode further than you may think.
5. They Add SEO Value
While podcasts come in an audio format, they can still contribute to your search engine optimization efforts. If you’ve included them in your overall content strategy, they should discuss topics that hit your target keywords. You can use this to your advantage by transcribing them and offering them as blog posts on your website.
You can take this a step further by formatting them with SEO-optimized headings, meta descriptions, title tags and other metadata.
Other things to consider when optimizing your podcast for SEO include:
- Promoting your podcast on social media channels and industry websites
- Creating web pages dedicated specifically to podcasts and implementing proper internal linking
- Inviting experts to be guests and having them promote it to their networks
For a seemingly SEO-unfriendly content type, podcasts have a wealth of opportunities for improving your rankings.
Podcasts are becoming a highly demanded form of content in the B2B marketing space. Their ability to reach your busy audience(s), establish thought leadership, and cut marketing costs makes podcasting a must-have content format for almost any business.
While creating a successful B2B podcast isn't always straightforward, the time you spend on it is a worthwhile investment in your company's bottom line and future success. In the near future, podcasts will likely be a must-have tool for gaining a competitive edge.
To learn more about integrating podcasts into your B2B marketing strategy, listen to our episode about them on our own podcast, the B2B Growth Marketer Podcast.