Businesses searching for an advantage over their competitors are leveraging new ways of promoting thought leadership, engaging broader audiences and attracting new prospects. Podcasting, a format commonly used by B2C marketers, is increasingly drawing support from B2B companies looking for a substantial, but easily digested medium.
Like videos, podcasts do not require a significant time investment or active participation to absorb, permitting audiences to passively engage with the content at their convenience, even when on the go. This ease and flexibility makes podcasting a viable alternative to traditional written marketing resources and may be an excellent tool for your business’ content strategy.
Here are a basic overview and a few tips to help you determine if podcasting is right for your B2B organization.
The Benefits of B2B Podcasting
A podcast is an audio recording of one or more speakers conducting an informal discussion on a specific topic or related series of topics. The recordings may be hosted online and streamed by listeners or downloaded and stored on a listener’s computer or mobile device for a later occasion. This flexibility and ease of use is part of what makes podcasts so attractive, and the growing popularity of podcasts among B2B companies attests to the format’s ability to attract both casual consumers and specialized business listeners.
The immediacy and intimacy created between speaker and listener is another appealing aspect of podcasts. The direct address style fosters a sense of personal connection and simulates an authentic conversation, giving listeners the impression that the message is intended for them. The speaker’s personality is on display, and his or her mannerisms give listeners a better impression of the distinctive character of your organization. By revealing a more personal, relatable side of your business, podcasts forge a unique connection with your audience. It’s vital that the host of your podcast be a charismatic, engaging speaker who can captivate listeners and establish a positive rapport, but also speaks clearly and is easy to understand.
Give listeners valuable, actionable information they can immediately apply to their business but also enjoy.
The format is most effective when listeners feel they’ve been invited to participate in a conversation among equals in which experts disclose privileged information that will equip the listeners with a business advantage. While topics may include technical information, the tone of the podcast should remain upbeat and practical, and even provide an element of entertainment to make listening frictionless and appealing. Give listeners valuable, actionable information they can immediately apply to their business but also enjoy. The more empowered they feel, the more likely they will become repeat listeners and trust your expertise.
Creating valuable podcast content demands that you conduct research about your audience and survey experts. It’s a great idea to feature guests on your podcasts — either internal or external subject matter experts — who can stimulate dialogue with your host and contribute a fresh perspective to the conversation for listeners. Conducting a relevant and informed interview requires your host be prepared with the right questions. The key is to share your priority messaging or information through compelling and memorable conversations that feel genuine and unforced, but also representative of your brand.
How to Get Started with a Professional Quality Podcast
Podcasting requires a few specialized pieces of equipment and technical skill. If you’re going to commit to producing frequent podcasts, it’s best to purchase equipment and perform the recording, editing and hosting yourself. If you do not have prior experience with audio recording or editing, find a reliable partner to help manage parts of the production you are less familiar with for the podcast. Reducing outside costs will achieve a higher return on investment for your team, but ensuring quality of the final podcast through vendor relationships will encourage ongoing audience interest.
Here’s a list of what you’ll need to record your podcast:
- Microphone: A USB microphone is an easy, effective solution.
- Recording software: GarageBand is an excellent platform with powerful editing capabilities that is also readily available and affordable.
- Hosting: SoundCloud is among the most popular and intuitive audio hosting sites, but many companies will host podcasts on their own websites or intranets.
The equipment mentioned above is sold with instructional documentation, and tutorials can be found online from various sources. A professional will be able to easily set up and operate these tools.
You may also want to source music to accompany your podcast. You could even decide to commission custom theme music to introduce each episode. These details separate an amateur production from a professional effort and will increase the likelihood that your listeners will recommend your podcast to their colleagues.
Plan Ahead: Create a Content Calendar
Planning episodes around your customer profiles, or personas, will help you generate content that interests them.
If you’re sold on the idea of podcasting, getting started may seem daunting. Before writing your first episode or booking guests, draft a content calendar for at least the next quarter. This will provide your team with a well-defined vision for future episodes and ensure a regular cadence of content releases. It will also help you craft a gradually developing arc to your programming. Consider topics that forward your business objectives, but also differentiate your series from other podcasts or related media to pique audience interest. Build upon previous episodes, and work to ensure continuity by returning to central topics, such as your organization’s core competencies, products or services. Planning episodes around your customer profiles, or personas, will help you generate content that interests them. Be sure you also benchmark and evaluate metrics for each episode to ensure your podcast is hitting the mark for listeners over time.
While podcasting can be a time-consuming investment, it’s a great method of engaging prospects with substantial content that can separate your organization from the mass of online written material.
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