Podcasts: We're Listening

We recall when podcasts launched back in the “aughts" as the latest shiny new digital product. But by the end of that decade, they largely disappeared from the marketing lexicon. How things have changed.

Podcasts are now a significant tool in a marketer’s arsenal. Thanks to their affordable costs and growing popularity, they are a winning tool to showcase thought leadership, and support content marketing and related lead-generation efforts.

According to Statista, there were an estimated 120 million US podcast listeners in 2021, with forecasts suggesting that this number will surpass 160 million in 2023. Consumption has also grown, helping to make them a B2B marketer’s media choice in achieving ROI. This puts an onus on creating a quality product.

Developing a successful podcast relies on three principles: interesting content, strong production values, and strategic promotion.

Podcast Microphone

Podcasts are soaring in popularity, the tech is easier than ever, and there’s still a lot of opportunity for new podcasters.

Interesting Content.

Focus on a topic that showcases your expertise and passion. It goes without saying that podcast topics should reflect your business, presenting opportunities to demonstrate thought leadership and address client needs. Each podcast episode should cover material the host is excited about and enjoys discussing. In total, relevant content conveyed in a relatable way is essential for reaching and connecting with listeners.

Choose a format that suits your topic and style. There are multiple podcast formats. You can feature a sole speaker, or a co-host and presenter who engage in a dialogue. Podcasts can also interview single or multiple guests in a roundtable or panel discussion. There is no single formula and creating a podcast might require experimenting with several formats to see which works best.

Prepare and rehearse, don’t just record. Quality podcasts are built on preparation and rehearsal. For scripted podcasts, write and revise, making sure to use language and terminology that resonates with your target audience. For unscripted podcasts, create a framework that sketches out the broad strokes of what will be covered. And for both approaches, make sure to leave room for improvisation. Hosts should then rehearse and talk into the mic. It's essential for your speakers to get comfortable and sound natural.

Apple Podcasts is the number one podcast directory in the world and accounts for 37.4% of all podcast downloads.

Strong Production Values

Invest in professional podcast services. To ensure a professional production, invest in a podcast producer. These pros can help with a variety of important production issues: editing, audio quality, and sound mixing, as well as selection and integration with hosting services and online publisher platforms.

Do-it yourself. Podcast pros will handle a variety of production issues but for "do-it-yourselfers" consider:.

Many B2B marketers see limited value in this approach, preferring to post their podcasts on the company website. However, many websites don’t offer the storage and bandwidth needed to support a podcast series. While there is clear “waste” in online publisher platforms given their large consumer audiences, there is also inherent benefit. Their sheer breadth can help drive awareness and expand coverage—after all, most listeners search on the major platforms to find interesting podcasts.

Advanced analytics and insights help you to understand and grow your audience.
—Anchor by Spotify

Strategic Promotion

Promote your podcast in as many ways as possible. Include your podcast in e-marketing campaigns and post on social networks. For additional content marketing opportunities, download the podcast as an audio file and transcribe it to text. Then edit the text into a blog post, series of blog posts, or long-form content that can be gated on a landing page. This is a perfect example of content repurposing.

Use data and analytics. As in all marketing, data and analytics are a useful tool. The hosting services provide data and analytics to help you better understand and expand your listening audience.
Build recognition as a guest on other podcasts. If your podcast host is a good speaker or has an interesting personality, book them as a guest on other podcast programs. This presents opportunities to promote your podcast to additional audiences and draw more listeners.
Establish a cadence. Podcasts should not be one-offs, but part of a regularly scheduled series so that your audience comes to expect them. This addresses the most fundamental rule of good marketing and communications: consistency and frequency.

This Insight was prepared by Maria Lilly and Jake Wengroff. Feel free to reach out with any questions or comments.