Why should you podcast?
At first glance, it may be easy to say B2B podcasts are just a trendy content platform. But the facts tell a different story. Edison Research, in their Podcast Consumer 2016 report, shows podcast awareness, overall listening, and monthly listening have all increased year over year since 2008.
An estimated 57 million Americans have listened to a podcast in the last month. To put that in context, that’s about the same number of Americans who Tweet each month.
And podcasts have a long shelf life (definitely more than other trendy marketing platforms such as Snapchat). On Act-On’s Rethink Podcast, for example, we regularly get folks listening to archive episodes recorded several years ago.
Other stats from Edison’s research:
- Podcast listening grew 23% between 2015 and 2016.
- Monthly podcast listenership has increased 75% since 2013.
- 64% of podcasts are listened to on a smart phone or tablet.
And Apple reported its listeners downloaded more than 10 billion podcast episodes in 2016.
We’ve established that there is an audience for podcasts. But how do these episodic series benefit your business?
- They’re an opportunity for your company to have a 10- or 20-minute or even longer conversation with your audience. And many people are listening to your podcast while wearing headphones, which is a very unique connection to a prospect.
- They’re an opportunity to establish your company or someone specific within your company as a thought leader.
- They’re an opportunity to establish relationships with thought leaders, business partners, and others that you may interview as guests on your podcast.
- They’re a way to meet your audience where they are, and in a format they can easily consume, whether they’re at the gym, having their morning coffee, on their commute, or working on other projects in the office.
As Kevan Lee of Buffer wrote in his beginner’s guide to podcasting, “Done right, there are many advantages to starting a podcast of your own – new audiences, less competition, and greater intimacy among them.”
How do you get started on your Podcast?
The first step to starting your podcast is making the commitment. While there is a low bar to getting a podcast recorded, edited, and put online, you still need to make the time to do this every week, every two weeks, or every month. You also need time to reach out and schedule guests, research topics, and so forth.
At Act-On, we recorded some great podcasts in late 2014 and early 2015, but then other priorities arose, momentum was lost, and the podcast went dormant.
Prior to relaunching our Rethink Podcast last Labor Day weekend, we created a treatment that outlined our business goals and publishing schedule, listed some thought leaders we hoped to interview, provided a sample show rundown, and gave an overview of technical requirements and costs (of both equipment and human resources). We then shared this treatment with various stakeholders, from the CMO and more immediate managers to graphic designers, website designers, blog editors, and so forth.
Other points to consider and make decisions on include: Where is the podcast going to live on your website? Are you going to host it on your own, or use a third-party service? Who is your target market for the podcast? What would be your show’s title?
Another consideration is: What format type will your podcast be?
Types of Podcasts
I group B2B podcast formats into five buckets – Solo, Interview, Multi-Host, Reporting, and Narrative.
Solo – This is often a scripted podcast featuring one individual. Just as you wouldn’t have only one voice in your webinars, blog posts, videos, and other content, you should avoid having only one person featured in an entire podcast.
Interview – This is perhaps the most popular format for podcasts. It typically consists of one or more hosts interviewing one or more guests about a topic.
Most of our Rethink Podcasts are in the interview format, where we have someone from Act-On ask questions of a guest. This has included Michelle Huff, our CMO, as well as industry influencers such as Scott Brinker, Matt Heinz, or Jill Rowley. We’ve also had our marketing directors take on interviews; for example, Paige Musto, head of corporate communications, interviewed her peer Suzanne Tong over at Puppet about their rebranding experience.
Multi-Host – This is just what is sounds like; it’s a show with two or more hosts. They can chat amongst themselves on a particular topic or they can interview a guest.
Reporting – This is your typical NPR show or podcast, where the interviewer is reports on an issue and brings in an interview or two to support that reporting.
Narrative – This is the style of public radio’s This American Life and Serial, and uses a mix of the reporter/host and guests telling a story, which could be true or fictional. These are among the most popular podcasts for listeners. However, they are not just created by only the likes of the NPR crowd; businesses can do them, too. I recently listened to a narrative-style podcast from a website development company that told the story of how the launch of new design of their website almost went terribly wrong.