Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the past several years, like Obi Wan Kenobi in the original Star Wars movie, you’re probably aware that podcasts have become very popular.
Between 2017 and 2020, the number of podcast listeners in the United States alone rose from 46.1 to 75.9 million. (See https://www.statista.com/statistics/1123105/statista-amo-podcast-reach-us/)
The rise of podcasts have important implications for B2B brands, too.
Many businesses consider podcasts a “nice-to-have” luxury, something to try once you’ve gotten your more conventional “need-to-have” marketing channels established. You need to have a solid blog before you venture into the wild west of podcasting, or so the conventional thinking goes.
But once upon a time, say 20+ years ago, the humble blog was considered avant garde. Today, nearly every B2B brand has a blog, at the very least. In 10 years, I believe branded podcasts will become just as commonplace.
Now, that might seem like a bold prediction, but I don’t think it’s much of a stretch, because podcasting is emerging as much more than a “nice-to-have”. In fact, podcasting is fast gaining a reputation as an essential tool to grow your business.
Here are 4 reasons why.
1. Podcasting Helps Build Relationships with Prospects and Decision Makers
For Ryan Alford, founder and CEO of the marketing firm Radical, podcasting is a logical marketing channel for growing his business.
“I’m a relationship guy, and I think business development, historically, is very salesy and time consuming, and it requires a lot of ‘softening the beachhead,’” says Alford, who hosts his firm’s podcast, The Radcast. “Podcasting does that for us. It’s become our number one marketing channel and it’s where at least half our business comes from.”
Podcasting helps drive business, Alford says, because it allows him to get his name and his firm’s name out in the world in a way that’s personal and authentic. In every episode, Alford interviews marketing leaders to get their views on marketing and business development and adds his own views, as well. The result is a rich mix of opinion and insight that’s gained a considerable listenership, including many of Radical’s ideal prospects.
“The podcast gets in front of potential clients that hear about it from their friends or colleagues, people they trust,” Alford says. “About one out of every two prospects that call and hire us mention the podcast. It allows people to get to know us before they know us.”
2. Podcasting Helps Grow Brand Awareness
When Joe Matar, VP of Marketing at Brazen (a virtual talent recruiting platform) started the company’s podcast, Talent on the Rise, he saw it as an ideal way to grow and establish the company’s brand.
“We didn’t want to just say, ‘Hey, Brazen is a highly regarded brand in the talent acquisition space,” says Matar, who hosts the show. “We wanted to let our actions do the speaking for us.” By inviting leaders in talent acquisition to be guests on the show and providing a platform for them to share their knowledge and insights, Matar says, they’ve gained a lot of credibility in the industry and solidified their brand.
Best of all, Brazen has grown their brand awareness without talking only about themselves. “On the podcast we’re talking about the challenges that are so unique to [TA professionals] that are going to help our listeners be better at what they do,” Matar says. And hosting and sponsoring the podcast goes a long way toward brazen being top of mind when guests or listeners have need for a virtual recruiting platform.
“Through the podcast we’ve built that trust and a relationship with them,” Matar says.
3. Podcasting Helps Shorten Sales Cycles
Matar has also found that the podcast can help Brazen’s sales team nudge prospects further down the funnel.
“We didn’t plan on using the podcast in this way, but when the sales team has a deal or opportunity in the pipeline, they’ve found that inviting the prospects they’re talking to to be guests on the podcast can be an effective way to speed up the deal,” Matar says.
If Brazen is up against one of its competitors, all else being equal, through its podcast Brazen can start to bring guests into its ecosystem and build a relationship. Prospects who come on the podcast are thinking about Brazen more often and more deeply than the competitor, Matar says, and Brazen has the advantage of getting to spend considerably more time with the prospect.
Guests get a lot of value, Matar says, because “we’re offering them something that no one else did, because they get to be on stage and get their personal brand out there. We’re offering them something unique that our competitor isn’t.”
4. Podcasting Makes It Easier For Prospects to Consume Your Content
When Sherri Schwartz was CMO at First Orion, a branded communication company (she’s now Head of Marketing at OvationCXM), she was tasked with the challenge of educating the market about a new technology pioneered by the company. One of her main strategies was storytelling. And one of the main vehicles for telling stories to educate her audience was podcasting.
“We wanted to be able to deliver premium content that’s convenient for people,” Schwartz says. “I look at it as, How do people interact with podcasts? On their drive to work, as they’re working, maybe while cooking dinner. It’s convenient.”
The convenience of consuming podcast content was important for Schwartz because, she says, people are already inundated with too many emails and often don’t have time to read long-form content. The convenience of listening to podcasts while doing other things offers value to her audience, Schwartz says.
Getting Started With Podcasting
It’s one thing to read about how podcasting can help grow your business. But the only way to really find out is to give it a try. If you’d like to explore podcasting, contact Connversa for a free consultation.