If you want to start a podcast in 2023, you’re gonna get the inevitable question from your boss: “What’s the ROI?”
The answer may not seem obvious. Because, just like every other content marketing channel, it can be hard to draw a straight line from producing a podcast to growing revenue.
But, if you want to actually get a podcast up and running, you’re going to need a good response. And the good news is that there are plenty of good ways to calculate podcasting ROI.
In this article we’ll explore podcasting ROI from a few different angles, including:
- Brand awareness
- Content quality
- Content production efficiency
- Customer retention
- Greasing the funnel
Let’s get into it!
Growing brand awareness hinges on making your brand visible and memorable across multiple channels, including audio podcasts.
Audio has developed into a major content channel, as these stats show:
- In 2021, US listeners set a new record by consuming approximately 15 billion hours of podcast episodes.
- As of 2022, around 109 million Americans (about 38% of the population) listen to at least one podcast per month.
- About 74 million Americans (roughly 26% of the population) listen to podcasts weekly.
- Weekly listeners tune in to 8 podcast episodes per week, on average.
(Source: The Infinite Dial 2022)
In short, tens of millions of people, not only in the United States but around the world, listen to podcasts–including many of your customers and prospects.
If developing brand awareness means meeting your target audience where they are, then an audio podcast must be included among your channels.
Measuring Podcast Brand Awareness
Most podcast hosting platforms (where audio files and other assets are uploaded and pushed out to podcast directories) provide a variety of statistics that measure the reach of your show and the size of your audience.
At a glance, you can see how many downloads, or listens, a single episode has gotten. You can also know how many downloads the podcast has gotten over a select time period, or overall since you launched it.
Now, to make sense of the numbers, you need to have a baseline of what constitutes success. Unlike podcasts aimed at the general public, a B2B branded podcast is typically aimed at a very niche audience composed of the buyers and end-users that are the targets of your marketing efforts. That may be only several thousand people. If you can get around 10% of them to subscribe to and regularly listen to your podcast–something like 200-300 people, say–that’s pretty damn good!
Content Quality / Thought Leadership
Any content marketing team can pump out a bunch of content.
But it takes a lot more time, skill, and planning to create original content that cuts through the noise and clutter.
Unless, that is, you have a podcast that features unscripted discussions with subject matter experts from inside your company and from without. When done well, those sorts of discussions are largely spontaneous and therefore unique. At their best, well-crafted podcast interviews yield unexpected insights and fresh new ways of looking at problems and ideas.
Because that’s the nature of a really good conversation.
Content Production Efficiency
It’s a lot easier and more efficient to record a good conversation and turn it into dozens of pieces of content than it is to start a blog post or white paper or social post from scratch.
Writing a 1000-word blog post from scratch can take days, if not weeks, including doing research, coming up with a structure, writing a draft, and then revising.
Starting with a recorded conversation means that content is already there; you just need to reshape it into a blog post or white paper or whatever you want to produce. And since the conversation involves at least one subject matter expert, you don’t need to do much research beyond what you already did to prepare for the interview.
Same goes for video. You can–and should–record video as well as audio and produce it as full-length video episodes and/or several promotional clips for social media.
The more content you produce, the more value you get from each podcast recording.
According to the 2021 B2B Marketing Monitor study, published by B2B International, more than half of the 301 marketing, insight, CX, and business strategy decision makers who participated in the study counted “connecting with customers on an emotional level to drive higher brand engagement” among the top 5 most difficult challenges they face.
True emotional connection comes through personal interaction and collaboration. Inviting customers to be guests on your podcast provides opportunities for getting to know your customers better by interviewing them about their business and their most pressing challenges–information that’s invaluable for anticipating customer changing needs. Your customers, meanwhile, benefit from burnishing their personal brands by being featured on the podcast.
And both you and your customers profit from forging a stronger connection through having created content together.
Greasing the Funnel
According to the Hubspot Insiders blog, the key to dislodging prospects who are stuck in the middle of the sales funnel is to dig deeper into their pain points.
Hubspot suggests sending stuck prospects a survey about their content preferences, purchasing factors, and so on.
But let’s be honest … How many of your prospects are going to take the time to fill out a survey? 15% at most?
Would it not be a more attractive proposition to invite prospects on to your podcast? The value proposition is the same one at play with customers: you learn valuable information about what’s keeping prospects from buying, and your prospects get content featuring themselves as industry experts.
“Would you like to be a featured guest on my podcast?” is a much easier Yes than “Will you please fill out this survey?”
Curious about starting a branded podcast and want to learn more? Contact us for a free consultation!