B2B marketing has changed considerably in the past two decades due to a wide range of new “must-have” marketing platforms — from Facebook to TikTok and beyond. You’ve likely deployed many of them. But have you considered branded podcasts?
Branded podcasts give companies several advantages, including a new way to bond with consumers through interesting audio episodes on niche topics. This shared-interest content delivered on a regular schedule helps strengthen the bond.
Podcasts emerged in 2003 in the form of audio stories delivered directly to iPods, hence, the name “podcast” — a mashup of iPod and broadcast. Today, podcasts are a series of audio files that people can listen to anywhere on any device. Another thing that’s different is the sheer number of podcasts available.
While podcast growth was mostly in the early years, the sector has experienced some rapid growth in the last couple of years as well. It took until February 2018 to reach 500,000 active podcasts. According to Podcast Insights 2020, in January 2020 there were 850,000 active podcasts. Eight months later, in August 2020, there were 1 million podcasts.
Other impressive podcasting stats:
A branded podcast with interesting content, delivered on a regular basis, can build significant brand recognition, as well as instill trust and credibility with consumers. It can also expand reach across a wider, more diverse audience.
Spending an hour in the car or in the gym listening to a podcast host speak on an interesting topic can feel intimate for listeners. They may suddenly see a company in a whole new light. This intimacy builds credibility and drives stronger brand affiliation.
People spend uncountable hours in their cars, in the gym, running or in multiple other settings where they can pop in their earbuds and listen to music, audiobooks or podcasts. As a result, they’re always looking for fresh and interesting content to consume.
Many companies have successfully launched branded podcasts — with more joining the ranks of “podcaster” all of the time. Here are five examples:
“Discover podcast stories from entrepreneurs and fitness industry influencers revealing the mental, physical and emotional ingredients involved in standing out above everybody else” in Escape Your Limits episodes.
Example of a recent episode: Business Lessons from 175 Gyms in Six Countries
“Johnson & Johnson Innovation is committed to advancing new healthcare solutions through collaboration. Our podcast explores the latest trends in healthcare and the thinkers, organizations and ideas behind them.”
Example of a recent episode: Resilience, Perseverance, and Good Science: The Story of Arcturus
“In a world where we obsess over staying connected, how can we be sure we’re not leaving ourselves vulnerable? Hackable? gives us a front-row seat to explore where we’re susceptible in our daily routines without even realizing it. From Wi-Fi to webcams and cars to computers, these episodes expose the places hackers may hit and explain how they get our information.”
Example of a recent episode: Gone Phishin
“Shopify Masters is an official Shopify podcast where successful entrepreneurs and experts share their experience and inspirational stories. Each week, our host Felix Thea invites successful entrepreneurs to share their experience and practical advice for growing an online business on Shopify.”
Example of a recent episode: How 2 Teachers Started a 7-Figure T-Shirt Business
Shopify has not one, but two podcasts. The stated purpose of this second one is: “How unexplored communities and unexpected subcultures make money today.”
Example of a recent episode: How a Tribe Called Red Brought Activism to the Dance Floor
Launching podcasts used to be complicated. Today, it’s relatively easy, requiring little more than podcasting software that minimizes noise and enhances audio quality, a good quality microphone, a host, a strong niche topic, and creative topics. You can find a range of podcasting tools readily available online.
Here are the basics of starting a new podcast:
1. Listen to a lot of podcasts. See what’s out there and get ideas for your own podcast. Listen to a wide range of podcasts from different industries — from reality shows to marketing.
2. Create your podcasting strategy. Start with a short and unique name, a clean graphic design, a compelling intro and outro, and a compelling host.
3. Create a podcast website or page. Create a separate website or landing page on your existing website to showcase your podcast. Along with posting the audio episodes, consider also posting transcripts of each episode. This is good for listeners who like to read and for search engines. Add sharing buttons to make it easy for your audience to share your podcasts on their social media profiles.
4. Find influential guests to interview. If your show is going to be interview-based, connect with and build relationships with influential people in your niche topic. Look for influencers who will bring their own audiences to your show.
5. Repurpose blog and video content. If you have a blog and YouTube channel, you can repurpose your existing content into an audio format. This will allow you to use your existing content to reach listeners who prefer audio over video and text.
6. Record your episodes. You can create a high-end podcast studio with all the bells and whistles if you want to, but by no means do you need to go all out. Instead, you can begin recording your podcasts with just a smartphone and podcast recording app. If you want better audio quality, you can invest in inexpensive audio recording equipment. You can use a free, open-source multi-track audio editor and recorder to edit your episodes.
7. Submit your podcast to directories. Most podcasting hosts will automatically submit your podcast to podcast directories.
8. Build high-domain authority links back to your podcast website. As a podcast host, it’s easy to get gigs as a guest on other podcasts. Being interviewed on other podcasts is a great way to create relevant, high domain authority links pointing back to your podcast website.
9. Promote your podcast on social media. Actively keep your podcast front and center on all of your social sites — including Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube.
10. Track your podcast metrics. Determine what you want to track, such as episode downloads. This gives you insight into what content listeners prefer and the opportunity to improve your results.
If you’ve been toying with the idea of starting a podcast, there’s no time like the present. Podcasting is on a growth trajectory that shows no signs of slowing down. Early adopters are reporting benefits that include expanding their brands and strengthening consumer relationships. With the ease of entry and the massive popularity, you might just find that podcasting is one of your best marketing avenues so far.