Podcasts, podcasts, podcasts.
Everybody’s got a podcast — or thinking about making one — and B2B marketers are no exception.
And rightfully so.
Podcasting has never been more accessible, and it acts as one of the most intimate and authentic forms of content you can create.
So, how does it fit in your B2B digital marketing strategy?
Quite easily, actually.
Consider these podcasting statistics from Edison Research’s annual Podcast Consumer report:
- 24% of people ages 18-54 listen to podcasts every month;
- Podcast listeners tend to be affluent, educated, and diverse consumers;
- Podcast Ad revenue ballooned from $69 million in 2015 to $220 in 2017;
- 63% of podcast listeners have purchased something that a podcast host has promoted;
- And, two-thirds of podcast listeners say they don’t mind sponsorship messages (or find them useful) compared to just 6% of TV or commercial radio listeners!
But even more relevant to B2B marketing, here’s a stat from LinkedIn:
“44% of your B2B podcast audience will comprise of
department heads, VPs, owners, and c-suiters.”
LinkedIn found that the more senior the position someone held, the more likely they were to listen to industry podcasts.
Ultimately, as a B2B company, your goal is to generate as many sales leads as possible with your digital marketing strategy. And by all accounts, podcast listeners are an audience ripe with opportunity.
Yet, too many B2B marketers are sleeping on podcasting.
In fact, the Content Marketing Institute indicated that just 12% of B2B marketers used podcasting as a tactic in their content market strategy in 2017.
So, why should more B2B marketers add podcasting to their content marketing strategy?
Let’s dive in.
Two B2B Podcasting Trends to Keep an Eye On
In the immediate future, we’ve found two major trends that will impact the B2B digital marketing space.
Google’s Pivot to Audio
First, we have Google and the future of voice search SEO (audio SEO). The company behind the world’s largest search engine is in the midst of a self-dubbed ‘audio revolution.’
“Our team’s mission is to help double the amount of podcast listening in the world over the next couple years.” – Google Podcasts Product Manager Zack Reneau-Wedeen to Pacific Content.
In short, here is what Google is planning for audio content that could impact your B2B content marketing strategy:
- Podcasts will begin to be treated as “first-class citizens” on its search engine: In practice, this means that podcasts will begin ranking in search engines alongside written content, videos, and images with Google-generated snippets.
- Google Assistant will keep track of playback between your devices: This means that no matter where you are listening from — whether it be the office, in the car on your commute, or at home cooking dinner — you can pick up right where you left off.
Voice Search SEO is a Game Changer
According to Gartner, by 2020, 30% of web browsing searches will be conducted without a screen. Additionally, ComScore adds that, by 2020, half of all search will be conducted via voice search.
Considering that 72% of potential B2B buyers start with a search, B2B marketers must seriously consider the implications:
- How does a revolution in Audio SEO change how buyers interact with your content?
- Are buyers searching for potential products via voice search in the office? In the car? At home?
- Does your strategy change depending on where a buyer is physically located?
Simply put, if you aren’t planning for voice search SEO in your long-term B2b content strategies, you’re already behind. Check out our b2b seo guide for a section on voice search.
You Can Get Started with Audio Content in Your Digital Marketing Strategy Today
Smart Assistants are Taking Over the World
Google’s turn to audio wouldn’t be possible without this second trend: smart assistants.
Similar to how the smartphone trend blew up with the iPhone a decade ago, smart assistants, and more specifically smart home devices, are exploding into homes all across North America.
In fact, the smart home boom came so quickly, that eMarketer had to update its compound annual growth rate (CAGR) prediction from 16% to 47.9% between 2016 to 2020. It now predicts that by 2020, nearly a quarter of the entire US population will own a smart home device.
While it is easy to focus on the consumer implications of this trend, third-party developers — as well as giants like Google and Amazon — are already building enterprise-level tools for these devices.
Google, for example, has made its Dialogflow Enterprise Edition available for voice interface platforms of all kinds (not just Google Assistant), so that organizations can develop the next iteration of chatbots with audio.
And for the B2B content marketing arena, consider the sales funnel.
B2B buyers typically have long sales cycles, and your strategy must engage them throughout that lengthy process.
Now, imagine the ways you can engage with potential buyers when they have a smart assistant in their office, on their phone, and in their kitchen.
You can catch them while they’re making their morning coffee. You can market to them while they’re in their car (radio is back, kind of). You can reach them when they’re waiting for a meeting.
Like the most mainstay digital marketing tactics of the past decade — i.e. email marketing, blogging, marketing automation tools, etc. — B2B podcasts will become a vital tactic in the next decade.
Leverage B2B Podcasts to Generate Leads
It can be tough for B2B marketers to wrap their heads around how podcasting can be used as a viable strategy.
After all, the majority of popular podcasts today are entirely for entertainment purposes.
But when it comes to B2B podcasting, you shouldn’t be thinking about the number of downloads each episode is receiving. While that data is still important, it’s a vanity metric. After all, it only takes is one decision-maker to make a great sale.
To engage with your ideal B2B buyer, you’re invariably going to want to invite authoritative guests to speak about their industry. And your end-goal shouldn’t be to convert listeners (at least at first). Your end goal should be bringing in high-quality guests.
This idea, dubbed guest prospecting, was popularized by the host of the B2B Growth podcast, James Carbary.
You’re not targeting listeners. You’re turning your guests into prospects.
“If you close that seven-figure deal because you have a genuine relationship with the decision-maker at that company, you don’t need a thousand people to listen to your episode. What we’ve done is essentially flip it to where it’s not about the listeners, it’s about the quality of guests that you can attract on the show. Now obviously, as your show gets more and more downloads, it becomes easier to attract high-quality guests.” – James Carbary, on The Good Stuff and The Noise podcast.
Brand Marketing and Thought Leadership with B2B Podcasts
B2B podcasting does not need to have just one focus. Podcasts are an incredible way to build your brand.
By publishing weekly (or even daily) podcasts, transcribing them into blogs, and posting on social media platforms like LinkedIn, you can get 2X, or even 4X value from a single content investment.
And if you’re doing it right, you should also be turning your guests into customers.
Read More About B2B Content Strategy:
- Marketing Benefits Your Startup Will Have from Podcasting in 2019
- How to Optimize New & Old Blog Posts
- How to Do a Content Audit for SEO
Fully Leverage Podcasting in Your B2B Content Marketing Strategy
This can’t be understated.
A podcast isn’t a one-and-done piece of content. It can be leveraged for weeks, months, or even years in a wide variety of formats.
- You can transcribe portions of your podcasts and turn them into a dozen SEO optimized blogs
- You can edit 10 – 20 of the most powerful soundbites into short clips to post on YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.
- You can post your podcasts to multiple channels (like iTunes and Google Play) to grow your brand recognition
- If your podcasts are educational in nature, you can use them to build an online course
- You can upload portions of each podcast as an Alexa “flash briefing,” reaching anyone who uses their smart speaker for quick updates on their industry
Ultimately, it’s not a question of if a podcast will fit in your B2B digital marketing strategy, but how.
Whether you’re just getting started with B2B podcasting or are struggling to find its place in your content plan, you’d definitely benefit from a cohesive inbound marketing strategy. And we can help you.
So, what’re you waiting for? Let’s get started.
JumpFactor is an inbound marketing agency with in-depth expertise at creating all forms of content, including award-winning business podcasts. Contact us today to get learn how we can help you get started with B2B podcasting.