4 Min Read
How to Start a B2B Podcast
Podcasting can be a good B2B marketing technique. And, believe it or not, any business absolutely can create one that’s objectively successful.
However, whether or not it makes sense to actually produce a podcast for your business is an entirely different question. Here’s how we go about helping companies and brands jump into the podcast pool.
The Case for Creating a B2B Podcast
Today, more than half of Americans listen to podcasts, and there are more than 750,000 different ones out there. Their accessibility allows for people to listen at any time anywhere – during their commute, during a workout, while they’re completing household chores, etc.
While podcasts like Serial or The Daily grab headlines and receive millions of downloads, business-focused podcasts in specific B2B segments are gaining popularity as a unique business to business marketing tool.
Podcasts offer the flexibility to be presented as stand-alone episodes or as part of a series. They’re a unique platform to offer a smart take on the happenings of a specific industry from leading experts and voices. Research shows 92 percent of B2B buyers are more likely to engage with recognized industry thought leaders. Podcasting for business is a powerful lead generation tool to establish your brand and expertise in your market. It’s another hook to bring buyers and prospects to your website and other platforms.
When we launched our podcast, Wrong Story Short, we came up with a clever hook. Rather than being just another marketing podcast that talks about trends or marketing tips, each episode of Wrong Story Short details how NOT to approach a central marketing undertaking, from content marketing to crisis communications, revealing some best practices and insightful examples in the process. Our own Joe McIntyre hosts every episode and interviews someone from the Braithwaite team.
That format works for us, but there are countless ways to structure a B2B podcast. Here’s a rundown of some of the most common questions to get straight before you hit record, along with some stellar working examples.
What is the Perfect B2B Podcast Length?
The short answer to this question is as long as it needs to be. Determining the perfect length of a podcast depends entirely on the brand and subject matter. The average episode is 43 minutes in length but many benefit from being much shorter, especially if they’re designed for busy decision makers. Start by drafting some sort of schedule and script template to follow while recording a podcast can keep you from losing focus.
Here’s a good tip – if you find yourself getting too distracted towards the end of your own podcast, chances are it’s a bit too long. Few podcasts are ever too short.
What Kind of Content Should You Include in Your Podcast?
It’s critical to keep your audience and its level of knowledge in mind. Generally, you will want to include information that is relevant, knowledgeable, and entertaining (duh).
For B2B podcasts, the first two points are easy enough to accomplish. The last one can be a bit trickier.
If you’re a bank, for example, creating a podcast about how to open an account, get a loan, or start a business might not be the best way to go. But if you start a podcast interviewing interesting everyday people who have used small personal loans in a unique way that tells a cool story? Now you might be onto something.
How do you Record a B2B Podcast?
One of the most common misconceptions around podcasting is that it takes a recording studio, a ton of professional equipment and editing tools to perfect the audio quality. In reality, all it takes is a quiet space, a decent microphone (even an iPhone mic can work), and some free audio editing software.
Audacity has become our go-to editing resource, and tools like Skype for Business and Zoom are great for interviewing faraway guests that sound like they interview is happening in-person. Trust us, this is how all of your favorite podcast guest interviews are recorded.
How do you Promote the Podcast?
Another big misconception B2B marketers have about podcasts is that they need to appeal to everyone. Or if the podcast doesn’t have thousands upon thousands of listeners it’s not successful. Not true.
Promoting a podcast first begins with choosing who your audience is. Who are its ideal listeners? Is it current and prospective clients? If so, who among them? Is it your industry peers? If you say “everyone,” then your audience is way too broad. The more niche you can get with your audience, the more successful it will be.
Today, many businesses have their own social media, email newsletters, and internal communications mechanisms. When it comes to B2B podcasts, start out by getting your own employees to subscribe and follow it with promotion on your own channels, specifically email newsletters. Sharing the podcast with clients and having them become subscribers is the first step in building your audience. From there, promotion via social media advertising and ads on other podcasts can be considered.
What are Some Successful Examples of B2B Podcasts?
Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn, hosts the successful podcast Masters of Scale. On top of sharing his experiences as an industry leader, he also invites guests – everyone from Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, to Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix – to share expert opinions.
Why It Worked: While not everyone can have Mark Zuckerberg contribute to their podcasting efforts, Hoffman was able to leverage his connections for Masters of Scale and pose thought-provoking questions to engage his audience.
Perpetual Traffic is another successful podcast. Hosted by Ralph Burns and Molly Pittman, this podcast brings their successes and failures to the table in order to help others with strategy, execution, and optimization. At Perpetual Traffic, the hosts aren’t just hosts – they’re actually engaged in running digital marketing campaigns for clients.
Why It Worked: Burns and Pittman’s honesty allows audience members to grow from their experiences. Their case studies detail measurable success, which attracts more listeners.
For other sources of inspiration, check out How I Built This by Guy Raz and the Slack Variety Pack by the Slack business team.
Think those podcasts are too big to compare? Check out Wrong Story Short for a look at how we developed our own podcast and what you can accomplish on small (see zero, in our case) budgets.
There’s a valuable lesson to be gleaned from podcast marketing just as there is with marketing in general. If you don’t have an interesting story to tell, it’s unlikely anyone will listen to you. But if you can share a story or perspective no one else is, no matter how small your supposed audience may be, people will be there to listen.