The popularity of podcasts is a strange phenomenon. A long-form, linear, audio-only format in an age of two-minute YouTube videos and 30-second attention spans. Whether you reckon they’re an evolutionary throwback, a welcome return to chunky pieces of ‘real content’, or somewhere in between, people love them. And they certainly have their place – after all, you can’t watch a video or read a blog during your morning run. Or at least I wouldn’t recommend it.
The format has blown up to such an extent that even the B2B world has cottoned on to the power of the podcast. In fact, in November 2020, Fifty Five and Five launched our own, available now on Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts. But enough shameless self-promotion – what does the B2B podcast boom mean for you?
- Bringing out your business’s story
- Inviting customers to participate
- Why the office is the new recording studio
- The importance of planning and strategy
- Ensuring success with the right help
Telling your story in your own words
Podcasts are a way to tell your organisation’s (and your employees’) stories in a way that feels honest and authentic. After all, these are your own words, spoken by you, directly to your audience’s ears. That can be extremely powerful.
Podcasts are great if you want to:
- Show your expertise, thought leadership, and passion for your field
- Humanise your brand and create better connections with your audience
- Build a loyal following who’ll be receptive to other communications
The sky’s the limit with this relatively new form of audio content marketing. Our Head of Content Stephen Reilly agrees:
‘I think what fuels the popularity of any podcast is the intimacy it conjures. It lets us as a business speak to our audience. We’re no longer just a brand slogan on our website, we’re people speaking to guests about the topics we’re all passionate about. And we get to share that. Which sort of helps bring everything else we do alive.’
Introducing some happy customers
Bringing in past or current clients as guests is one way to display that you’re good at what you do. It could have the flavour of an audio-testimonial or case study, or a discussion around industry talking-points – the latter, in particular, may be compelling to your audience.
I asked our Head of Creative Barnaby Ellis for his thoughts, as he’s hosted many a podcast featuring our special guests. He didn’t mince his words: ‘Getting your clients involved is a bit of a no-brainer. Your audience want variety in topic and tone, and you benefit from the association with genuine experts. Plus, engaging clients in conversation outside of a commercial context (and showing genuine interest in their point of view!) will only strengthen your relationship with them.’ Well said, B.E.!
If you give your audience the opportunity to learn new things or explore new developments in their world, that’s certain to impress them and build some brand love. On that note, it’s important to always keep the audience’s interest in mind. You have to give people a reason to listen – remember the ‘content’ part of the phrase content marketing. Something valuable, something interesting… your podcast has got to have something – not just an undisguised and unadulterated sell.
Mic? Check. Voice? Check.
One of the big benefits of the B2B podcast is that it’s a relatively simple format that will give you great output without draining your resources. In its plainest form, all you need is a microphone and a way to record and polish up the audio. This may account for the format’s newfound popularity among businesses everywhere who are trying to ‘do more with less’ in a challenging economic climate.
And fortunately, we’re living in the age of the citizen content creator. Everyone and their aunt’s got a YouTube channel these days, and we’re now very used to watching and listening to content that’s homemade and a little rough around the edges. It can even add a bit more of a sense of authenticity.
Nobody’s expecting a big-budget production. As long as your content is interesting, valuable, and not recorded on a Dictaphone from 1985 you found in the back of the storage cupboard, people will listen.
I asked our account manager, agency podcast producer and frequent host Roxy Ghirbomean for her thoughts: ‘Podcasts aren’t meant to be difficult. From a production standpoint, all you need is a good microphone, a guest and a topic. I’d recommend starting with a structure, an outcome and to let the conversation flow.’ So, there you have it: no need to book that studio time after all.
Don’t neglect the planning and strategy
However, just because you don’t need a full-blown recording studio doesn’t mean you can just wing it all the way. You may already be raring to go, but let’s get back down to Earth for a moment first.
You do want to apply some degree of production values, and you may not have the requisite skillsets in–house to achieve the level of professionalism you want. Bringing across your branding, hitting the right notes in terms of tone and style – that needs some thought and work.
And then there’s the all-important strategic part:
- What’s the purpose of this podcast?
- How does it fit into your content strategy?
- Do you even have a content strategy yet?
- How will you generate and select ideas for each episode?
- What will your criteria and overall editorial policy be?
Those are all things to be considered before you hit the record button. If not, you won’t be sure your podcast will represent your business in the way you want and help you to achieve your goals. Don’t create a podcast just for the sake of having a podcast – make it count.
Our founder and CEO Chris Wright has long been a devotee of the podcast-as-B2B-marketing-tool, driving Fifty Five and Five’s adoption of the format and developing our in-house capabilities for creating audio content.
Here’s Chris’ take: ‘A podcast can make a real difference as part of a joined-up marketing strategy. The rewards your business receives all depend on the thinking behind the content, however. You get out what you put in – and that should be solid planning and a focus on your USP, customers, and goals. That’s how you make sure your podcast provides value for both your audience and your business.’
Ensuring your B2B podcast is a hit with a little help
If you need some assistance with your B2B podcast, Fifty Five and Five can guide you through this weird and wonderful new territory. We’re here to help with every aspect of your audio content marketing, whether that’s:
- Nailing down the strategy
- Devising and creating content together
- Being available on an ongoing advisory basis
We want your podcast to keep your audience coming back – and engaging with your business and brand more positively than ever. If you do too, let’s start turning listeners into leads.
Want to find out more about launching and maintaining a successful B2B podcast to drive marketing success? Get in touch with the team at Fifty Five and Five today.