If you’re a B2B brand and you haven’t even considered starting a podcast, stop whatever you’re doing and keep on reading, because you might just be making a bigger mistake than you realise.
But before we go over why you should start podcasting for B2B, as well as how to do it effectively, it’s important that we first understand what podcasting really is and how it all came to be. If you’re not interested in this first section, then please turn your attention to the contents section at the side of the page; there you can skip to the relevant parts that you want!
However, if you fancy a bit of a history lesson to get some context, then keep on reading!
A Brief History of Podcasting
Some are under the impression that podcasts are just online radio shows without any music, and whilst there is some validity in that assumption, there is a little bit more to it.
Even though podcasts feel like a relatively new phenomenon, especially when put up against the age-old legacy of radio shows like the BBC, they’ve actually been going strong for a good, long while now. In fact, the entire notion of podcasting predates even the internet, going as far back as the 1980s and originally going under the archaic name of ‘audio-blogging’.
Of course, it wouldn’t remain as that name for very long all thanks to a really small, kind of indie company in 2001 known as Apple (if you haven’t heard of them, that’s okay, they’re not very popular). They released the iPod, and not only did it revolutionise the way we listen to music but it also meant that normal, everyday folk could import their audio blogs onto it and listen to them on the go.
In 2004, a program was developed called iPodder, allowing people to download other people’s audio blogs onto their iPods. Later that year, the first ever podcast service provider, Libsyn.com, entered into existence and from there, it was full steam ahead, resulting in the term ‘podcast’ being searched over 100,000 times on Google.
And now look at us, eh? Podcasting naturally started to grow, now with over two million podcasts out there, each one having a different appeal or niche than the last. People like Joe Rogan or Marc Maron would start their own podcasts and bring on a myriad of guests from all sorts of celebrity and academic backgrounds; Dungeons and Dragons fans would be able to listen to their favourite personalities play the infamous roleplaying game; film fans could get the latest industry news; parents could listen to other parents give some much needed advice. You name it, there’ll be a podcast for it.
No matter who you are, there is something in the podcasting world for everyone.
So, Where Does B2B Fit Into Podcasting?
In today’s world, people care more about the values of brands than ever before; they aren’t just looking to buy from businesses, the same way businesses aren’t looking to blindly make deals with others. Thanks to the likes of social media, we are hyper-exposed to a myriad of different personalities and brands, where we can interact with practically anyone we want at the click of a button.
When everyone - B2B brands included - has been given a platform and a voice, then naturally, they will use that platform!
B2B brands found themselves in a bit of an awkward position: how were these usually very professional, almost gated communities of business folk meant to keep up and stand out in this world of oversaturated B2C companies and franchises? How did they remain relevant?
First they turned to LinkedIn and made videos for YouTube… but it wasn’t enough. There had to be something else, the perfect marketing tool where they could express their values, explore their niches and have interesting, engaging conversations where others in and around their field would listen intently.
Enter: podcasting, the perfect way to market your business and stand out in the attention economy. With 464.7 million podcast listeners around the world, why the hell wouldn’t you want to tap into this market?
How to Start Your B2B Podcast
It seems daunting at first, doesn’t it? 464.7 million people is a ridiculously intense number. How the hell are you meant to attain even a fraction of that audience’s attention? Well, fear not you rookies, we’ve got you covered with some of the top of the range B2B podcasting best practices:
1. What’s your niche?
Before anything else, consider the intent of your B2B podcast. There are plenty of people online who have a laugh with their mates and say ‘let’s start a podcast’, only for it to be aimless, unstructured and just plain bad. Think about what you want to achieve with it; what’s your niche? Consider what your business does and try to view it from a slightly different angle.
Let’s say you want your B2B podcast to focus on marketing. That’s a good start, but let’s be realistic: that’s way too vague a subject and not to mention oversaturated. If you were to go on Apple or Spotify podcasts and search for the word ‘marketing’, you would undoubtedly be greeted with a complete overabundance of marketing shows.
So let’s whittle it down. What aspect of marketing would you like to focus on? Customer retention? Advertising? Copywriting? SEO? Social media? These are just some ideas, but if you can figure it out, you’ll be onto something and ready for the next step.
A fantastic example of a perfectly executed and well-defined B2B podcast niche is Retain: The Customer Retention Podcast by Gameball. In each episode they invite fascinating and adroit marketers to discuss how to engage with and retain customers in all sorts of fields whilst exploring the human condition and psychology of it all. Needless to say, it’s a brilliant listen and well worth your time.
2. Who is your target audience?
This is just standard practice no matter what you’re doing, podcast or not. If you’re going to start a business, you must always do your market research. Who do you want to appeal to? Who do you want listening?
Sit down with your teammates and make a list of the type of audience you want; really get to the heart of who you want to appeal to. Through doing this, your niche will become more well defined and justified. You’ll be able to pin down exactly what you want.
If we were to take a look at the Building a Better World podcast by SuperWorld, you’d immediately be able to tell that the people who listen are into a very specific subject: the Metaverse, A.R., and anything else related to the world of Web3. More than that, people who work in this field will no doubt be listening, which very nicely leads us into the third step.
3. Who is your ideal guest?
Here's the thing, oftentimes in B2B podcasting your audience will be similar to, if not the same as, your audience. This isn’t the same as, say, a comedy podcast where the audience is everyday people looking for a bit of entertainment to relax to. People come to B2B podcasts to be informed and educated, whilst at the same time entertained.
If you’re hoping to get people from your industry listening to you, then you need to invite people who match that same persona.
Take a look at SaaS Origin Stories by Phile Alves. In each episode he interviews SaaS CEOs and Founders and really digs deep into how they got to where they are today. The people who listen to this are going to also be SaaS CEOs and Founders because, most likely, they will want to learn more about it.
But as you grow your podcast, you will be able to start broadening your niche and invite on a new load of people who will expand your audience - the key, however, is to do this once you are ready; don’t jump the gun too soon. B2B podcasting is a delicate process, one that may take time, so you need to keep an eye on when you’re ready to make the leap.
4. Buy the Equipment
To be honest, this probably should have been first, but it was so obvious we didn’t think you’d need it. However, this wouldn’t be a very good guide if we didn’t provide you with some of the basics, so here’s what you’ve gotta do: buy some good quality microphones and a camera… that’s it. You can get some great deals on good but fairly priced microphones; they’re not all super expensive! Blue Yeti, MXL, and AKG are all nice starting points at some very fair prices.
Please, whatever you do, don’t use your laptop’s or phone’s internal microphone - it won’t sound good. It may seem like the audio for podcasting in B2B isn’t all that important, after all, we’re always taught that if the content is good, then people will listen. Whilst that is true to a certain extent… audiences aren’t so forgiving.
The quality of your audio is far more important than your video, and if it’s not good quality, it’s more likely to put them off. Imagine you’re driving to work in the morning and you decide to put on your favourite B2B podcast to warm up your brain, only to find it a muffled or distorted mess that pains your ears… you’d likely never go back to it, at least not for a while.
So don’t settle for average or below average sound quality, really invest time and money into making sure it’s good. It will be absolutely worth it.
5. Hone Your Interviewing Skills
Interviewing your guests is a skill in and of itself, and it’s guaranteed you won’t get it straight away, but that’s okay. So we’re going to give you some tips on how to be a good interviewer:
- Really listen to your guests: Don’t just pretend to listen, hear what they’re saying and respond to them.
- Be a Fisherman: Look for particular words or phrases that elicit an emotion and hook yourself onto them. It might be positive, negative, disappointment, insecurity, or it might be an interesting piece of knowledge you want to explore more. Don’t be afraid to dig deep.
- Remain Connected: One of the most annoying things you can do, not just as a B2B podcast host but also as a person, is look down at your phone when someone is talking to you - it’s distracting and rude. Stay present and connected with your guest, don’t make them feel ignored!
- Do Your Research: We can’t stress this enough. You need to do your research on who you’re talking to; make sure you figure out who they are and what their career has been like. The last thing you want is to go into the interview and look like you don’t know anything.
6. Branding & Marketing!
Once you have everything sorted and your first couple of episodes are edited and ready to go, you need to figure out what your brand is. How are you going to market this content to other people in the B2B world? What is your visual brand and artwork going to look like? There are plenty of ways to do this, but don’t feel limited to what we suggest - really get creative with it!
You can make a video introducing yourself and the podcast whilst also editing together a really nice trailer! To compliment it, you can create a press release outlining what your B2B podcast is in the form of a blog.
Reach out to people on LinkedIn too, especially people in your field. Chances are they will want to listen to it, especially if it’s something they’re passionate about. Again, it’s all about sending it to the right people in your particular niche.
Look at what other people in the B2b podcasting world are doing and imitate them (of course, with your own personal touch. Don’t just steal their ideas. Obviously.) How are they marketing and branding themselves? What are they doing well that you can learn from?
Go Forth and Create!
These tidbits of advice are only some of the foundations for creating your B2B podcast, but with these foundations you will be able to build something truly wonderful. Should you need help with your podcasting ventures, don’t be afraid to drop us an email to find out more about our services!