Nailing A Niche: The SaaS Marketing Show Case Study
Feb 23, 2021
There are two strategies for building authority in a category.
Spend twelve years slowly adding value and building relationships with key players
Position yourself at the top with a content asset of the same name
Dylan Hey and the team at Hey Digital took route number two.
And despite only creating said content asset twelve months ago, they are already starting to be seen as an authority in their category: SaaS Marketing.
This post explains...
Step 1 - Nail The Niche
This is BIG.
Probably the biggest thing you need to think about when starting a B2B podcast: what is your position?
Who does your podcast serve better than anyone else?
Your niche needs to be something that I like to call: uncomfortably narrow.
When thinking about the niche... it's GOOD for you to feel a little uncomfortable, to feel that you are missing a large chunk of the people that you could sell too. This means that your podcast niche is uncomfortably narrow.
It was pretty easy for Dylan and the team at Hey Digital to select their podcast niche as their agency niche is already pretty uncomfortably narrow:
So what is the podcast niche?
This podcast is NOT for:
It's for: SaaS marketers.
LEARNING: Get uncomfortably narrow with your niche.
Step 2 - Name The Niche
Just knowing you niche isn't enough.
You also need to name it.
This is an extremely well documented business strategy: put yourself in a category and name it. Doing so, and repeating the category name thousands of time will eventually make you the #1 in that category.
The best modern B2B example is Drift and the creation of their category: Conversational Marketing. They created the category, named the category, talked about the category for years and therefore, by default became the leader in the category.
Dylan has also done this... he has selected the category of podcast, and placed himself at the #1 position.
Dylan did not call his podcast: A SaaS Marketing Show or even just SaaS Marketing Show. He called it: The SaaS Marketing Show.
Put yourself into the shoes of a person that has just started a new SaaS marketing role and wants to upskills themselves...
They're going to Google and search: "saas marketing podcasts":
And even if the podcast wasn't awesome (which it is...), they would still stand a solid chance of being featured by Google here due to the direct match on the keyword in the title (more on this in Step 7).
At the same time, when content writers are looking to rank for a keyword such as "best SaaS podcast" they will also google this term, will find the top ten and then include in their post. This means free exposure and backlinks for The SaaS Marketing Show.
In summary, once your podcast niche is clear in your mind... you must do everything you can to make it clear in the minds of everyone else in your niche... the easier it is to understand this, the more subscribers you will get.
LEARNING: Align the name of your show with your niche to ensure your podcast is a "must subscribe" for newcomers.
Step 3 - Strong Visual Identity
The majority of podcasters under index on design.
Maybe it's because, by definition a podcaster is less focussed on the visual impact of their show (e.g. more focussed on the audio). The problem here is that when someone is considering whether to listen or subscribe to your show... they are typically on a web page or inside a mobile app... looking at a screen.
Dylan and the team at Hey Dggital understand this...
And invest heavily in the visual identity of their show:
This main podcast image does three things right:
It's extremely clear what the name and topic of the show is
Other visual design components ALSO give more clues about the show's content
The design is congruent with Hey Digital's brand
And looks beautifully congruent on their site:
In summary, yes your audio must be on point in order to retain subscribers and grow downloads, but for people to take the leap to start listening, your design must be on point.
LEARNING: Invest in the visual design of your show upfront... it will pay diviends.
Step 4 - Specific, Actionable Episode Titles
This is possibly the BIGGEST opportunity that most podcasters miss.
To illustrate this... let's play a game.
Which episode title do you think would be more clickable for a SaaS marketer?
I know which one I would choose...
You see... a headline is marketing for your podcast episode. If you want people to listen, you MUST ensure your episode headlines are clickable.
As someone scrolls through new episodes on Google Podcasts (the best podcasting app by the way!), they are thinking:
What is in this for me?
They want to know how THEY can benefit from investing 35 minutes of their life into listening to you... and it's the job of your episode title to do this.
LEARNING: Pull out specific, actionable numbers or insights from your episodes to include in your title.
Step 5 - Build Relationships
Without a significant, existing audience... it takes time to grow a podcast audience to the size where a reasonable ROI can be generated.
We're talking six to twelve months, which is longer than the typical B2B CEO will wait to see an ROI on their marketing dollars.
Which is why here at Fame, we work with all clients to ensure there is some other benefit that can be derived from a podcast during this early stage.
To do this... we are simply strategic about the guests that appear on the show.
The process of booking a podcast interview, preparing for an interview, getting nervous and then recording the interview is an emotional rollercoaster for most podcast guests.
If you, as the podcast host and producer, can demonstrate competence and credibility during this process, a bond is formed.
We want to be building those relationships with people that we can add value too... and that can add value to us.
SaaS Marketing Show guests are typically marketing leaders in B2B SaaS businesses... which just so happens to be Hey Digital's ideal customer persona:
Now of course this makes sense... and these people should be able to create valuable content for the audience... who are also Hey Digital's ideal customer persona: SaaS marketers.
Now I'm not sure if any of Dylan's guests have converted into paying customers... but I am sure that Dylan and Hey Digital are gaining some kind of benefit from the relationships they are forming with guests.
LEARNING: In the early days, be strategic about people that you building relationships with...
Step 6 - Get Sponsors Early
Podcasting is tough.
If you don't have a big existing audience, then it can take months or even years to build this up through your podcast alone.
This is why you MUST keep your motivation up and your content consistent throughout.
A little hack for this is to take cash from sponsors early.
It boosts your motivation as you are getting some value back for all the hard work you are putting into you show
It gives you more financial resources to invest back into creating better audio content
Now I don't know the exact value of the Restream sponsorship... but I'm sure it's a nice addition to Hey Digital's monthly recurring revenue.
Dylan uses bCast's Audio Inserts feature to insert advertisements into the SaaS Marketing Show's back catalogue with a few clicks (full disclosure, Fame and bCast are owned and grown by the same people ;)).
This additional revenue for Hey Digital can then be re-invested back into the show for:
Creating a successful podcast is a process, not an event. With a little sponsorship, you are far more likely to stick to the process.
LEARNING: Find an early sponsor... and take their cash to re-invest back into your show.
Step 7 - Capture All Three Search Mediums
People can discover your show through searching in three different mediums:
Written - Google
Audio - Apple Podcasts/Spotify/Google Podcasts
Video - YouTube
People will typically start searching with the broad category name of the topic they are looking to learn about.
And a VERY cheap way of getting more downloads, especially in the early days is to maximise the likelihood that your show will pick up some impressions for these terms through all three mediums.
Just like The SaaS Marketing Show does...
The SaaS Marketing Show is picking up free impressions from all three mediums everyday... is your podcast?
LEARNING: Seriously consider adding a core keyword into your podcast name.
Step 8 - Nail A Social Channel
Dylan is a Linkedin Ninja.
His posts CRUSH.
So when Dylan started sharing podcast episodes, obviously Linkedin was going to be a strong source of downloads.
Here's a sample post:
What do we like about this?
a - Tagging their podcast page, more on this shortly...
b - Tagging the guest and the guest business to increase the likelihood they will engage/share
c - Picking out reasons why someone should listen
d - Placing the link in the comment to increase organic reach
e - Engaging video with transcripts for those without sound on
Making engagement optimised, beautiful social posts like these, increases the chances that a guest will share:
All the attention generated by Dylan's posts and guest shares will feed back to Dylann's profile... and when they land, they're sent straight over to Apple from a featured link:
Here's another interesting growth strategy that the Hey Digital team have implemented on Linkedin... creating their own Linkedin Page for the show:
This gives another profile that Dylan tags in his posts, will generate its own followers...ultimately giving another small but growing distribution channel for their show.
It also allows Dylan to add the show as work experience onto his own profile:
From the above points, it's very clear that Dylan and the Hey Digital team have spent a great deal of time learning about and a specific social platform and how it can be used to add value and generate attention.
If a podcast wants to grow organically, this is what every podcaster must do, whether it be on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin or Instagram.
LEARNING: Chose your social channel, set up a profile and start engaging.
And there we go team...
Hey Digital have been in the podcasting game for approximately 12 months and The SaaS Marketing Show is already becoming known as one of the "must listen" shows in their niche. All by following a set of simple steps...
I'm very excited to see where Dylan and the team at Hey Digital take the show in the future, I expect nothing but big things.
The blueprint is here, it's now time for you to implement. So choose one of the above steps that you think will be easiest for you to implement... and do it NOW.
And maybe the next Podcast Growth Study could be about your show...
To the growth of your podcast ;)
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