Is a Podcast Right for Your B2B Business? Jonathan Herrick With over 500,000 podcasts in 100 languages on Apple alone, podcasting is steadily rising up as a beloved form of media consumption worldwide. Podcasts aren’t just for millennials on the go — total podcast listeners in the U.S. have more than tripled over the last five years, and the average listener is an affluent, educated, middle-aged man. Further, according to LinkedIn analysts, podcasts are underused in B2B marketing, signaling a potential opportunity for forward-thinking business owners. If you’re looking to test the waters of podcasting for your B2B business, there are some important considerations before diving in. Here are a few questions to ask yourself when deciding if a podcast is right for your B2B business. #1: Are your clients likely to listen to a podcast? The first, and most important, question to ask is whether your clients are already listening to podcasts — and if they’re not, whether they’re likely to start. Your competitors may be launching podcasts left and right, but it’s a common mistake to look to your competitors for direction on your own marketing. What works for them may not work for you. Besides, you want your business to stand out from the crowd, not simply follow another marketing trend. So instead, look to your customers. What kind of media are they already consuming? While studies show that B2C customers are increasingly drawn to rich media like video, B2B customers still primarily crave long-form written content and in-depth resources like eBooks. Look at the data on your website dashboard and past campaign stats to see whether rich media (audio and video) or traditional media appeals most to your audience. Think about where your customers consume your media, as well. The majority of podcast listeners listen at home (49%), followed by 22% who listen in a vehicle, according to Edison research. Do your customers research your brand and consume your media in a desktop computer, in a cubicle? Lying in bed with a mobile phone? Hiking the Appalachian Trail? By analyzing your customers’ behavior and device usage, you can better determine if they’ll give your podcast a shot. #2: Do you have the bandwidth for podcasting? Starting a new marketing initiative like a podcast takes planning, a production team, and a solid process for measuring ROI (and likewise, a process for course-correcting when you don’t meet objectives). If you have a big marketing team or a partner who specializes in podcast production, you’re much better equipped to take on a podcast than if you’re a solopreneur. This isn’t to say it can’t be done on your own, however. If you’re determined to go for a jaunt down podcast lane, streamline the promotion of your episodes with email marketing and workflow automation tools. Save yourself time and money by creating complementary content — if you’re writing this week’s blog post about the best tech conferences of 2018, create a podcast episode on the same topic. #3: How’s your clout? Are you active on social channels already? Does your brand have a strong following, or are members of your leadership team well-publicized in the media? When you start a podcast from relative obscurity, you’ll have a lot more work to do in terms of growing its popularity. But if your brand already has its digital footing, you’ll be able to get a lot more reach with much less effort. And don’t forget to encourage your podcast guests to share with their audiences, too. Like with guest blogging, it’s a free way to spread the word about your podcast by utilizing someone else’s (often more widespread) online presence. #4: Can you test it first? A good way to check if a podcast might resonate with your audience is to test out new audio content and promote it using the method that’s worked best for you in the past. Brainstorm a few ideas for audio resources, and use your most successful digital content as a springboard. For example, let’s say your most popular blog post is “10 Foolproof Techniques to Socialize Your Dog.” Convert that blog post into an interview with a leading dog trainer and share it with your following. The feedback you get will help inform your decision whether to continue with podcasting or not. You know your business better than anyone. If you have two or three marketing techniques that serve you well, you may be best off investing further in those rather than charging forward into new territory. But if you’re looking for an innovative way to connect with your audience (and your gut says “go!”), it may be time to give a podcast a shot! There’s no doubt about it: podcasts can be awesome tools for building brand awareness — and also for conducting market research. By inviting your customers and industry experts to participate, you’ll build valuable connections that can serve your business years down the road.