Podcasts have seen a dip in listenership recently, thanks to the lack of a commute for those under coronavirus lockdowns. Still, the medium remains a great way to connect authentically with a target audience — and that makes them a boon for businesses and a compelling improvement on the old-school company blog.
I spoke with William Tyree, CMO at ringDNA, to learn more about the three big reasons why podcasts are such a great marketing investment, as well as to pick up a few tips on how a company can figure out which type of podcast could be a fit for them.
Business podcasts meet audiences where they are
What makes a podcast a good medium for today's audience? Well, let's think back to the trustiest “words on a webpage” approach first – the blog. Blogs were popular back before social platforms took over the internet. People were more likely to directly type a blog url into their browser, too.
Today, social networks' algorithms filter out so much content that no one can keep up with all their favorite blog posts as easily. Now, there are a few ways to consistently receive the updates you need – email, an RSS feed aggregator, a content aggregator service such as Medium, or by allowing web notifications. But all of these means are optimized for written content – the podcast feed is another opportunity entirely. And it allows for content that's much easier to consume while on the go.
“Audio-on-demand is the only format that enables companies to reach customers in their cars, at the gym, and in the wilderness,” Tyree notes.
Ok, so in this age of working from home, optimizing your content for the car journey or the gym may not seem quite so pressing (though there may be a case for the wilderness…). But there's ample reason to consider investing in a podcast as an alternative audience engagement strategy.
Since podcasts can be as long or as short as you'd like, they can be a great way to deliver long-form content that an audience will actually be interested in hearing. Tyree explains:
“Unlike audiobooks, podcasts do not require a massive time commitment for audiences while still being able to deliver in-depth narratives. The secret is keeping the entertainment value high and the content relevant, and that’s something we are fully committed to doing.”
Business podcasts can improve your customer service
Every business needs great customer service, and the best way to keep your customers happy is to give them the information they need before they realize they need it. A podcast can tackle these big questions in a fun way.
“The key to good customer service is delivering value at every turn. A podcast plays into this perfectly by enabling businesses to deliver important information to their customers that can help them better understand their industry, their world, and the innovations that are shaping their growth,” Tyree says, before adding a few examples:
“Through a podcast, businesses can share personal stories or insights directly from leaders and other influencers that illustrate unique ways of solving challenges in a format that is easy to digest anywhere and at any time.”
If you do it right, your audience won't even realize they're gaining valuable information.
Business podcasts will unearth prospective customers
Again, this benefit kicks in when your podcast is seen as a value-add within your business's industry, as Tyree explains.
“It’s all about adding value to your core audience,” Tyree says, mentioning his company's podcast as an example. “In this case, we knew that sales and marketing leaders were already heavily engaged in the podcast we acquired.”
“As with any form of content marketing, the stories we tell have to be highly relevant, and in this case, deliver actionable insights that will help them professionally.”
The trick is to focus on the value you're adding, so that the podcast doesn't come across as an empty PR exercise.
What should a company look for in a podcast?
When picking out a podcast to acquire or when starting their own, a company needs to first figure out what audience they're trying to reach.
Know your audience
A B2B company will likely want an industry deep-dive podcast, in order to reach other businesses. If they're B2C, a more fun pop culture-centric podcast might prove popular with consumers.
Every audience segment has different interests: Those in sales and marketing can tend to be more physically active, according to Tyree, which made podcasts a natural fit, since they're popular at the gym or on the go.
“As a community, Sales and marketing leaders are also extremely interested in professional development, and in particular, understanding the latest trends, insights, and technologies that make them better sellers,” he adds.
Know your podcast
If acquiring a podcast, check its stats and history first. A popular podcasts' back catalog can be a huge strength.
“Beyond the audience, businesses should look to acquire podcasts that have a strong history of content and a powerful influencer in its host. While the audience is crucial to the engagement, an influential host and vast library of content go a long way towards keeping the podcast relevant,” Tyree explains.
Find a new angle
“Finally,” Tyree asks, “does the podcast have a unique story to tell?”
“With so much competition in the podcast space, it’s important to look at podcasts that already have a strong brand.”
Find an interesting podcast that appeals directly to your target audience, and your company might just find a cost-effective pipeline to better customer satisfaction and new leads.
All while, of course, giving you something new to listen to at the gym (when they reopen).