Are Podcasts Having a B2B Moment?

Have you ever found yourself talking back to your favorite podcast? It’s happened to me! 

I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve spoken out loud to Glennon Doyle and her guests while listening to a riveting episode of We Can Do Hard Things

Why do we do this? Because podcasts have a unique way of drawing listeners into a conversation and evoking a reaction… which, come to think about it, is the same thing that we, as B2B marketers, are always trying to do with our campaigns!

The soaring popularity of B2B podcasts means they’re having a moment, and it’s time to start thinking about whether they’re right for your B2B brand. So let’s dive into the rise of B2B podcasts, explore the potential value they can bring to your company, and unpack five best practices to help your podcast build its audience.

Why are podcasts suddenly so popular?

More people are listening to podcasts than ever before. Want proof? An Edison Research survey shows that about 177 million Americans ages 12+ will have at least tried a podcast in 2022. That’s about the same number of Americans who used Facebook last year!

In 2021, podcast advertising passed the $1 billion mark for the first time and may hit $2 billion by the end of 2022. According to the New York Times, these ad dollars are leading podcast platforms up their game in a quest to become the Netflix of podcasts.

Edison says 74% of people tune into podcasts to learn something new. But how do you determine whether your potential buyers are listening to B2B podcasts? Mine your data to find the answer.

What value will B2B podcasts bring to my brand?

A podcast brings B2B brands many potential upsides. Take SaaS companies as an example. A growing number of transactions for lower-cost SaaS products now happen without customers ever visiting an office, talking on the phone, or joining a video chat. B2B podcasts overcome the “personal connection gap” by putting a human voice and face to the company they already trust virtually.

With podcasting, you’ll also connect with younger audiences. Edison data shows podcasts are most popular among people ages 12 -34, with the 35 – 54 age bracket close behind. With an estimated 5 million – 11 million Millennials now in management roles, the age of your target buyer is starting to skew younger. So, why not try a podcast?

What’s more, a B2B podcast will build brand awareness. It creates a platform you can use to promote your internal thought leaders, business partners, and key industry influencers. And it gives you ready-made content that can help you win over potential buyers. Your podcasts could even be binge-worthy—the average weekly U.S. podcast listener listens to eight podcasts on average each week.

Aren’t B2B podcasts hard to measure?

Determining the exact ROI for your B2B podcast will depend on your goals. Measurement will mean making some key decisions, such as whether you want to drive people to a landing page or direct them to various podcast platforms.

The reality is that if you want your listeners to subscribe to your podcast, you’ll need to send them to Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and other platforms. In the past, you then had to go to each platform to add up your ROI. But a new tool called Chartable brings together data from multiple podcast platforms. We’ve just started using it to measure the results from our own Marketing Gets Real podcast and have found it helpful.

B2B podcasts: 5 best practices

One of the cool things about B2B podcasts is how quickly they’re evolving. Six months ago, I shared these nine lessons we learned making our podcast. Today, some of these best practices have already changed. Let’s look at an updated list of 5 best practices:

1. Watch your length

I listen to podcasts when I’m exercising or making dinner. I don’t do either for more than a half-hour. So, a 60- or 90-minute podcast doesn’t resonate with me. The same is true for many podcast listeners. With our clients, we’ve found that the most impactful B2B podcasts are on the shorter side. Aim for between 30-40 minutes. 

2. Hit ‘record’ early (with permission, of course)

While we technically record our “formal” podcasts over one hour, we ask our guests to arrive 30 minutes early. As we get ready to start, we talk with our guests and with their permission) record the conversation. Often we find that we get the most authentic content in those informal chat sessions. 

3. Leverage video for promotion

One of the things I love about podcasts is that they’re not videos. That means I can listen attentively without having to stare at a screen. But video still has an important role in B2B podcasts because it lets you showcase your podcast’s guests through promos on YouTube and other social media channels. (Pro tip: A strong social media following is the best way to build a podcast audience). These video promos also add a more human element to your podcasts, making you “real” in the eyes and ears of your listeners.

4. Find a schedule that works for you

When we started our podcast, we recorded an entire first season and assumed we’d do the same for Season Two. However, we’re now considering breaking our rules and releasing new episodes as we develop them instead. Whether or not you do a “season,” you must have a loose schedule to help you build a loyal audience. For many B2B brands, releasing one new episode every two weeks is a reasonable goal. 

5. Trust the experts

In the B2C world, podcasts are all about entertainment value. In the B2B world, the differentiator is authenticity. B2B podcasts that fizzle out are overly promotional and only about products. The ones that succeed are human, honest, and generate a real conversation about a particular topic.

However, you can have the most authentic podcast in B2B with the most compelling conversations, but if the audio is of poor quality, what’s the point? Podcasts are all about delivering a high-quality online audio experience. Working with an expert podcast producer is key to podcast success.

An expert podcast creator steps in where you need them most (and you might have caught that hint earlier in this sentence): their expertise! If you start a B2B podcast, your brand must be comfortable with surrendering control and trusting your direction and success to your chosen partner.

Brave enough to start a B2B podcast with UDG?

The best podcasts are largely unscripted. You may know your guest. You may have a predetermined list of questions. But the real magic happens when you let the conversation occur organically. The expertise of an experienced podcast partner ensures that you don’t unintentionally miss out on these magical moments your listeners want most. 

If you’ve been playing with the idea of a podcast and are ready to dive and start yours, UDG is the expert partner you need! But don’t take our word for it. Instead, check out our successful podcast, Marketing Gets Real, to hear our work for yourself. 

And don’t forget to send us a message or email Ricky Spiese, our Head of Sales and Marketing, to learn more about our process and how we can best partner with you.