In case you haven’t heard, podcasts are experiencing a remarkable surge in popularity. According to Edison Research’s recently-published 2019 Infinite Dial Report (the longest-running survey of US digital media consumer behavior), there are now 62 million weekly podcast listeners – up 14 million since last year.
That’s a noteworthy increase in what Edison calls Share of Ear: “an audio listening diary survey that measures all audio respondents listen to during a 24-hour period.” In fact, as of this year, the report notes that most Americans have now listened to at least one podcast.
Driven by a desire to cut back on screen time, many are turning to audio content, leading to a decline in social media use and sparking an explosive 78% year-over-year growth in smart speaker sales. Plus since listening is more passive than watching, fans are free to enjoy their favorite content while driving, eating, cooking, running, gardening or even working (of course, we would never do that here at Red House).
Just don’t think they’re not paying attention.
Podcast listeners really listen, often staying tuned through 80-90% of each episode (this checks out from our firsthand experience – more on that later). They don’t usually skip ads. And more importantly, 65% of listeners are more receptive to products and services they heard about during podcasts.
B2B marketers have been quick to embrace – and in the case of a MailChimp spot that ran before the watershed show Serial, actually contribute to – the recent success of the format. But there’s still plenty of room for original, engaging thought leadership podcasts targeting business influencers and decision makers.
We know, because we made some.
There’s still plenty of room for original, engaging thought leadership podcasts targeting business influencers and decision makers.
How (and Why) We Created a Podcast Series
From white papers to articles and infographics, we stocked our clients’ library of marketing content, and they were ready for something that would truly differentiate them. Digging back into market research and buyer personas, we proposed a podcast series.
What sealed the deal? Our client’s CEO was not just an experienced speaker, he was a physician – just like their target audience. We coached him, developed talking points, then put him in front of a mic. (Disclaimer: He was a natural. Podcast hosting isn’t something we’d recommend to all of our customers.)
To boost credibility among potential listeners, we kept podcast promotional elements to a minimum, with unbranded cover art and professional voice over talent only reading a brief sponsorship message near the end of each show. After original music was recorded for the series, it was uploaded to multiple platforms – including Apple, Google, Stitcher and Spotify – for distribution and downloads.
Although performance data is still rolling in, prospects are tuned in – on average, they’re playing up to 78% of each episode.
Should You Be Podcasting?
Podcasts aren’t the only audio tools in B2B marketers’ belts, and despite being relatively easy to broadcast and consume, they aren’t necessarily the right one for every business objective. But if you’re thinking about creating a podcast series to promote your product or service, you must first ask:
- How do podcasts fit in your overall content marketing strategies? What sales or marketing objectives will they help you achieve?
- From audiobooks to optimization for voice search, what other audio tactics should be part of your marketing mix?
- What is your brand’s voice? What does it sound like? What is its tone and cadence?
- Beyond organic search, how will you drive demand for your show? How will your audience find it?
- What metrics will you use to measure your podcast’s effectiveness?
Finally, there’s no shortage of podcast content – it seems like everyone with a mic is jumping on the bandwagon. Google “how many podcasts are there” and you’ll find estimates that range from 500,000 to 750,000 shows – and more than 30 million episodes.
What will make your show a standout – unique, relevant and engaging?
There’s a simple answer to all of these questions: choose the right partner. One with podcasting experience, sure, but also one who prioritizes your strategic interests over selling you studio time.