In the crowded B2B marketplace, companies need to find creative ways to stand out and connect with their target audience. While traditional marketing methods and GTM motions continue to be used, there’s a new strategy that B2B companies are starting to use- the branded podcast.
Podcasts have a lot of upside for B2B marketers. From leaping funnel stages with decision makers to creating mass quantities of compelling content, the branded podcast is following the growth path of the inbound blog toward a table stakes position in an organization’s GTM strategy.
In this article, we’ll explore this trend in detail, from what is a branded podcast to examples of how B2B companies are using it to connect with their audiences.
B2B Trendspotting: Branded Podcasts
The branded podcast is a trend with legs and it continues to climb. Here are some stats to give you a sense of the direction we’re headed.
- Podcasts are experiencing exponential growth. In 2021, the total number of podcasts broke the two million mark and now in 2023 there are now over five million podcasts (Source: Spotify, 2023).
- We’re still early in the adoption curve. If five million podcasts sounds impressive, there are over 600 million blogs (Source: Internet Live Stats, 2022). It’s our opinion that podcasting will continue to grow along a similar path as buyer behavior shifts to consuming this form of content.
- Business podcasts are a viable research channel. 37% of B2B decision-makers in the US regularly listen to podcasts and 75% of these professionals specifically listen to podcasts to gain valuable industry insights and knowledge (Source: Edison Research and Triton Digital, 2023).
While the number of shows and listeners are growing by leaps and bounds, not all stats paint a pretty picture.
- Not all podcasts are active. Despite millions of registered podcasts, Apple reports that roughly 800,000 of them are active. Comparing trend data, the number of active podcasts is not growing as quickly as the number of new podcasts created (Apple iTunes Podcast Statistics, 2023).
- Podfading is the new Chasm to cross. The Apple stat mirrors an earlier study that showed that 75% of podcasts fizzle out of production after less than 10 episodes in what has been described as “Podfading” (Source: AmplifiMedia, 2018).
The Podfading number is inclusive of personal projects across the world but is directional for business podcasts as there tends to be a surprising amount of work involved. Additionally, companies have discovered that just like with other forms of Content Marketing where quality matters, it’s not enough to simply create a podcast in order to see a positive ROI on the effort.
Despite the challenges, for the organizations that figure it out, branded podcasts are now a top channel for B2B marketing (Source: MarTech, 2022).
What are Branded Podcasts?
A branded podcast is a podcast that is produced by a company to increase brand awareness, generate leads, create thought leadership content and grow an active user community. Branded podcasts allow brands to engage with customers and clients one-on-one, in an intimate and immersive way unlike most traditional channels.
Branded podcasts can take many forms, including interview-style shows, narrative storytelling, educational or instructional content, and more. Through these disparate styles, branded podcasts can be used to tell stories about the company, its products, or its industry, as well as to provide information, insights, and entertainment that is relevant to the target audience. Podcasts can take the form of interview-style, narrative-driven, industry news, educational, or even a fictional drama series.
Many successful branded podcasts are produced by B2B companies, particularly those in the SaaS and IoT spaces. B2B EQ is a great example of a branded podcast that has quickly grown brand awareness for a new product:
B2B EQ by Uniphore Q For Sales
Tim Harris, Host of B2B EQ, Director of Product Marketing at Uniphore
Mid-market B2B SaaS, AI-powered conversational intelligence platform with 800+ employees and a $400m Series E funding round in 2022.
More Branded Podcast Examples:
READ MORE: The Basics of Branded Podcasts
A Deep Dive into the Benefits of a Branded Podcast
From lead generation that skips traditional steps to building brand awareness to compete with larger competitors, branded podcast benefits are surprisingly achievable without the lag time of traditional SEO or the large spends of PPC:
Boosting Brand Recognition
Starting a branded podcast has proven to be a game-changer for companies looking to raise brand awareness. A study conducted by the BBC revealed that companies with branded podcasts experienced an impressive 89% increase in brand recognition (Source: BBC Global News Report, 2019).
According to Audacy’s latest State of Audio report, audio reigns supreme as the most effective channel for building a brand. The report also highlighted the emotional connection that listeners develop with branded podcasts (Source: Audacy State of Audio, 2023).
As listeners tune in to regular episodes, they become familiar with the host’s voice, the topics discussed, and the unique perspective presented. This emotional engagement lays the groundwork for building trust and transforms listeners into passionate advocates for the brand.
By creating a branded podcast, B2B companies have the opportunity to connect directly with their audience in an authentic and non-promotional manner. This fosters trust, builds a sense of authenticity, and delivers value. With increased brand awareness and emotional connection, branded podcasts help B2B companies cultivate a loyal fan base, generate leads, and boost conversions.
Driving Lead Generation
A branded podcast is not only a powerful tool for boosting brand recognition but also for generating new leads, especially when B2B companies invite potential ideal customers as guests. By featuring decision-makers from organizations that perfectly align with their Ideal Customer Profile, companies can bypass several stages of the traditional lead funnel. Additionally, hosts can ask probing questions during the podcast, naturally leading to problem-solving discussions after the show.
Furthermore, by inviting industry leaders, experts, and potential customers to participate, companies can establish valuable relationships and position themselves as trusted partners within the industry. As these relationships grow, guests become more inclined to do business with the company. Moreover, podcast guests often share the podcast and website with their own network, expanding the company’s reach and visibility to potential new leads.
Fostering a Thriving Community
For companies aiming to build a community around their brand or products, a branded podcast is a vital asset. By creating engaging and informative content centered around industry topics that resonate with the audience, companies can encourage interaction and engagement. Listeners can participate in discussions, provide feedback, and respond to polls and surveys. Additionally, regular episodes offer B2B companies a consistent avenue to connect with their audience on a personal level and build meaningful relationships.
By nurturing a community of dedicated followers, a branded podcast becomes a source of significant value for the company. It provides a platform for organic word-of-mouth marketing and referral growth. Many branded podcasts even have dedicated Slack or Discord groups where users can discuss industry topics and recent episodes. The community surrounding a branded podcast can become a powerful advocate for the brand, driving leads, and increasing visibility through social media shares, reviews, ratings, and recommendations.
Creating Exceptional Content
A branded podcast offers B2B companies a treasure trove of high-quality content that can be repurposed throughout their entire sales funnel. From sharing industry insights and trends to conducting thought-provoking interviews with leaders, each podcast episode contains valuable and engaging content.
B2B companies can utilize snippets from podcast episodes to create compelling social media posts, engaging email marketing campaigns, and insightful blog articles, among other things. The entire podcast episode can even be used as gated content, providing website visitors with exclusive access in exchange for contact information. By repurposing podcasts into various forms of content, B2B companies can leverage the expertise of their teams or thought leaders, deliver value to their audience at every stage of the funnel, and ultimately drive leads to their website.
Tool: Podcast Readiness Framework
Launching a podcast that looks and sounds like a million dollars while accomplishing your goals for it- can be an involved process. The secret winning ingredient for b2b branded show creation is intention. The following framework has core questions to ask during this process and will help ensure that you’re being intentional. The order they are asked is important and will create a roadmap for your podcast launch.
- What are the goals of the podcast?
There are many beneficial outcomes, but isolating the top ones will shape the course of the rest of the process.
- Who do we want to listen?
The more clear you are on your Ideal Customer Profile, the more likely you will build a show they will enjoy. Ambiguity here is what delays most podcast launches.
- Who will be the guests?
Customers and prospects make for great guests. Partners do too. Sometimes thought leadership needs solo episodes.
- Who will be the host?
Do you have a Chief Evangelist, CEO or someone in your org that would be a good fit to interview guests on your show?
- What gear does this person need to record?
Gear is not the first step on the roadmap, but it is a Do-Not-Pass-Go step in the launch. Audio quality is critical and often overlooked.
- What will the format of the show be?
What style and questions will create the best experience for your guest and create the best content for your audience?
- Where will we promote the podcast?
Integrate the show into your marketing strategy and content calendar to see the fastest adoption of it.
- Where can we repurpose the content from the show?
Podcasts create a surprising amount of content which can be reformatted into over 40 other types of collateral.
- Is there an existing community we can invite our audience to or should we create one?
Podcasts and Communities are multipliers when both are active. The content feeds the community and the community listens and promotes the show.
- Are there opportunities to record live at upcoming events?
Live interview recording at conferences and user events benefits both event and show outcomes. It’s a stand-out move too.