In 2021, more Americans listened to podcasts weekly (80 million) than owned a Netflix account (69 million). Yet, we’re still in the early days of podcasting. More than two million podcasts are available to listeners. For comparison, there are more than 500 million blogs. Companies have a major opportunity to reap the benefits of a podcast for business.
The beauty of a podcast is it’s so easy to consume. It’s on-demand radio. It has an advantage over other formats like text and video: you don’t need to use your eyes.
You can listen to podcasts while you drive, exercise, mow the lawn, or do other tasks that require your hands and eyes. This means You can reach your audience at times you couldn’t previously with digital media. But this is just one of the many reasons podcasts are good for business.
Benefits of a podcast for business
I’ve launched two business podcasts in the last few years. In 2019, I co-hosted The Visible Expert, and in 2021 I started hosting Digital Marketing Troop. Both experiences have been incredibly valuable to me both personally and professionally. Podcasting has opened doors I would have never known existed. It’s also provided business value.
While there are some measurable benefits, many do not show up on an attribution report. Especially at first. Podcasts are a long game. They require time and patience. Based on my experience, here are a few benefits of a podcast for business:
While it won’t happen immediately, podcasts can generate revenue in a few different ways. Sponsorships, ad revenue, and lead generation are a few. A consumer study by anchor.fm showed that 72% of listeners are willing to support all or some of the podcasts they listen to. Subscriptions are also a way to monetize your podcast. Users pay a monthly fee to get access to your exclusive content. Revenue is the most lucrative benefit of a podcast for business, but there are many more benefits of a podcast for business that podcasters will realize along the way.
This was an unintended benefit of our podcast, Digital Marketing Troop. We featured many of our employees on our podcast. Senior-level candidates commented about how they liked hearing our employees talk on the show. The possibility of being featured as a guest on the company podcast is a unique differentiator for an employer brand. This can be a selling point for some candidates.
New ways to reach your buyers
When users subscribe to a podcast, they get push notifications on their phone when a new episode is available. And as we mentioned above, podcasts can reach buyers while they’re doing chores, driving, or exercising. There are other marketing benefits of a podcast for business. For instance, Google has the ability to index the spoken word, meaning podcasts can have an impact on your website’s search engine optimization (SEO).
Content to use for sales enablement
Use podcast episodes that focus on core customer pain points in sales enablement. Episode 40 of Digital Marketing Troop featured Joel Gustafson, Digital Marketing and UX Manager at Oregon State University and Jacob Shibley, our agency rep on Joel’s account. The conversation centered around executing a full-funnel digital marketing strategy, but the back-and-forth between Joel and Jacob gave a glimpse of how Silverback works with clients. Listen to it here:
A source for primary market research
If you’re interviewing customers or prospects on your podcasts, the content can double as customer research. Insights can influence creative strategy in digital ads. Over time, you can collect and aggregate responses, then package them into an original research study. This kind of content naturally attracts backlinks, making it valuable for SEO.
Deeper relationships with clients and prospects
Invite clients and prospects to be guests on your podcast. This invitation has more appeal than, “can we find 20 minutes on the calendar to see if this is a good fit?”. It appeals to a prospect’s desire to be heard and acknowledged. When the conversation centers around them and their challenges, it embodies empathy and creates a distinct impression.
An avenue for partnership co-marketing
Some companies partner with other organizations. The nature of these partnerships can take many forms. With a podcast, you can take these relationships to the next level. Co-create content by talking about the intersection of your businesses. Chances are, there is overlap between your ideal buyers and the challenges they share. By working together, partnership co-marketing extends the reach and effectiveness of your content.
Personal branding benefits for the host and guests
Hosting a podcast is an opportunity to grow your personal brand. You own your voice, and control your personal social media accounts. New episodes and audio snippets make for great social media content. Listeners may also develop a parasocial relationship with you; they feel they know you because they hear you speak often.
Why should buyers listen to your podcast?
Podcasts are not generally a “bottom-funnel” activity, meaning they’re not very good at hard selling listeners to make a purchase. However, podcasts are a great way to keep your audience engaged until they’re ready to purchase. At this point, buyers are already familiar with your brand.
In my experience as a podcaster, there are three ways to captivate an audience:
- Education. Teach them something they don’t already know.
- Entertainment. Make it fun. Give listeners something to react to.
- Empathy. Go beyond the fluff. Show you understand your listeners’ pain and desires.
Podcast Case Study: Launching Digital Marketing Troop
Silverback Strategies launched the weekly Digital Marketing Troop podcast in April, 2021. The show helps marketers through interviews with experts, practitioners, and other marketing leaders. Our goal was to humanize the brand by sharing the voices of our subject-matter experts. Since launching, the show has grown significantly.
Launching the podcast
Our tech setup at launch was simple. We’d record on Zoom with a Jabra headset and edit recorded audio in Garage Band. Then, we’d upload the audio file to LibSyn, a platform that syndicates our podcast content to Spotify, Apple, Google, and more. This minimalist approach made it easy to launch and be consistent with a weekly show. And it was much more feasible than spending thousands of dollars each month with a podcast agency.
Promoting the podcast
During the first year, we didn’t have many resources for promotion. We had to make due with what we had—a few hours each week and some elbow grease. Here are tactics we use to promote each episode:
- Calls-to-action (CTAs) at the end of each episode asking listeners to leave a rating and review
- Intentionally target keywords with episode titles and descriptions for search visibility
- Created audiograms to share on LinkedIn and Twitter with a tool called Headliner.
- Create a new webpage each week on our website
- Share select episodes with clients and prospects
- Embedded episodes on relevant blog pages
Measuring performance the right way can help sell the benefits of a podcast for business. But knowing what to measure can be challenging. It will vary depending on your audience and the frequency in which you publish episodes.
Admittedly, we are still learning how to measure performance quantitatively. LibSyn has analytics that show the total number of “downloads”, or how many times listeners started an episode, across all channels. This tells us how well we are distributing podcast content. We’ll eclipse 4,000 total downloads within our first year on air.
Spotify for podcasters has analytics that show follower growth over time. While this doesn’t include listeners on Apple, Google, or other podcast platforms, it’s a way to monitor the show’s growth. We’ve been able to build a following organically on Spotify by optimizing our podcast episodes. When you search for keywords like “digital marketing” or “google analytics 4” our show comes up in the search results. Here’s how Spotify follower count grew over the first year:
Will a podcast benefit your business?
It may not make sense to launch a podcast for your company. It takes commitment and overcoming imposter syndrome. You should also have a clear plan and repeatable systems. Launching can be tricky and editing audio can be challenging. It can also be easy to drown promoting the show and maintaining a pipeline of content.
While I’m no expert, I have launched two successful podcasts. If you’re thinking of launching a show of your own and want to bounce an idea or talk shop, shoot me a DM on LinkedIn or Twitter @John_Tyreman, I’m happy to chat or meet via Zoom.