The Ultimate Guide to Podcast Marketing for B2B Companies

Podcasts can help your business connect with your target audience in a unique and engaging way. By providing valuable and informative content, you can build a loyal listenership, raise brand awareness, generate leads, and drive business growth. 

But where do you start? And how do you stand out from the crowd when it feels like everybody and their dog has a podcast now?

We’ve worked extensively with our clients to produce, promote, repurpose, and drive growth with podcasts and other content, and have seen firsthand what works — and what doesn’t. 

So whether you’re new to podcasting or feeling stuck with your current efforts, this guide will provide you with the foundations you need to get started with podcast marketing.

Contents:

  1. How do you use podcasts for marketing?

  2. Getting started with podcast marketing

  3. Who is the target audience for podcasts?

  4. Making a high quality podcast

  5. Getting leads with podcasts

  6. Podcast promotion best practices

  7. Where can I promote my podcast?

  8. How many listeners do you need for a successful podcast?

  9. Track podcast KPIs — measure and analyze results

How do you use podcasts for marketing?

Using podcasts for B2B marketing can be a powerful tool to reach and engage your target audience. With its personal touch, podcasts can create a more intimate connection with your audience compared to blogs, emails, or social media. This helps you build trust and establish yourself as a market authority or thought leader.

However, with the increasing popularity of podcasts, it can be challenging to stand out from the competition. Without a solid strategy, execution plan, and resources, many podcasts fizzle out over time. 

Podcasting is a long-term commitment, and success requires consistent effort and dedication. When a business lacks the time or expertise to oversee a successful podcasting journey, that’s usually where we come in to help.

Getting started with podcast marketing

Here are some foundational tips to get started using podcasts for marketing:

  1. Define your goals: Start by defining your goals and objectives for your podcast. What are you trying to achieve with your podcast? Simply “wanting to have a podcast” is not a goal! Some common goals to consider include:
    • Building industry relationships
    • Brand awareness
    • Proof of thought leadership and credibility in the industry
    • Generating leads (note — this one will take time!)
    • Staying on top of industry trends and insights
    • Creating a content channel that can be repurposed into multiple other forms of content as a way to further expand your content efforts
  2. Establish your target audience (we’ll cover this in detail below)
  3. Choose your topics: Choose topics that are relevant and interesting to your target audience — and also interesting to you (you don’t want to sound bored). You need topics that will help you attract listeners and keep them engaged, while of course also being something related to your business. Remember though, it’s a podcast, not a sales pitch. It’s not an excuse to ramble on about your product.
  4. Determine a show format. Many podcasts are interview format because they satisfy the need to build relationships and also double the size of your audience for that episode. But not all podcasts have to be interview style. Take some time to listen to different types of podcasts in your industry and determine which ones you may want to consider. 
  5. Create high-quality content: Invest in creating high-quality content that is informative, engaging, and valuable to your listeners. If your podcast is just an afterthought because everyone else is doing it, you’re wasting your time. Make sure you select topics and subtopics that you can provide unique expertise on, and go deep to stand out. Keep in mind that high quality content means not only the audio quality, but also the ability to iron out any performance issues as you move along, such as “ahs” and “ums”, rambling and other things. Tools like Descript can help scrub out those words, but still, the less you do in post production, the better! 
  6. Combine SEO and topic selection: use keyword research to find common questions and subtopics you can discuss in your show. 
  7. Optimize for Search Engines: Yes, podcasts need to be set up to be found by search engines. Optimize your podcast titles, descriptions, and tags for search engines, making sure they still spark interest. Include transcripts on your episode pages for more ranking opportunities. You’ll also want to drive up reviews on podcast platforms like Spotify or Apple Podcasts. These practices will help your podcast rank higher in search results and make it easier for your target audience to discover you. Google has even built in podcasts to display in relevant search results in a particular niche, as you can see below. As a result, you’ll want to search for your keywords and “podcast” on google before you select a name/topic, so you’re aware of what’s out there and how it’s coming up in the results pages. podcasts in google search results

Make sure you select topics and subtopics that you can provide unique expertise on, and go deep to stand out. If you have unique insights, keeping them to yourself won’t help your brand.

Who is the target audience for podcasts?

The target audience for podcasts can vary depending on the topic and niche of the podcast. However, in B2B marketing, the target audience typically includes professionals in a specific industry or niche. This can include business owners, entrepreneurs, executives, managers, and other professionals who are interested in learning about industry trends, best practices, and insights from experts in their field. 

Bear in mind, these niches are getting bigger every day. The podcast market has exploded in the last few years, and it’s not slowing down. 

“In 2006, only 22 percent of the adult population in the United States was aware of podcasting. By 2022, this figure had risen to 79 percent.”Statista

To really drive this home, consider this: the global podcasting market was valued at $13.70 billion in 2021 and is expected to grow to $149 billion by 2030.

Within this growing crowd of listeners, you’ll need to identify your target audience and create content that is relevant and valuable to them in order to engage meaningfully and grow.

Tips for identifying your target audience

In an ideal world, your target audience of listeners would fully overlap with your target customers. However, if you have many distinct buyer personas, you’ll probably be better off focusing on one or two. (We’re assuming you already have a good understanding of your target market).

Define your niche

Start by identifying the niche or segment you want to focus on within your industry. You need to narrow down your audience so you can create content that is more relevant to their interests. It should be a topic you can provide value for (from entertainment to education or expert opinion).

For example, if our company was creating a new podcast, we may center on this very topic, and deliver only content that helps people market their podcast better. So it would be a podcast, but only discuss the latest in promotion tactics, show design, show growth strategies, how to use video in your podcast, etc. 

Your niche can’t be “Industry XYZ”. There’s too much clutter online to be successful in going wide. Narrow in on an area that can be defined and resonate with your target customers.

Review website and social analytics

Look at your current audience demographics, such as age, gender, location, and interests, to help narrow down your main audience. 

Conduct market research

Talk to your customers who this niche might appeal to, and try to understand their needs, challenges, and pain points. You’ll want to create content that addresses their specific concerns and interests.You may also use tools like SparkToro to conduct research based on your target audience and find out what podcasts they may already listen to. 

Create listener personas

Use your interviews and research to develop listener personas (a subset of your buyer personas) that represent your ideal audience members, so you can better tailor your content to their needs and interests.

Engage with your audience

Engage with your listeners through social media, email, and other channels to better understand their interests and feedback on your content.

The building blocks of a good podcast

Hundreds of books have been written on how to do a podcast well, but we’ve summarized that for you here in 8 steps:

  1. Choose the right format: Choose a format that suits your content and style, such as solo episodes, interviews, panel discussions, or storytelling.
  2. Invest in good equipment: Invest in high-quality equipment, such as microphones, headphones, and recording software, to ensure that your podcast sounds professional and polished. You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars. In fact, a good mic like the Blue Yeti USB Microphone would be an excellent choice for around $100-$125. 
  3. Plan your content: Plan your podcast episodes in advance, including your topic, guest interviews, and structure. This makes it easier to stay on track and make your episodes easy to follow. We like to suggest using a tool like Airtable to set up your show calendar. You can even use a prebuilt “base” (as it’s called in Airtable) to set up the structure you may want to consider. screenshot of using airtable for podcast planning
    Airtable also has a feature that you could use to create a form that would allow people to submit guest ideas or topics and it could funnel right into this view. Cool! 
  4. Use storytelling: Podcasts aren’t the best place for heavy data, but they’re great for stories. Share real-world examples and anecdotes that illustrate your points and make your content more memorable and relatable. One of our favorite podcasts, “How I Built This,” is a great example of this. They interview the guest, but in a way that the story is thread throughout the episode, and then there is fantastic editing and music applied in post-production to really draw you in and move you along the storyline. Granted, this is a highly produced (see: expensive) podcast, but it has millions of downloads every month, so they find it’s worth it.
  5. Create intro hooks: Most major podcasts use this tactic, adding a snippet or hook at the beginning of the podcast to get the audience curious and anxious to hear more. Whether you’re putting it before the intro music, or something else, the first few seconds of a podcast set the stage for the listener. Don’t waste that time with boring or lifeless intros! 
  6. Be authentic: it’s a tired buzzword, yes, but an authentic host can be the difference between a good and great podcast. Don’t be afraid to share your mistakes, doubts, or embarrassing stories you learned from. We’ve heard from many clients, even in their own analysis of favorite podcasts, that they appreciate “best practices,” but the episodes  that drive far more value are where people share what went wrong and how they fixed it (in part because it’s more relatable).
  7. Edit your episodes: Edit your podcast episodes to remove any unwanted background noise, pauses, or mistakes. This can be a hassle if you do it in-house, but it pays off when the final product sounds great. Editing is a whole different beast, so keep in mind that if you aren’t a pro editor you can find a partner like Simple Strat to help. If you do decide to edit, keep in mind that you’ll need a whole other set of tools and you’ll need to plan to set aside time each week to do this. 
  8. Engage your listeners: Engage with your listeners by encouraging feedback, answering questions, and incorporating their suggestions into future episodes. This will help you build a loyal listenership and establish relationships with your audience.

How to get leads from your podcast

Of course, even with a strong foundation, you need to drive results with your podcast, which can be tricky since an audio file has no buttons to click or forms to sign. 

Incorporate calls to action

Incorporate calls to action into your podcast episodes, such as encouraging listeners to visit your website, sign up for a free trial, or download a white paper. Use simple, memorable URLs unique to the podcast (like “YourSite.com/offer”), so you can easily track visits afterward. Take advantage of episode descriptions to add URLs, but be aware not everyone will pay attention to these.

What else can you encourage the listeners to do? 

  • Download a free copy of your book (if you have one)
  • Get exclusive access to a paid course for free because they’re listening to the podcast
  • Offer a discount on something, like your software if you’re a SaaS company
  • Offer a free consultation about a specific problem
  • Invite them to an event you have coming up
  • Join the newsletter list
  • Connect on LinkedIn

Host webinars or events

Host webinars or events that tie into your podcast content. This gives you a more structured opportunity to generate leads and engage with potential customers in a more interactive setting. 

For example, if we had an episode about “what I learned growing a podcast to 100,000 downloads” we could then host a webinar called “launching a podcast: Going from 0 to 100,000” and review the growth tactics you need at each stage. 

Create landing pages

Create dedicated landing pages for your podcast CTAs. You’ll need to track conversions and optimize your lead generation strategy over time. This example from Tim Ferris is a great illustration of this tactic.

screenshot of the Tim Ferriss show and email signup form

Podcast promotion — best practices

What’s the best way to promote a podcast? Before we dive into promotional strategies, make sure you follow these best practices to maximize your reach.

Create a podcast trailer

Before or as you launch your first episode, add a trailer to give listeners a taste of what they can expect when listening to your show. Use it to build excitement and anticipation. 

A show trailer is also a good way to build “sonic branding,” which is the recognition of a particular value or brand based on the music they use. 

Our favorite example? The Home Depot! Every time you hear a commercial start with that music, you know it’s the Home Depot. 

The same goes for your podcast. The intro becomes part of your brand awareness kit. The audio recognition creates familiarity, and familiarity leads to trust! 

Be consistent

Consistency is key when it comes to podcasting. Decide on a regular publishing schedule and stick to it. Eventually, loyal listeners will start looking forward to it, and the regularity will help you stay top-of-mind.

Create compelling graphics

Make great graphics, from your thumbnails to your shownotes, and put time into making your graphics professional, clean, and eye-catching.

Repurpose your content

Repurpose your podcast content into other formats, such as blog posts, videos, and social media posts. This will help you reach a wider audience and make the most of your content.

As an example, here’s a blog post that was written as a recap from a podcast episode. You can pull out the main points of the podcast for a blog and then encourage readers to listen to the podcast for additional details and insights. 

visual of repurposing a podcast into a blog

Audiograms and videos are a great way to promote shorter snippets of the podcast on social media. We love headliner and Lumen5 for these, but we also come back to trusted favorites like Adobe Photoshop and Premiere for making graphics and shorts. 

Bonus tip: Podcasts are hard to “skip” since you don’t know what you’re skipping (unlike fast forwarding in a video) so you can also use Spotify to provide links to timestamps in an episode, taking the visitors right to the juicy stuff. 

basic instructions on using spotify timestamps for your podcast

Engage with your audience

Engage with your listeners through social media, email, and other channels. Respond to their questions and feedback, and incorporate their suggestions into your content. This will help you build relationships with your audience and make your podcast more engaging. You might even offer to have fans come onto the show if they have valuable insights to offer.

Encourage reviews

Reviews are a huge part of podcast visibility. High review counts are a major factor in podcast SEO, so if you want to show up in searches, make sure to encourage your listeners to leave reviews. Even if it’s not a five-star review, it tells the algorithm people are engaging with you.

screenshot of medical sales accelerator podcast page with reviews

Where can I promote my podcast?

Ok, so you have a podcast. Now how do you get your first 100 or 1000 podcast listeners? First off, let’s make sure this is clear: it’s not a numbers game, at least not at first. A handful of loyal and engaged listeners are worth more to your business than 100 inactive subscribers. So let’s dive in.

At a minimum, you should promote your podcast through your primary marketing channels. Podcasts are becoming an increasingly saturated space, so you need to leverage any promotional strengths you have if you want to establish your new show. 

Each channel will require different formats and messaging, so make sure you know what you’re doing, or work with an expert to help.

  • Podcast directories: Submit your podcast to popular podcast directories, such as Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, YouTube, and Stitcher. The podcast space has exploded in the last few years, so the options are always growing. Take advantage of the various platforms so you can reach new listeners who are searching for podcasts in your niche. Along with those listed above, look at PlayerFM, iHeart Radio, Amazon Music, Podcast Addict, TuneIn Radio, Pandora, or Deezer.
  • Your website: Add a dedicated podcast section, or ideally a dedicated podcast site/subdomain, including show notes and episode descriptions, and embedding audio players on relevant pages. Have links to your show on the major platforms listed above, for listeners who have a platform preference.
  • Social media: Promote your podcast on your core social media platforms. Share sound bites, graphics, and quotes from your podcast to help spark curiosity. Many social platforms are becoming less useful to businesses as they age, so doing this well can require some careful strategy. A well-planned podcast promotion strategy on sites like Reddit, Quora, YouTube can go a long way if you know what you’re doing.
  • Email marketing: Use similar quotes and clips as with social media, but through email marketing campaigns to your existing subscribers. Include links to your latest episodes, mentioning some of the things the audience will learn from a given episode. To keep things simple and automated, you may also want to add a link to the podcast in your email signature.
  • Influencers: Collaborate with influencers and thought leaders in your industry by inviting them as guests on your podcast or appearing as a guest on theirs. This mutually beneficial practice can help you reach a wider audience and establish credibility with your target audience. However, don’t go in blind: be sure you’ve consumed their content enough to understand and appreciate it before you reach out. Relevance and value are the keys to making this work.
  • Other podcasts: Even if you’re not a guest on other podcasts, you can still promote your show on them. Many larger podcasts have sponsorship slots throughout the episode, which you can use to pitch your podcast to listeners. As with influencers, make sure you’ve listened to their show enough to make sure it’s relevant to yours, and that your show would be valuable for their audience.
  • Speaking engagements: If you’re delivering a keynote or a webinar, add in a slide that details  the podcast, and highlight a key takeaway from a recent episode. As long as it doesn’t look like a promotion that was shoved into the middle of a deck, this is a great way to introduce your audience who’s already in front of you to your podcast.
  • Sales meetings/communication: Giving your sales team a “script” or some resources that they could use to share the podcast with clients and prospects is a solid practice. This also helps them provide value to clients and build their relationship.

How many listeners do you need for a successful podcast?

Too many people worry about podcast numbers. But we’ve found what you should really focus on is consistency. You can’t build a listener base if you don’t show up consistently. It takes time to build an audience, yet less than 20% of podcasts even make it beyond 10 episodes. 

Not every episode will be a hit, or be interesting to all people. Should you focus on numbers? Yes, but as with any content, it’s really not valuable to analyze data until you have a good amount of data to analyze! Having that data comes from at least 40-50 episodes.

That said, is there an ideal number to aim for? Well… it depends.

The number of listeners you need for a successful podcast will vary depending on your objectives. For example, if you are focused on generating leads and sales for your B2B business, a smaller but more engaged listenership may be more valuable than a larger but less engaged audience.

That said, there is no magic number of listeners that guarantees a successful podcast. What’s more important is that your podcast content is consistently high-quality, informative, and engaging for your target listeners. 

More than numbers, you want a show that has listeners regularly reaching out with questions, comments, requests, or even just compliments.

Focus on building a loyal listenership over time, rather than just aiming for a large number of downloads or listeners from the start.

Ultimately, the success of your podcast will depend on a variety of factors, including 

  • The quality of your content
  • The frequency of your episodes
  • The consistency of your promotion efforts
  • Your ability to build relationships with the listeners you have

Track podcast KPIs — measure and analyze results

Track your podcast’s performance and progress toward the goals you’ve set, so you can refine your strategy over time. Bear in mind that in the early days, these numbers will be low for quite a while, so don’t get discouraged.

Here are some major podcast KPIs to consider tracking:

  1. Downloads: This is a basic metric that tracks the number of times your podcast has been downloaded. It can help you understand the overall popularity of your podcast, and can give you better insight into which episodes are most popular. If you use a tool like Libsyn or Buzzsprout, they will provide this number to you each week in your dashboard. graph of daily downloads over time for a podcast
  2. Listenership: Track the number of unique listeners your podcast has. This will help you understand your overall reach. This number may look different depending on your podcast host.
  3. Engagement: Track engagement metrics such as social media shares, comments, or messages sent from audience members. Keep an eye on which topics (or formats, styles, etc) are getting the best response.
  4. Reviews: your review count and rating not only get you more attention, but it also gives you valuable direct feedback so you know what’s working, what’s not, and how engaged people are with your content.
  5. Conversion rate: Track how many listeners convert to customers or leads after listening to your podcast. 
  6. Revenue: As your show gets bigger, track the revenue generated from your podcast, such as sponsorships, advertisements, or lead generation.

Bonus KPI tips

  • Email list: you don’t need an email list, but if you wanted to build one as a tactic, this can be a useful set of KPIs to track (subscribers, click rates, etc).
  • Podcast assets in HubSpot: if you’re a HubSpot user, you can use campaigns to track KPIs of all the assets linked to your podcast (landing pages, emails, lists, etc). This would help you see the impact of your podcast on overall sales activity. 
  • YouTube metrics: you can also repurpose your podcast for YouTube Podcasts, which is a new focus for YouTube in 2023. (find some content about that here). You can track stats here like views and subscribers on your podcast’s YouTube channel.
  • LinkedIn page metrics: If your podcast is a B2B effort, we recommend giving it its own LinkedIn page to help improve visibility for your target audience. This page introduces its own set of KPIs to track, from followers and subscriber referrals to engagements.

Succeeding with podcast marketing

While it seems simple at first glance, podcast marketing is a comprehensive strategy, and an effective one (which is why so many companies and thought leaders are jumping on the bandwagon lately). 

However, with the increase in competition comes the opportunity to stand out with solid content strategy, promotion, and most importantly, consistency. 

If you’re looking to launch a podcast, want to grow yours, or need help with any of the marketing and production of a current show, ask us about our podcast marketing services. Or book a free podcast marketing consultation today.

Happy podcasting!

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