Podcasts Reap Engagement. It's Time for B2B Media to Dive In
As members of the B2B media sector, we’re always on the hunt for new ways to engage our audience – especially the millennial generation. From events to videos to remarketing schemes, we’re continually looking for ways to break down the four walls that make up our websites and meet our audiences where they are.
While there are many approaches, one content delivery tool is re-emerging and has become key to engaging B2B audience members. That tool is the podcast, and it is opening the door for our brands to reach listeners in their cars, at home, and more.
Podcasts aren’t new to the B2B sector. But, there’s no doubt that interest in podcasts is at an all-time high.
Here are some stats that will tell us why. According to a report from Edison Research, awareness of podcasts is on the rise. In 2018, Edison reported that 64% of the population in the U.S. are now familiar with the term podcasts. That’s not to say that they are using podcasts, but as we know awareness is the first step to adoption.
What’s even more outstanding is that monthly podcast listeners in the U.S. grew from 24% to 26% year over year. Additionally, 73 million Americans listened to podcasts in a one-month period, and the average weekly time spent listening to podcasts jumped from 5 hours to 6 hours and 37 minutes over a one-year period.
So, what’s driving the adoption? There are several factors. First, engaging podcast series, like NPR’s Serial, have gone viral and built adoption around the medium. At the same time, a host of celebrities, from Conan O’Brien to Alex Rodriguez to Ron Burgundy, are using this tool to build their own content delivery vehicles.
And, let’s not forget the vehicles themselves. While a majority of podcasts are still listened to at home, the advent of bluetooth and other connections in the car have made podcasts a key listening tool for end users while they commute. In fact, Edison’s report said that 58% of podcast users claim that they have listened to a podcast in the car.
The Media Impact
So, what does this mean for us as media brands? First, and probably most important, podcasts offer us the opportunity to engage with audience in new ways and in new locations. If done right, media brands can own users both in the office and in the car.
Second, podcasts offer the ability to increase your reach into mobile platforms. As Edison research pointed out, 76% of users consumer podcasts through a mobile device. Thus, by being in the podcast space, you have a chance to own a portion of the time users are spending on mobile.
Hanley Wood is one B2B company that is jumping on the bandwagon. The well-known B2B real estate and construction brand announced recently that it is launching a podcast series featuring transformational building industry trends and technologies. You can learn more about that launch by clicking here.
Farm Journal has also had success with podcasts, launching a slew of them in recent years.
Key Podcast Considerations
However, to be successful in the podcast world, there are some things to consider.
- Audio quality matters – If there’s one piece of advice that I give any media brand getting into podcasts, it’s to not skimp out on the audio. This is a medium where sound quality matters. So, if you’re getting into podcasts, make sure you’re audio is strong. Invest in equipment such as mics, pop filters, and sound proof panels, which will make your audio more crisp and digestible for your audience.
- Don’t be afraid to edit – Simply said, shorter is better when it comes to podcasts. That means you’ve got to be ready to edit down the audio you have. Personally, I’m a three to five minute guy. But, you need to experiment with lengths for your audience and edit to those needs.
- Have personality – Choosing a personality to either host or work on your podcasts is a critical element in the process. So, find someone with an opinion on your staff and leverage it.
- Stream through multiple channels – In the early days of podcasting, Apple was the best way to get your podcast out to the world. Now there are a ton of vehicles. Your website and tools like Spotify can be powerful mechanisms for reaching your audience and new audience members. Several services are also available that distribute podcasts to multiple channels to expand your podcast’s reach.
Podcasts aren’t just for B2C publishers. Increasingly, listeners are embracing new genres of podcast, including professional development and industry-specific content. As technology advances in our cars, homes, and mobile devices it has become easier than ever to consume audio content when we cannot read online. That means this channel will only become more popular in the coming years. The time is now for B2B publishers to dive into this new medium and engage their audience in powerful new ways.
Rob Keenan is the President of Keenan Media, LLC, a consultancy firm providing digital, content, marketing, and audience support to the media sector. Rob has worked in the BtoB media sector for 20 years, most recently at the VP of Online Media for Edgell Communications. You can contact Rob at firstname.lastname@example.org.You can also follow him on twitter @robkeenan11 or connect with him on LinkedIn.