Podcasts are very easy to create and launch. Anyone with a microphone and an internet connection can have a podcast listed on Apple and YouTube and ready for consumption.

On the flipside, the low barrier of entry means it’s hard to get a new podcast noticed.  And the ease of putting out a podcast can hide how difficult it can be to make a good podcast, one that people will be compelled to listen to.

The TopRank Marketing team has worked on podcasts with brands like SAP and 3M. Here’s what we’ve learned about B2B podcasting:

Let’s start with the easiest question first:

What is a podcast?

A podcast refers to a series of recordings that are organized in an RSS feed, listed in public directories, and available for listeners on demand. The ‘pod’ part derives from the iPod, which was the first widely-adopted player that supported podcasts.

It’s important to keep the definition broad, because podcasts aren’t tied to a specific genre or format. Some are live interviews, some are panel discussions, some are fully scripted and produced audio plays; some are cryptic monologues about a bizarre southwestern town.  

But they all share two attributes:

  1. There are multiple recordings for each title, and
  2. They’re organized in an RSS feed you can subscribe to on podcast platforms

Why podcasts? (The benefits of B2B podcasting)

It may surprise you how popular podcasts are for a B2B audience. Last year, a survey of 511 senior-level businesspeople (managers, team members, executives and owners) found that 51% listen to podcasts daily. An additional 24% say they listen 2-5 times a week.

In other words, this study showed that 75% of B2B decision-makers are listening to podcasts. And they’re listening to learn. Thirty-six percent say they listen to learn new things, and 43% even say podcasts are their primary source of information.

Beyond the audience demographics, there are other attributes of podcasting as a channel that make it attractive for B2B:

  • Time spent listening.  Would your target audience sit still for a two-hour webinar? Probably not. But many regularly listen to two-hour-long podcast episodes. Research shows that 22% of people who listen to podcasts listen to over 22 hours of programming per week!
  • Committed listeners. Those who listen to podcasts are likely to pick up new ones, too. Weekly listeners listen to an average of eight podcasts a week. 
  • Low startup costs. You can start a podcast with a $50 microphone, one voice, and web hosting. Of course, you can make your recordings far more elaborate, but simplicity isn’t a barrier to success.
  • Access to new audiences. If your podcast includes influencer guests, you can reach their audiences as well. Cross-promoting with other podcasts helps both of you find new users without taking away from each other.
  • Full-funnel outcomes. Podcasts can boost brand awareness, establish thought leadership, differentiate your brand from the competition, and even help with lead generation.

How to create a B2B podcast

There’s so little ramp-up needed to make a barebones podcast that it’s tempting to just plug in a mic and start talking. But an exceptional podcast — especially one intended as content marketing — needs more planning and strategy.

1. Content planning

Treat your podcast as you would any content marketing endeavor — with plenty of research and your audience firmly in mind.

Do your research

Approach your podcast like a blog’s editorial calendar. Look for the keywords your audience is searching for. Look at industry publications, trending topics on social media, and listen to other podcasts in your industry. The goal is to discover the questions your brand has the authority and credibility to answer.

Find your angle

What can your brand bring to the conversation that no one else can? It’s important to identify what will make your podcast unique. For example, if every podcast about elderly care is from a caregiver perspective, yours might focus on topics of interest to healthcare administrators and coordinators.

Choose your starting topics

Combine your keyword research with your unique angle and you’re ready to pick topics for the podcast to cover. You can be specific, like “How this new legislation affects care workers,” or more broad, as in “Trends in home health care.”’

2. Production planning

There’s no right or wrong way to produce a podcast. Here are the most popular formats, with a few considerations for each.

3. Recording and production

Now we get to the fun part: Actually creating your content! Here’s what you need to know.

Recording software

For a solo podcast, software like Audacity makes it easy to record and edit. For multiple participants, a tool like Riverside or Zencastr can greatly streamline the process. These tools make it easy to record multiple people in different locations, consolidate their audio, and produce audio and video. 

Equipment

For each participant, you will need a microphone and headset. Don’t rely on all-in-one earbuds or gaming headsets. You don’t need to break the bank when you’re first starting out, however. A lower-end condenser microphone like the Blue Yeti or MXL 990 will do fine.

Recording

Make sure each participant is in a quiet room with minimal echoes or background noise. Start recording, then count down from three to one and have each participant clap their hands or snap close to the microphone. Repeat the process any time you stop talking and start again. This will leave a ‘spike’ on the waveform to let you know when segments begin and end.

Post-production

Editing is the gift that you give your audience. It shows that you care about their experience and respect their time. At the minimum, edit out off-topic conversation, long pauses and false starts. Then take a listen with a critical ear — it might help to close your eyes and listen through headphones. Take note of when your attention starts to wander and mark the timecode for potential edits.

Once you’ve edited the audio, you can polish up the production. Adjust the levels to make sure the overall volume is consistent. Add musical cues at the beginning and end, as well as incidental music if you wish. 

4. Host and promote your podcast

The most basic setup for launching a podcast is a place to store the files and an RSS feed to submit to apps like Apple Podcasts, Spotify and YouTube Music. But you don’t have to go the DIY route — save your IT team a headache and use a tool like Podbean or Libsyn

These hosting platforms make it easy to upload episodes and get them listed on the various apps.

Prepare for a steady cadence

You will want to have more than one episode ready at launch, and will want to follow up regularly with new episodes. Consistency is key both for getting noticed by search algorithms, and making listening a habit for your audience. A 3-4 episode buffer will make it easy to stick to your schedule.

Promote your podcast

It can be hard for podcasts to gain visibility on listening apps. It’s far easier to promote the podcast on your established channels:

  • Add it to your newsletter
  • Create a launch blog 
  • Post on social media
  • Encourage guests to promote

Another great way to find an audience is to have your host visit someone else’s established podcast. A podcast that’s relevant to your existing audience is likely to welcome a subject matter expert from your company—or willing to have your podcast sponsor a commercial break or two.

Even if you’re hosting the podcast files on a platform, it’s a good idea to have a podcast hub on your site, too. Create a page with an embedded player for all the episodes, then give each episode its own landing page with guest bios and a full transcript.

Repurpose the content

A podcast episode is a fine content marketing unit on its own. But don’t overlook the potential for it to be more. You can use it for, among others:

  • Slideshows of key quotes
  • Video/audio snippets for social media
  • Full episodes on YouTube (with video or a visualizer)
  • Roundup blog posts with takeaways from multiple episodes

5. Measure the success of your podcast

Podcasts are a unique channel as far as metrics and measurement go. Each podcast app offers its own analytics, with some more detailed than others. In general, measure:

  • Number of subscribers
  • Number of listens per app
  • Average time spent listening (Apple Podcasts only)
  • Visits to podcast hub
  • Visits to individual episode pages

You can also include a vanity URL in your podcast and ask listeners to visit a landing page. Just make sure the URL is easy to remember and type in after the episode is over.

10 great B2B podcasts to inspire you

Take some cues from these well-established podcasts and you’ll be well on your way to success.

  1. Trailblazers, Dell
  2. Breaking B2B – B2B Marketing & Demand Generation Podcast
  3. Cutting Carbon, GE
  4. Leaders of B2B, Content Allies and Add1Zero
  5. The Social Media Marketing Podcast, Social Media Examiner
  6. B2B E-Commerce Accelerated, Sana Commerce
  7. Better Together: Customer Conversations, SAP
  8. The Saas Podcast, SaaS Club
  9. Saastr Podcasts, SaaStr
  10. Life After/The Message, GE

Cast your pod with care

The podcast boom shows no sign of slowing down. It’s a good time to start a B2B podcast, but it will take sophisticated strategy and execution to launch a successful one. This guide can help you get yours off the ground.

Need help getting started? Learn about podcasting and other expert content marketing services offered by our agency.

About the author

Joshua Nite is dedicated to bringing humanity, empathy, and humor to content marketing. His two ironclad rules: Never settle for commodity content, and never write anything you wouldn’t want to read. Great writing takes heart, soul, guts and rhythm. Josh is also the once and future Pundamonium Pun Slam champion, a stand-up comedian and storyteller, and is getting pretty good at electric guitar. His only weakness: Extreme self-consciousness when writing about himself in the third person.