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Why We Started A Business Podcast

Nov 30, 2018

Nicole Hitner

Originally published with Software Business Growth.

Last year, with a scant six months of content marketing experience under my belt and absolutely no background in radio or audio production, I recorded my company’s first-ever proprietary podcast episode. I’d found myself conducting lots of interviews and getting bogged in all the transcription that entailed (though this affordable web-based tool made it so much easier). I suggested to my manager that starting a podcast might be the most efficient means of bringing in outside subject matter expertise. Why not just let the business intelligence analysts and industry researchers speak for themselves?

We content marketers are strongly encouraged to diversify our media menus, to give the standard blog post format a break or a boost every once in a while. As exciting as it may be to experiment with videos, infographics, embedded quizzes, and all the rest, we know that at the end of the day, our content needs to perform and provide business value to our companies. Neither I nor my department knew where this podcasting experiment would lead, but 12 episodes and a year later, I can safely say it paid off.

5 Reasons To Podcast (Even If No One’s Listening)

It’s important to establish at the outset the primary marketing goal of a business podcast is to promote brand awareness through thought leadership. If you’re trying to boost your site’s SEO or generate leads, this isn’t the medium you want. Although you can link to relevant episodes from guest contributed content and encourage subscribers to fill out listener surveys, these objectives should be secondary to educating and informing your market. Apple Podcasts does a great job of explaining the reason for this in their Podcast Marketing Best Practices guide:

People listen not just for information, but also for a meaningful connection to topics and ideas they care about. And while listeners enjoy podcasts at different times, it’s the quiet moments when most people tune in. These moments soon become little retreats, “me time” that listeners look forward to and plan around.

In other words, episodes must be valuable, relevant, and a pleasure to listen to if they are to attract a loyal audience. This, of course, is the number-one reason to start a business podcast: to connect with your market and nurture that relationship.

But there are other less obvious reasons to podcast as well. Of course you want listeners, but even if your podcast languishes in obscurity for the first several episodes, know you can (and are) still deriving benefit from the practice. As a caveat, know many of the benefits below pertain only to podcast formats that allow for guests to appear on the show. These interview and conversational formats are germane to business podcasts, but I specify because virtually any format could be used to market a product or service.

So hosting your own guest-based business podcast is a great way to:

  1. Strengthen Customer Relationships. Your customers are experts in their industries, and there’s likely something they know that would be of great interest to your target market. Interviewing your customers not only informs your audience but also gives you and your company greater insight into their operations. It’s equal parts market research and customer relationship building.
  2. Establish Influencer Relationships. Those industry influencers who make a living off contributed content, interviews, and speaking engagements are in the minority. Chances are, you will find tech execs and subject matter experts who are more than willing to share what they know in exchange for the publicity and will more readily commit to an hour-long interview than to authoring a post. Establishing relationships with these individuals sometimes leads to business opportunities and, failing that, can help spread your reach on social networks.
  3. Stockpile Source Material. When you need evidence to support a claim, an example to illustrate a concept, or a quote to set the tone, go to your podcast archive. Why go hunting around the internet for these things when you could quote someone with whom you already have a professional relationship? Bonus: quoting them gives you an excuse to share the article with them when it’s published.
  4. Discover New Content Topics. There are two ways you can go about planning a podcast interview: 1) Pick a topic and find a guest to match; or 2) Find a guest and brainstorm potential topics. The second method can inspire conversations you might not have had otherwise, broadening the scope and depth of your content portfolio.
  5. Support Business Development. There’s a good chance your biz dev department is constantly forging relationships with companies and individuals that would make great interview subjects. Sourcing podcast guests from your biz dev associates fuels your content stream while also giving biz dev another means of maintaining contact with prospects. Sometimes a little co-marketing can even help nurture the business relationship!

So you’re convinced: it’s time to hit the digital airwaves. But where do you start? I’ll cover that in part two of this series.

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