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Podcasts for B2B: how can you cut through the noise?

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Hallam comment on the growth of business podcasts and suggest that now might be the time to get in front of new listeners.

In the last few years, podcasts have exploded - but you don’t need anyone to tell you that. Every man, his dog, and his competitor have launched a podcast recently, and it’s hard to know where to start.

Podcasting keeps making the headlines, too. Joe Rogan went viral when he signed an exclusive deal with Spotify, and the streaming platform doubled down when they also signed Michelle Obama. In fact, journalists actually listen to more and more podcasts now to source quotes from people for their stories, quotes that are out in the public domain. And to make the case for B2B, one statistic found that there are avid fans of business podcasts in a massive 13 million households.

Podcasts are ideal for brand awareness and managing your personal brand, in an on-the-go, busy lifestyle. How do you get yours noticed in a landscape where the top 0.1% most popular ones reign and the market becomes more saturated every day?

You don’t need to create your own show to thrive in podcast land

People, and brands, launch podcasts on social media almost daily.

While this should be rewarded, people only have so many hours a day to listen to podcasts and don’t always have time for new ones. Plus, you need a lot of spare cash for ads and need to be ready to make a big commitment, having people lined up ready to guest each week.

If you’re starting out, you should dip your toes into the water first. Podcasts are fantastic for small and medium-sized businesses and their executives to grow awareness. By taking part in podcasts and guesting on existing shows, you’ll get:

1. Free advertising/brand awareness

2. Likely a 15-30 second slot to plug yourself

3. To promote yourself as a thought leader

4. See how other people run podcasts, for future reference in case you set up your own later

5. An opportunity to network and connect with key influencers.

How do I become a guest on podcasts?

There’s so many of them out there, it can be easy to become a deer in headlights at the vast number of podcasts available, but it doesn’t need to be scary.

If you start your own podcast, you need to grow it from scratch, develop a long-term content strategy, and invest a lot of time and money. But if you start by guesting on others - they’ve already done the hard work for you!

Research relevant podcasts by searching key terms

As of January this year, there were more than 850,000 active podcasts. The easiest way to filter down to find podcasts that are right for you to be on, to get in front of your audience is by searching for the key terms on your podcast app of choice.

For instance, if you search ‘SaaS’ on Apple, Google, Acast, Spotify etc, it’ll show the shows which mention SaaS in previous episodes, or their titles. Search for your job title, or for your audience base. For example, if your core offering is smart pay solutions, you can search for:

  • Smart pay
  • Finance
  • Young people + money
  • Retail

There’s also nothing wrong with just searching for top podcasts in your industry on Google, too - but some of these lists may be outdated, and the devil moves quickly, but podcasts move quicker.

Look at their relevance, not popularity

With almost a million podcasts, it’s impossible for them all to have high listening figures - there’s only so many hours in a day. Many should look at the reviews and ratings on the podcast to see how popular it is.

But Megaphone collected data on the US iTunes store which found that 80% of podcasts have no rating listed. Think about podcasts in the same situation as a microwave - who actually leaves ratings? Usually it’s those who think it’s the best microwave they have ever bought and it’s life-changing, or those who actively hate it. The millions of people who bought the microwave and think it’s good won’t leave a review. The same can be applied to podcasts.

You don’t need to guest on a podcast with 100,000 weekly listeners. All you need to do is make sure that they’re relevant. Don’t feel like you can’t ask the host or organiser who their target audience is, just to be sure, as they’ll have more of that data than you will be able to see.

If you do want to see what Joe Public has to say about the podcast, you’ll have a better chance by searching the name of it on Twitter and LinkedIn, where people tend to post about things they enjoy that are relevant to them and to others in their industry. At Hallam, we noticed that The Goat Agency’s podcast, The 30,000ft View, was being spoken about a lot on Twitter, and so pitched Susan Hallam MBE in to speak on one of their next episodes - which they said yes to.

Identify your niche talking point

You want to be seen as the expert, and that won’t happen if you’re just repeating what everyone else is saying.

What can you tell their listeners that someone else can’t? Think of it like a speaking slot - what’s your podcast USP? To identify what your brand, and your people can talk about, answer the following questions which might help you to identify your key talking points:

Do you have any major thoughts or controversial opinions on recent news in your industry?

What are you doing about consumer behaviour changes? Can you offer your thoughts on this?

Everyone’s favourite phrase - digital transformation. What are you doing to cater to it in your industry?

Do you have any major company hacks that you can share which have helped you to become more productive/successful/happier?

Are there any new regulations you can comment on?

What do you see people doing all the time that is wrong or you don’t agree with?

Any cool customer data you can share?

Securing the spot

Search on Twitter. Set up an alert on ‘IfThisThenThat’ which will help you to get alerted every time someone includes the word ‘podcast’ with the hashtag #JournoRequest or #PRRequest. This will save you scanning thousands of tweets a day.

Once you know which podcasts you want to go on, reach out to them and ask. They’ll likely have a website with their contact information, or it will be on their social media. Explain why you like their podcast, and what you can offer to their audience.

Connect with podcast hosts on Twitter and LinkedIn, and follow them on Instagram and Twitter. If you start to interact with them and build up a relationship organically, you’ll likely be ahead of the pack when it comes to securing that coveted spot. Kieran S-Lawler, Head of Content and Social Media at Hallam, was being vocal on LinkedIn, and his connections at Pitch Consultants noticed him. As a result, they invited him onto their podcast.

Thought Leadership 2.0

We all want to be thought leaders, and get in front of our audience. Adding value to a podcast will have people searching for you and your brand after, and one guest appearance can easily turn into ten. Once people hear you on one relevant podcast, they might invite you on theirs.

Guesting on podcasts will allow you to broaden your brand and reach out and build your reputation on the topic in your industry, whether it’s digital marketing, SaaS, hair and beauty, or finance.

It will also help you to increase your exposure and develop personal relationships, There may be an opportunity, should you eventually launch your own podcast, to invite them onto yours - with their raised following, you’re more likely to get a higher number of listeners.

Rebecca Peel is senior PR and content consultant at Hallam.

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