Conventional marketing wisdom dictates that B2B podcasts are not, and are not meant to be, effective selling tools. They’re regarded as being necessary to use, but not necessarily useful – almost as if the only reason that a B2B company would offer podcasts is because it’s better than not offering them.
As a B2B marketing professional, I emphatically disagree with this conventional “wisdom”.
When properly planned and constructed, B2B podcasts can be entertaining, informative, and providers of excellent ROI. They can build backlinks to your site, increase your search rank, ramp up marketplace awareness of the solutions that your company delivers, and drive inquiries from qualified in-bound prospects.
Here are three simple tips to help you turn your company’s B2B podcasts into effective lead gen tools that will be downloaded, enjoyed, and shared:
1. WRITING: Keep them brief.
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Many marketing experts recommend that B2B podcasts should be structured like audio versions of long-form written blogs, and should be kept to a maximum of 40 to 50 minutes in duration.
40 to 50 minutes? Really??? Experts, sorry to break it to you, but that’s nuts.
B2B podcasts should be no longer than 4 minutes. They should present a common industry problem and then briefly describe how your company’s products/services would go about solving it.
Keep in mind that you shouldn’t try to do an aggressive, extensive sell job in your B2B podcasts, or cram in every detail of your story. Your goal should be to provide a summary of the topline facts, and then invite listeners to contact you for the rest of the info.
Think of your B2B podcast as a movie trailer: grab your listeners (aka your potential customers) with a fast-moving, snappy, and well-crafted teaser, and they’ll then want to get in touch with you to not only find out more of the backstory, but also to learn how you could deliver similar solutions for them.
2. PRODUCING: Make them professional and entertaining.
Just because it’s easy to hook up a USB microphone to a computer and record your voice doesn’t mean that it’s also easy to craft first-rate audio content that will attract listeners and potential clients: it takes a little more work to make your podcast a download-ready lead generator.
For a single narrator, use a high quality cardioid USB microphone (I recommend the Blue Yeti) with a pop filter to prevent words with ‘p’ in them from causing pops – or volume spikes – in your recording. Be sure that your narrator’s voice is clear and energetic. For a final touch, add a noise gate, e.q., and some light compression to your audio in order to achieve a warm, pleasing tone.
Using professionally-produced, royalty-free, instrumental music in the intro and outro of your podcast is also suggested: it makes your audio content sound super professional, and it ramps up the entertainment quotient in a big way. As far as the right genre of music to choose, here are some guidelines:
Smooth jazz – No. Too mellow.
Hip hop or EDM – Negatory. Too young.
Classical – Ixnay. Too high brow.
Folk – Uh, you’re kidding, right?
Rock – Bingo, but with guidelines: no punk, no emo, nothing too modern or dissonant or aggressive. Your best choice is hook-heavy, classic-sounding rock. Think ESPN highlights and car commercial-type rock. It has energy, structure, and it appeals to the age demographic of the professionals who you’re trying to reach (late 30s to early 50s).
3. OPTIMIZING – Get them found.
The “upload it and they will come” idea that most B2B marketers have about their podcasts is hugely misguided: along with your marketing, sales, and p.r. teams promoting your podcasts, you also need to take additional steps to make sure that they’re discoverable by your target customers.
The easiest and most efficient way to ensure fast find-ability of your podcasts is to optimize them for listing on search engines. This can be achieved by carefully incorporating your URL as well as the top-ranked keywords that are associated with your company/products/services into the descriptions of your podcasts’ content. These descriptions would be entered into the appropriate information fields of the audio content management tool that you use to upload your podcasts for hosting and distribution (I recommend Hipcast).
(Here are podcast examples that I’ve created which incorporate all three of the above tips.)
If you’d like your B2B company to offer podcasts, do youself a big favor and ignore conventional wisdom: if followed, it will lead you to an unhappy world where painfully long, unstructured presentations with deficient production values bring disappointing results, few (if any) downloads, and lonely tears.
Instead, set your sights on the many benefits that well-written, slickly produced, and smartly optimized B2B lead gen podcasts can deliver.