Podcasts are everywhere. They’re relatively cheap and can be easy to make, and are the perfect digestible format for the busy modern listener to consume on the train, in the car, or at their desk.
There are even TV shows about podcasts nowadays.
Needless to say, lots of smart marketers are joining the frenzy and using the format as a fresh channel in their strategies.
But as the podcast world gets more and more cramped, crowded, and competitive, only the sharpest and most impactful podcast marketers will stand out and get their voices into their target audience’s laptop speakers and earphones.
I’m fortunate to work with a talented team of marketers and life science industry experts who have taken our From Lab To Launch podcast into the top 10% of global listens – and I’ve assembled three top tips for any marketing team looking to turn podcasts into a core component of their marketing engine.
Here are my top tips for podcast marketing:
No sales, ever
In the UK, we have a pretty strange saying imported from the Ashanti tribe of Ghana by Lord Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scouts:
‘Softly, softly, catchee monkey.’
In other words, to catch a monkey – should you ever wish to – don’t rush and grab it. It’ll dart away and vanish into the trees quicker than you can hope to react. Move softly and slowly, however, and you stand a much better chance.
The same wisdom is true of podcast marketing, as it is with inbound marketing generally.
Launch into a tirade of how great your business is, the products and services you provide, and how you can solve all the listener’s problems, and they’ll switch off, never to return.
Podcast listeners don’t want to hear it, even if they’re in your ideal customer profile (ICP) bracket. How many of us press that handy little ‘skip 30 seconds’ button when a mid-episode ad appears?
People download podcasts, in a nutshell, to learn more about something they find interesting for free. That might be a true crime breakdown of a 40-year-old cold case, expert analysis of the war in Ukraine, or something closely connected to their professional lives. Break that implicit contract and fail to provide real value, and they’ll move onto something else.
In Qualio’s case, our podcast’s focus is life science – more specifically, inspiring success stories from innovators, entrepreneurs, founders and pioneers who’ve brought a life-saving product through the regulatory and investment maze and into the market.
We make, market, and sell eQMS software for regulated life science businesses. But although the occasional customer might reference our product in passing, we never mention or push it ourselves on the show.
Instead, we focus on what we know our target audience – life science quality professionals – will find interesting and stimulating. And we let our own passion and interest in this area flow through our episodes.
If 5% of our listeners are intrigued by what we do, visit our website under their own steam, and begin to convert to a demo, mission accomplished.
Softly, softly, catchee monkey.
Keep it moving
The best podcasts are like TV shows before Netflix binges became a thing. Regular, staggered release cadences build loyalty and keep people tuning in each week by habit.
So much work needs to go into every single episode if it’s to be of decent quality:
- Speaker sourcing
- Interview execution
Build a robust and repeatable process that lets your podcast team get through each of these tasks in a consistent and manageable way, aiming for the typical output format of one episode per week.
And if you’re struggling to map out an episode for every single week, don’t be afraid to play around and stretch your niche. Think outside the box for connected but unexpected tangents to build episodes around.
From Lab To Launch’s primary focus, for instance, is to share inspiring life science stories. And while this is a theoretically bottomless well, we’ve also built episodes which share valuable and actionable tips for our target audience, in key areas such as:
- How to secure funding for nascent start-ups
- What life science leaders can learn from basketball
- Remote working post-pandemic
The more inventive you can be, the broader and more sustainable and evergreen your podcast series will become.
And as you go forward, keep a close eye on your episode analytics – let your audience dictate what they want to hear from you by trimming low-engagement topics and doubling down on what your audience are listening to and commenting on.
Make your podcast a springboard
Don’t just think of your podcast as an independent funnel-filling channel.
Done properly, your podcast can be a long-term springboard for building broader awareness of, and engagement with, your company brand.
Once you’re six months or more into your podcast endeavors, think carefully about:
- Who’s listening to your podcast
- What’s driving them there
- What value they’re getting from your series
Then use that information to leverage other ways you can reach out and engage.
A natural example for a B2B marketing podcast is an industry community: a shared network bringing together members of your podcast audience to connect with one another, share ideas, collaborate, perform guest speaking, and contribute to the topics and conversations they might be hearing on your podcast episodes.
Longer term, you could even support this initiative with physical events – as long as (see tip #1) they continue to deliver non-salesy value. Make sure you create a feedback loop by promoting your community on your podcast, and your podcast through your community channels.
Other initiatives which could grow from a successful podcast include:
- Networking with other podcasters
- Help A Reporter Out (HARO)
- Repurposing of high-listen episodes into blog posts, articles, infographics and other collateral
In other words: don’t make converting listeners the only metric that matters for your podcast strategy.
The best podcasts have strong, multi-faceted impacts on brand visibility – so make the most!