What Makes a Great Audio Content Strategy?
What Makes a Great Audio Content Strategy?

What Makes a Great Audio Content Strategy?

Resources

What Makes a Great Audio Content Strategy?

Updated Jun 28, 2022


Consumption of audio content, including podcasts related to business, finance and education, continues to increase. Podcast listeners aren’t just listening more often; they’re also listening to more individual podcasts. As that demand has increased, though, so has the competition for people’s attention. You’ll need a clear podcast content strategy if you want to stand out in listeners’ crowded feeds – much less their minds.

A great audio marketing strategy requires knowing your niche audience, finding the story only you can tell,  and mapping out a concrete plan to earn your way onto the right people’s playlists.

3 Elements of an Effective Audio Strategy

Podcasts, the most popular form of audio content, can take many formats and styles, but successful podcasts have three core elements in place.

A Defined Audience

When it comes to podcasting, the riches truly are in the niches. While some business podcasts certainly do achieve popularity among a general audience, that shouldn’t necessarily be the goal for most business podcasts.

Instead, get specific about the person you most want to listen to your podcast. Your standard buyer persona, with job title, company size, etc.,  is a good start, but don’t stop there. What else do they listen to? What else do they read? This exercise is part data and part storytelling, and the more specific you can be, the better.

A Strong Concept

A great podcast content strategy requires defining your concept. You need to hook in your potential audience immediately. Your concept manifests itself in the podcast title and description.. For example, simply creating a brand podcast with your company’s name in it doesn’t tell potential listeners much. You’ve categorized your podcast, at best.

But if you say, “This brand podcast explores X challenges facing today’s Y consumers,” you’ve conveyed what the audience can expect in each episode.

Consider this  real-life example of a podcast concept: “Creative Elements talks with today’s top creators.”

That’s the first line describing the podcast Creative Elements, hosted by Jay Clouse. You already have a sense of who the guests are (creators), who the ideal audience is (fellow creators and fans of these creators) and what aspects of creating will be discussed (the elements of creation). The rest of the description fleshes out the concept by mentioning a few high-level guests and the advice that the podcast will explore ⁠⁠— and what it doesn’t want.

What if your brand has multiple areas it wants to focus on? That’s OK! Some podcasts produce seasons like a TV show, where a set of episodes focuses on a topic before moving on to a different one in the next season.

As part of defining your concept, decide what format will most resonate with your audience and be a good fit with your production skills and resources. Should your podcast have one host or two? Should you invite guests who are thought leaders in your industry? Clients? How often are you publishing a new episode? Will the podcast be Q&A-style? Perhaps a story-driven podcast can convey your brand’s value best — say, by capturing a day in the life of your workers.

Finally, check your proposed concept against the competition. Are there other podcasts doing what you want to do? Do your competitors have podcasts or other audio content? If so, don’t try to copy them – tweak your idea to make it unique. Remember, as Sally Hogshead says: “Different is better than better.”

A Plan to Reach Your Listeners

Audio content can be distributed in a variety of ways. The most efficient way: Publish your podcast to a feed that can be picked up by Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon’s Alexa, et al. Audio syndication tools such as Libsyn make this process simple, and they also give you a way to track consolidated engagement metrics.

Many brands also publish their podcasts on YouTube, but that’s best suited to podcasts that were also captured with video to begin with. (More on that later.)

Well-written show notes, including edited transcripts, are critical to building up long-term engagement. They also represent a way to get more bang for your buck from your investment in the original audio.

For most B2B brand podcasts, your house email list is likely to be your best channel for initial promotion. When you release new episodes, feature a teaser to the content, with a link to the show notes.

Social media platforms, including Twitter, Instagram Reels and TikTok, can be a great way to highlight podcast episodes through short audiograms. These platforms can be used to relay captivating soundbites, highlights and teasers that entice your target audience to listen to the full episode. Organic social likely won’t be enough to achieve significant reach, even among your current page followers, so you’ll want to consider paid spend.

Finally, don’t neglect advertising inside the very channels where people are choosing to listen to podcasts to begin with. The major podcast channels all have ad networks that will allow you to cross-promote your show within other shows with similar audiences.

An overreliance on organic social — and the reach of your guests — is one of the most common mistakes we see marketers make when it comes to podcast growth plans.

9 Great B2B Podcasts

Punk Rock HR

In her weekly podcast, HR expert, author and speaker Laurie Ruettimann takes a stand on the broken world of work, one episode at a time. She brings on diverse guests from all walks of life and welcomes them with a warm, but no-BS attitude that fosters meaningful conversation. Her secret weapon: preparation. She researches her guests thoroughly in advance and invests time in developing questions that elicit fresh stories – not pat soundbites.

2Bobs

David C. Baker and Blair Enns are experts in the art and the science of creative entrepreneurship, and if you’re an agency principal, listening to this podcast is like getting to sit in on the class you wish they taught at business schools. The core message behind their advice isn’t a surprise to anyone who regularly reads their written content, and yet, it’s still always a bit magical getting to hear it in their voices.

Inside the Mind

Greg Portell and Katie Thomas are leaders in the retail practice at Kearney, the global management consulting firm. This podcast explores what a variety of consumer communities – fashionistas, CBD users, high-end whisky drinkers – really think about their relationships with retailers and brands. How it’s different: Instead of just telling stories about these groups of people, the hosts interview members of each community, and stitch them together into a narrative framework. Think This American Life for shopping.

Margins

Mary Ellen Slayter and Elena Valentine reject the “two bros and a microphone” model in exchange for a curated, narrative experience that highlights diverse perspectives on the messier aspects of the creative process.

Scale Your Sales Podcast

Janice B Gordon talks with sales experts and marketing influencers in this weekly podcast aimed at B2B executives, sales leaders, key account managers and customer-serving professionals. She smoothly brings together seemingly different topics with warm, positive energy.

Marketing Over Coffee

Accomplished marketers and speakers John Wall and Christopher Penn share insightful content for tech-savvy marketers on such topics as social media trends, SEO and email marketing. What makes it different: They record it in a coffee shop every week.

Mic Drop

Josh Linkner is an accomplished entrepreneur, talented musician, and inspiring keynote speaker. In this podcast, he interviews other top speakers about their “mic drop” moments. If you’ve ever wondered what it really takes to make it as a professional speaker, this podcast gives you the inside track.

Put That Coffee Down

Great business podcasts aren’t just for professional creatives. FreightWaves passed the mic to Kevin Hill, and he uses it to talk shop with experts on global logistics and transportation.

The Insurance Dudes

Craig Pretzinger and Jason Feltman share insights and advice on how insurance agents can create a predictable, consistent and profitable agency sales machine.

Audio Production Basics

The technical aspects of audio recording can make or break your content. The right tools will help you create high-quality content so you can spend more time prepping hosts and guests to ensure a great show. You don’t have to invest in top-of-the-line equipment when you’re first starting out, so try the basics first then work your way up. Here are a few of our favorites.

Recommended Microphones

Recommended Headphones

Podcast Recording Platforms

Podcast Editing Software

The Rise of Video Podcasts

Traditionally, podcasts are an audio format. But many podcasters now record video alongside audio for each episode to reach a larger audience in their preferred format. Shows, such as “Ear Biscuits” with Rhett and Link are appearing on podcast platforms while also being uploaded to YouTube or other video sites. Some podcasts, such as  “Dirty John” and “The Shrink Next Door,” have even been developed into television shows.

YouTube has more than 122 million users daily, and the platform has taken notice of the increase in video podcasts. YouTube is preparing to enter the podcast space more significantly, which should increase opportunities for brand video podcasts.

YouTube isn’t alone. One of the leading podcast platforms, Spotify, has introduced video podcasts in the U.S., U.K., Australia, New Zealand and Canada. Spotify has over 133 million monthly active users, adding a large potential audience for any brand expanding its podcast strategy to include video.

5 Most Common Mistakes in Launching a Brand Podcast

Launching a brand podcast requires the right strategy and a team of specialists working together to make sure every task is executed well. In our experience as B2B podcast producers, these are the mistakes we see most often.

Insufficient Planning

A plan is essential to the success of your podcast. Figure out your why, who, what, where and how. Why are you starting this podcast? Who is it for? What do you want to achieve with this podcast? Where do you plan to distribute it? How will you distribute it?

Who is responsible for each step in the process? What safeguards are in place to ensure podcasts represent the brand and its values? Who is monitoring the process and helping the team overcome obstacles?

Generic Concept

You need to have a niche! Having a podcast without a specific topic or personality makes it harder to reach the target audience that’ll find your content valuable. Let’s say you want to do a podcast on the future of work. That’s a start, but it’s not specific enough. Are you talking about remote work? Workplace technology? Culture? Those are just some of the subcategories. When people come to your podcast, they want to know what they are getting each time.

Annoying Audio

As Prezi Editorial Director Lorraine Lee says: “Many people will forgive bad cameras, but they will not forgive bad audio.”

It is essential that the podcast host sounds as clear as possible, and your goal is to sound as if you are actually in the heads of the listeners. You’ve got to avoid that background air conditioner hum, barking dogs and desktop notifications.

Poor microphone technique, such as popping sounds as you speak, reminds your listeners that you are speaking into a microphone rather than directly to them. “Bad” audio distracts from the message.

A quality microphone, a quiet recording environment and a proper recording platform will solve 75% of your audio problems. Riverside, yes. Zoom, no.

Delayed Launch

Your podcast launch can be hampered by other business priorities, technical or staffing issues, or because people are missing deadlines. The best way to handle delays is to avoid them in the first place.  Gather a team of professionals with clearly defined responsibilities that cover each step of the podcast production process.

Inconsistent Promotion and Marketing

People won’t find your company’s podcast if they don’t know it exists. You need to treat your podcast like any other marketing initiative. Create a marketing strategy that includes engaging promotional and social content that people can share to gain more awareness. Budget for advertising. Consistency is also important, both in your podcast publishing schedule and in promoting its existence.

Should You Start a Brand Podcast?

Podcasts can be a powerful platform for B2B companies looking to reach their audience in new ways. But doing them well requires more resources than many marketers initially realize.

Spend some time thinking through your creative concept, clarifying your ideal listener, and mapping out a realistic plan and budget for promotion. When you can answer those questions, you’ll be well on your way to success.

Thought Leaders Are Market Leaders.

Ready to see how a podcast can drive growth for your firm? Schedule a brief consultation and learn how our framework can help you:

  • Develop your reputation for thought leadership.
  • Fuel your ABM and demand gen with differentiated content.
  • Strengthen your employer branding by telling the stories of the people who power your company.