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B2B podcasts: count your meetings, not your downloads

January 14, 2020 · By · 3.4 minutes to read

2019 was a breakthrough year for podcasting. There were 800,000 active podcasts, 30 million episodes in 100 languages, and nearly 250,000 new debut shows. The growth is projected to continue its trajectory, with big brands like Apple, Spotify, Netflix, and Google all investing in this popular medium.

If you are a business, how can you take advantage of this boom? Reports from Edison Research, PwC, and the BBC have shown that podcasts are highly engaging and drive positive brand association, making them optimal targets for advertisers. There are a lot of services and advice for podcast promotion, growth hacking your listenership, and matching advertisers to the right podcasts.

What hasn’t been talked about at all is how podcasts can help brand and business leaders in a B2B way, beyond just advertising and media. In this article, we will look at two case studies from leading brands, taken from the book “Podcasting for Leaders” by Pikkal & Co.

Dell

Dell has four brand original podcasts, two of which are produced by Pacific Content (Trailblazers and AI: Hype vs Reality).

Most people know Dell for their personal computers and electronics. I have heard ads for the latest Dell laptop, positioned as the ultimate binge-watching gadget, on various podcasts I tune in to. But for the leaders at Dell Technologies, they are concerned with Digital Transformation and the future, not how many laptops are sold. That is why the company has invested in four podcasts, all around the topics of technology and change.

The beauty of podcasts is that they are conversations at scale. The first episode of The Next Horizon features John Roese, President and CTO of Products and Operations at Dell Technologies, talking about transforming data management. Thanks to their podcast, Dell can now amplify the insights of their leaders and create thought leadership for their brand. In Luminaries podcast, Dell partners, such as McLaren Technology Group, are featured sharing their cutting-age technology. This podcast becomes a form of showcasing client success.

It also helps Dell strengthen relationships with partners through these meaningful conversations. If you are a business looking at podcasting, count these meetings, not the listenership.

Netflix

As a B2C company, Netflix has over a dozen podcasts dedicated to its original series (The Crown, The Witcher, Orange is the New Black, etc) to deepen engagement with fan communities. Netflix wants to sustain audience attention beyond binge-watching video content, which burns through quickly.

We are Netflix” stands out from the other Netflix podcasts as a B2B podcast to attract talent and showcase work culture of the company. The call to action of this podcast is to visit Netflix’s career site. Whether you’re a huge MNC or an early stage startup, podcast conversations can help to reduce your hiring costs. An ad on a job search site can reach thousands of people, but lengthy job descriptions do not tell the story of what it is like to work for a company. This is when podcasts can fill the gap by sharing the stories of employees and the vision of leaders to attract aligned talents.

A different metric

Podcasting is a powerful tool. But most leaders have not recognized the potential of this format for their businesses. Building brand original podcasts can help to build authority and community to sell, recruit, and influence. Wide audience reach only matters to advertisers. We need a different metrics for measuring the impact of business development.

Unless you want to sell ads, it is much more worthwhile to build your podcast around growing your ecosystem and thought leadership. Talk about topics within your industry that you encounter everyday. Gather your partners and leaders to have a conversation. Show what your company cares about and why you are different. This is how you start a B2B podcast for leaders. Count the meetings and aligned conversations, not the downloads.

In summary:

—Yi Jing Fly is Podcast and Content Manager at Pikkal & Co, a Brand Storytelling Consultancy based in Singapore. She is co-author of “Podcasting for Leaders” from Pikkal, a playbook on the podcast market with 30 case studies of brand original leadership podcasts and analysis of their business objectives.

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