B2B podcasting typically refers to when a B2B business produces a podcast as part of its marketing strategy in order to build trust and credibility with its core customers. But B2B podcasting doesn’t always have to revolve around production.
It can also consist of podcast guesting where leaders of B2B businesses guest on existing podcasts in their industry that their ideal customers already listen to.
There are pros and cons to both of these strategies, and which of the two is best really depends on your ultimate goals as a business and what your team can realistically execute.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through the differences between producing a B2B podcast and guesting on B2B podcasts so you can easily determine which channel is best for your company.
If you’d rather listen to this article instead, check out this episode of Brands that Podcast to learn more about the 4 different podcasting strategies for business.
Before we get into the specifics of B2B podcasting, let’s talk about why you should even consider this as a marketing and brand-building strategy for your business.
Audio is one of the most powerful ways to connect with ideal customers on a deeper level. With podcasting, you can be in someone’s ear for 30+ minutes versus having to compete for 5-10 seconds of their attention on social media. Podcasting also gives you the opportunity to present yourself and your brand as a leader and expert in your industry, which helps more people know who you are and trust what you do.
It’s also predicted there will be around 424 million podcast listeners worldwide by the end of 2022, which means there’s an increasing number of opportunities for you to build and/or reach a loyal audience.
The time to start is now!
Let’s figure out which of the two methods, production or guesting, is going to work best for your B2B business.
First things first, you need to determine what your goals are. What are you trying to get out of B2B podcasting? What does success look like for your brand if you were to invest in this strategy?
Success for B2B podcast production could be:
Success for B2B podcast guesting could be:
Your goals for B2B podcasting don’t necessarily have to be bound to these examples. But it is important to determine what you’re trying to accomplish in order for you to decide which strategy is best for your brand.
Next, you’ll want to determine your level of commitment.
How much time and money are you willing to dedicate to B2B podcasting? Both producing a podcast and guesting on podcasts come with their own costs (whether it be money, time, or both.)
If you’re considering producing a B2B podcast, you’ll want to think about the creative process behind defining your show, the time it takes to book and manage guests (if interview style), production time and budget, plus marketing time and budget to promote and grow your show. Will your team realistically be able to record and edit episodes on a consistent basis, manage guests, and repurpose content from each episode to share on your social channels?
If you’re considering guesting on B2B podcasts, you’ll want to think about the time it takes to research and properly pitch all the shows you want to guest on. Does your internal communications or PR team have the bandwidth to dedicate themselves to a highly personalized outreach strategy? If not, are you willing to hire a podcast PR agency or a booking agency?
For a deeper dive into production vs. guesting and how to pick the right path for your brand, check out this guide.
Now that you have your goals defined and your level of commitment outlined, let’s talk about how to successfully execute either of these two B2B podcasting strategies.
Starting a podcast can feel daunting, but it really is the best way to build and own your audience. Here are our top tips for starting a B2B podcast:
Rather than researching their podcast competitors and talking to ideal about their pain points, many companies skip the creative strategy altogether and end up with a lookalike show that doesn’t stand out in the feed.
That’s why it’s crucial you spend your time evaluating 20 to 30 shows in your space and talking to at least 10 to 30 of your happiest customers to craft your position in the space.
After you’re done with your creative strategy and feel strongly about your positioning in the podcast ecosystem, you’ll want to decide on the style of your show.
Define these elements:
Pro tip: We recommend publishing once a week to build momentum.
You’ll want to pick a host who is a subject matter expert on the topic you want to cover.
Why? Because they’re going to ask the right questions, understand the audience, and have more engaging dialogue because they’ll be comfortable pushing back, disagreeing, or elaborating with guests.
It’s also key that they have a flexible schedule to fit in recordings and are willing to commit to hosting for the long haul. The last thing you want is your host to bail on the show two months after launch forcing you to find someone else to take over.
95% of the work that goes into creating a great show happens behind the scenes, which is why it’s important to have a strong production framework.
We recommend creating a repository of episode information, including:
If you’re managing your show internally, you’ll also want to use a project management tool to build out repeating tasks for your team (i.e. booking guests, creating prep guides, editing audio, creating marketing content, etc.)
The more episodes you have ready to go before launch, the easier it will be to stay true to your publishing cadence.
This will ensure you’re ahead of any inevitable hiccups like guest reschedules, content swaps, holidays, sick days, etc. You’ll have plenty of episodes in the pipeline to help accommodate those gaps.
For a full guide on starting a podcast for your business, check out this episode of Brands that Podcast.
If you’d rather leverage existing audiences, let’s talk about how you would successfully execute a podcast guesting strategy, or what we like to call, a podcast tour.
First, you want to define what you’re best in the world at, who that benefits, and whether or not you’re the right person to tell that story.
Hosts want to bring on guests who have been in the audience’s shoes, experienced the same struggles (or triumphs), and can share unique methodologies or insights that will help their audience level up their careers, lives, relationships, etc.
Is this you? Your CEO? CMO? CFO?
Now that you have your spokesperson figured out, you want to define the topics you have complete domain expertise in and your spicy POVs. Spicy doesn’t always mean controversial. It means you have a unique take or method that will give the audience a different perspective.
We like to use either Listen Notes or Rephonic to search for industry-specific shows because they allow you to filter by category and give you more in-depth show information so you know who to pitch and what types of guests they like to bring on.
Aim for a prospect list of about 50-100 shows.
First, look for all the podcasts that directly target your ideal audience (i.e marketing shows for marketers), and then supplement your list with "adjacent" shows that indirectly target that audience and cover topics you're passionate about (i.e. SEO).
The key to a successful pitch is the amount of time and effort you put into personalizing your message to the host. In other words, this isn’t a copy-paste type of outreach. It really is something you have to dedicate your time to and go slow.
First things first, make sure you actually listen to a few episodes of the shows you're pitching. This is the most common mistake we see in podcast guesting outreach. Imagine pitching a show that doesn’t even follow an interview format!
Next, explain who you are and what value you bring to the audience.
Share your background (1-2 sentences max), your expertise, any brag-worthy accomplishments, and what topics you can talk about that will bring value to the host’s audience. We like to call these your “hooks”.
We typically recommend you share 3-5 hooks per pitch that are highly personalized for each podcast you want to guest on. Present each hook as if you’re pitching an episode idea. Give them a catchy name along with a brief description of the topic and the value for the listener.
And finally, add a 5-Minute Favor.
Think of this as any small act of kindness you can do for the host to help boost their show or promote their business.
You want to show the host you really do care about their show and its success. Another reason why it’s crucial to listen to the podcast before you pitch it: you want to know what’s important to them and how you can support them in those areas.
Just because a host didn’t respond to your original pitch doesn’t mean they’re not interested. You might have caught them on vacation or during a busy period of their lives. Or they might have forgotten to respond.
That's why follow-ups are key.
The personalization continues in your follow-ups too. Did they release a new book? Did their business secure big funding? Did they reach a podcasting milestone?
Find something personal you can start your follow-ups with that will grab the host’s attention right away.
If you got a yes from a host, congrats!
Typically, the host will share a Calendly link or preferred recording dates you can pick from. At this point, you should also share your media kit, including:
Your goals are defined, your strategy is set, and you’re armed with the simple steps to execute your B2B podcasting strategy. Whether you chose production or guesting, you can walk away knowing that both strategies are great for raising awareness of your brand, building trust with your ideal audience, and staying top of mind.