Podcast Appearances: A Unique Business Development Opportunity
As podcasts continue to grow in popularity, businesses are finding new ways to utilize them. Whether it’s listening to them for business strategy or industry knowledge, producing a podcast of their own, or appearing on them as a guest, many businesses are adding podcasts to their business development strategy. 3Points Account Manager Nicole Hopkins and PR Strategist Anne Riley did some further research as to why podcast appearances are a strategic way to elevate your organization’s reputation and increase brand trust.
When using media relations as a tool to build your brand, many B2B companies jump right to focusing on getting covered by the big-name, national business publications — we’re talking about the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Financial Times, etc. The reality is that if you are not an already well-established company in your respective industry, your company’s news and thought leaders won’t be high on these publications’ coverage list. What some companies don’t realize is that aside from mainstream and traditional media, there are other paths that can be equally conducive to helping build your business and brand — like podcasts.
If you haven’t been living under a rock you’ll have heard about podcasts by now. Podcasts continue to grow in popularity — in fact, 37% of the U.S. population (over age 12) listened to a podcast in the last month, which rose five percent from last year. Maybe you’ve mainly listened to them for fun (if that is the case, here are some good recommendations by the 3Points crew) or maybe you’ve tapped into them for some business guidance. If you’ve consumed them for the latter, hopefully you’ve realized there may be a business benefit to appearing on a podcast as a guest — but if not, we’ll explain some of the benefits and provide you with some tips on what to consider before agreeing to be a guest.
Why Should You Be a Guest on a Podcast?
Like the more traditional media targets of magazines, online news outlets, and TV, podcasts are an effective media avenue to get your story out to the world. Through conversation in a podcast setting, it can be easier to weave in company messaging alongside the main interview topic, versus in a written article where the journalist chooses what the story says. In this type of interview, you have the ability to influence the direction of the podcast discussion based on your answers to the host’s questions.
However, we are not saying that you should go into sales pitch mode when appearing on a podcast — quite the opposite. Rather than telling the audience the reasons why people love your product, the number of awards your product has won, or the other recognitions your product has received, you should take the opportunity to discuss larger industry happenings or new ideas, and then, if it feels like a natural tie-in, you can mention how your business fits into that landscape.
Podcasts also provide an added benefit of giving the audience a more personal view into you and your company. Sometimes the host of the podcast will build in a few more personal, fun questions, which help to build a deeper connection with the audience and, in turn, will build a better connection to your brand.
Ways Podcasts are a Business Development Opportunity
In terms of business development, the main benefit of being on a podcast is getting your brand in front of the podcast’s audience, which may be a new and broader group than you’ve previously been able to reach. According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, in 2018, businesses spent $497 million on podcast advertising. As previously mentioned, by appearing on a podcast as a guest you avoid the need to pay for advertising while reaching the same audience. It also allows for you to talk about your brand in a more natural way, without directly doing a commercial or promotion, which can sometimes be off-putting.
During the podcast interview, the conversations with the host will not only introduce your brand to new customers and foster new relationships, but also heighten your reputation and connection within the industry. Because a podcast is third-party content, it provides an extra sense of legitimacy. And if the topics you discuss have some longevity, your episode can be shared and repurposed for a longer period of time, which allows the possibility of getting more listens.
How to Evaluate a Podcast
There are quite a few components to pay attention to when searching for a podcast to be a guest on. First, you’ll want to decide if spending money to appear on a podcast is in the cards for you. Some podcasts require you to pay to participate, while others are solely looking for content and will interview guests for free. Another aspect to pay attention to is the number of listeners and downloads of the podcast (to see if it reaches a large audience) and the demographics of that audience. You can typically find this type of information on the podcast’s website or streaming platforms, but if you can’t find the audience demographics there you can reach out to the host and ask. If the audience listening to the podcast is not the same as the primary audience for your business, your appearance on the podcast may not propel your business forward.
You’ll also want to do some background research on the host to see if they are reputable, and to get an idea of who follows them. Paying attention to the past guests of the podcast and listening to several episodes before deciding if you would like to reach out to the host is also important. If you decide to move forward, this will give you a better idea of the format of the podcast and what topics it typically focuses on.
Another key factor to consider is the podcast’s process for finding and sourcing guests. In some instances you will need to email the hosts or fill out a form on the website with information as to why you and/or your company would be a good fit for their podcast — whereas others have hosts who search and reach out to potential guests on their own.
For example, if you are an early tech startup, you could target an appearance on a podcast such as Technori, which spotlights young tech startups available for investments and their missions, or Inc. Startup, where you could offer to share advice from your experience as a founder or startup. Both podcasts would be a good fit for early-stage companies looking to elevate their brand and gain exposure to a targeted audience.
While podcasts may be a new medium for you and your business, the rapid growth of the format over the years suggests that it will be a trusty mode of sharing business insights for years to come. Getting started takes some preliminary research, as with any new venture, but digging in and getting the lay of the land will put you on course for podcast success.