In the wake of WFH, podcasts are growing fast. And this shows no signs of slowing down. But how can you make them work effectively for you? And what exactly does a good podcast look like? The team behind team behind Amdocs’ Webby nominated award share their insights.
According to eMarketer, the US is the world leader for podcast consumption; and 40% of the population are monthly listeners. In the UK, its rise as a medium has been meteoric, growing from 13.3 million listeners in 2019 to 21.2 million in 2022. By 2024, global podcast consumption is expected to reach over half a billion people. So, there’s clearly not just a present audience for the medium, but a burgeoning one.
Many businesses will have conducted B2B webinars and found, over time, how to make them a valuable investment. Podcasts are similar, but different in some crucial ways. It’s a more intimate way to showcase the thinking behind your business, the personalities, and build loyalty that’s hard to generate through other marketing channels. A successful podcast can showcase a business’ strong leadership to both current customers and prospects. It can function as a lead gen tool for the marketing department and strengthen the great intangible of ‘brand awareness’. If your leadership is the podcast host, it can also galvanise staff who suddenly recognise their voices in the lift, understand their thinking and can be proud of their employer’s connections with innovative companies and how it is being portrayed to the outside world.
However, there are clear needs for there to be an underlying strategy and raison d’être to invest in creating a podcast series. There also needs to be an awareness of the tactics and resources available to ensure it doesn’t just die in the shadows, but is something that will be seen, heard and add value to businesses of any size in any sector.
Amdocs Technology’s own learnings and expertise from creating a successful B2B podcast have seen it grow from 100 to 7000 downloads each week, and we’ve continued to evolve it through four ‘seasons’ of iterating the creation of interesting, relevant and entertaining content. Content doesn’t exist in a vacuum, and having a podcast doesn’t guarantee an audience, but businesses can future proof against failure when it comes to creating snackable, best-practice podcast content.
1. How to make your podcast count
The best podcasts, whether aimed at consumers or businesses, are focussed on sharing fresh expertise and insight or stories that people haven’t heard before. The first question must be, what’s the new story being told to the market and who is best suited to tell it? It’s relatively easy to create an hour-long segment pontificating on use cases for AI, but it’s much harder to ensure it’s useful to listeners. At Amdocs Technology, we have core areas of expertise around tech, monetisation, network and digitisation. But in order to create a lasting format, we knew the right thing to do was to source credible, technological leaders, third party experts in their various fields of technology.
We then created an interview series called the ‘Future of Tech’. Whilst our own experts would have been capable of building out a series of insights, we also wanted to ensure meaningful value for listeners with expertise sourced from across the whole tech ecosystem. We decided the best person to host and drive these industry leading interviews was our president, Avishai Sharlin, as an ideally suited outlet for him to showcase his leadership to the market.
The last thing listeners want from a podcast is navel gazing, or a company simply using it as an extension of its marketing strategy. A podcast shouldn’t materialise from KPIs, but KP-whys: what are you telling the market, why do they need to hear it, and how can you ensure longevity? The time and resource involved in creating a podcast, which admittedly is low-cost but high on time investment in particular, means you should endeavour to create a format that stands the test of time. Like the pilot episode of a TV show, even the first podcast should be something you can replicate long into the future, but only once you’ve established an MO and reason for creating it.
We decided that our goal was relatively simple: to meet senior, seasoned people in the tech industry, and give a backdrop to their vision, and philosophies, in addition to gleaning their insight on the given topics confronting the future of technology. In this way, we lay the foundation for our podcast to have maximum impact to the most people it could in our target audience, something everyone beginning a B2B podcast should consider. The balance between too technical and not technical enough is also a key consideration for a B2B podcast and something which, in the end, is ultimately dependent on the audience you’re trying to reach.
2. Test and learn
Once you’ve decided who your experts will be (internal or otherwise) and what topics will add value to an audience, it’s also critical to evolve as you learn what works and what doesn’t. To build on the above points, whilst your initial objectives should be fixed, everything else should be moveable and malleable to ensure you’re iterating what you learn as-you-go. For us, early learnings included that speaking tech with technical experts meant that it’s very easy to fall down a rabbit hole of detail and – potentially – jargon that will put off listeners.
Given short attention spans, it doesn’t take long for audiences to switch off your podcast and go somewhere else. With this in mind, we took a less formal approach to hosting, making it more like a chat with an old friend, and pulling conversations and interviews back from the brink of becoming too complex. Don’t forget, people can access and listen to podcasts on the go from a variety of locations through their devices. So, in the ‘jungle’ of available podcasts, we quickly established what our tone should be, to help meet our initial objective of sharing valuable insight on the Future of Tech.
We open with more personal questions about people’s roles and interests, before moving onto the trickier questions, to build rapport and ensure we understand the person behind the expertise. One small example, we decided early on to share questions in advance, to reassure the guest and ensure they could prepare fully, but this meant the recording process had to be mindful of becoming too ‘rehearsed’.
3. Have a plan to take it to market
Finally, whilst a B2B podcast can’t be a copy and pasted extension of marketing, it does need a marketing plan behind it. For many, creating it and publishing it mark the end of ‘making a podcast’. But given the number of available podcasts often covering similar topics, it’s a must to build a bridge to the intended audience. This audience should have been clearly defined by step one, so consider where your audience is and the best ways to get in front of them.
For companies, this is frequently a social strategy geared towards businesses. So paid LinkedIn activity, with its targeting capabilities on job level and industry type, can be a good strategy to boost awareness. It should also be shared on any other channels your business may have, beginning with your website, and ideally tied to blog posts/updates on what an episode may have covered and who the guest is. Discussions with any relevant guests around cross-promotion can lead to fruitful visibility without doubling up on outreach.
Ultimately – having a podcast isn’t for everyone, but if you’ve read through this article and haven’t found a reason not to do one, then it’s likely something that could be fruitful for your business. As long as you have a clear goal, don’t sell, ensure you’re sharing actual insight and expertise, and then pushing it appropriately on relevant platforms.
Done correctly, we’ve found it to be an amazing tool for improving customer relationships even further, reaching new people, and ensuring that the skills and knowledge we’ve built up over our years in business aren’t siloed away just for us. The biggest challenge for podcasts? How to measure success. It’s tricky to track metrics for podcasts, beyond mere ‘listens’, so it’s important to set internal benchmarks of what success looks like. For us, we knew our podcast was making waves, when we had high quality contacts calling us to be on the show.
We set a high bar of what success looked like, and by implementing the above learnings along the way, we’ve achieved over 100,000 downloads, have 60% of our Spotify audience listening to over half of long episodes, have stimulated inbound leads over new relationships and partnerships, and given a voice to diverse leaders across the tech space. Overall, our podcast has created an external source of B2B leadership and insight which, up until now, had been a path Amdocs had not yet taken and – it enabled us to lead the conversation around tech and innovation without talking about Amdocs Technology’s solutions.
The Amdocs Technology podcasts including Future of Tech can be found on all podcast apps: Apple, Spotify and Google.