In this bonus episode of Insider Interviews, I’m not interviewing anyone. I’m having a brisk 20-minute conversation with Julie Livingston of Want Leverage Communication, discussing the art and value of adding personality to your B2B content — and especially to your company podcast. Taken from Julie’s LinkedIn show, “PR Patter,” these are some of the tips I shared for infusing B2B content with personality and approachability — as your best “never knew what hit ‘em” way to appeal to prospects.
I hope you’ll listen to (or watch) the full episode for the details, but here’s the headline:
“People buy from people they like” (and also gets you more “likes”!)
You’ll learn why humanizing a brand and its executives helps create a better connection with the audience — or prospects. Then we’ll discuss the differences between branded podcasts and B2B podcasts, adding personality, using storytelling, getting good guest …and getting the most out of your host… and even simple tech tips for putting your business in its best light.
Remember, there’s a time and a place for sales brochures, and for leveraging audio for technical explanations. But that place is not your podcast. So:
There are great lessons on what drives purchases from an emotional perspective. See this presentation by Binet and Fields on the Principles of B2B Marketing. For my part, I’m not speaking to what drives a B2B buyer — like “fear of losing one’s job” or “fear of missing out”. I’m speaking about the fear of not being oneself. Or rather, the fear many exhibit of vulnerability in a business setting. Where’s the story? Where’s the humor? Where’s the human side? That is what we buy when we feel comfortable with someone. And that is what B2B podcasts can stand to offer a little more of.
Branded or B2B?
Well, it’s kind of a Venn diagram. Your branded podcast can be for B2B purposes, but it’s often more story-driven content that could easily be B2C — or B2B2C! There are great companies that specialize in crafting endearment of a brand wrapped in a Trojan Horse of great storytelling. I’m all for that. Think the beloved Trader Joe’s show. Or Trailblazers with Walter Isaacson, which is a BTYB from Dell. There’s a reason iHeartMedia just announced Ruby, a studio dedicated to creating branded podcasts, so go on in; the water’s great!
This POV is more focused on what I see as the traditional B2B audio content that is courting business customers, most frequently done as an interview to inform, and hopefully entertain — or “edutain.”
Know your why — and your what:
So, just as I ask all my podcast development clients (did I mention I train companies in launching their B2B podcast?): why do you want to start a podcast? And what’s in it for me as a listener? Those answers will inform the rest of your strategy. Whatever that is, you can afford to make it compelling!
If you can’t seat the best spokesperson who may be more junior but effervescent, you can train the bigger brass to be likeable and mic-able. And PS: that begins with having a good mic!
And how will you make your guests shine? Because frequently you’ll seat your prospects or customers, so you’ll definitely want to put them in their best light. That takes preparation. Just like my favorite joke about the skeleton who walks into a bar and asks for a drink… and a mop. (Think about it.)
Ask your guests for what they’d most like to discuss…but come prepared with personal insights that will humanize them as well in conversation. That’s never to say embarrass anyone; but a little disarming can be fun and delightful to your guests and the listeners. You’ll often find me motivated to sing to my guests. (Yes, I illustrate that in this bonus episode. Why it’s called a bonus.)
Do understand the value(s) of creating a B2B podcast
Yes, podcasts are great for communicating in a personal way that can explain more complicated ideas, or for reaching your customers even if they’re out for a walk. But given a sea of five million podcasts out there, it’s not the listens or “counts” that count, but how you spin, slice and dice the content. Remember that this podcasting is just another form of your sales collateral. Then, since you’ll be creating some form of show notes or a transcript – and do consider leveraging AI to help you turn your transcription into good show notes and social media posts: like Swell AI, Podium, Listener.fm or Capsho, who spoke with me in Insider Interviews Episode 5 — then take your show notes and turn them into a blog post for your site or social. And so on.
And create promo spots or clips to share and post, via a service like Headliner. <– promo code in that link for free two weeks, FYI.
Encourage your guests to share on their site and social too. (Guilt is also a good incentive. Ask Mrs. Fields about reciprocity marketing!) And once you’ve proven your executive / host has the power of personality, they’ll be invited to guest on other shows! It’s a flywheel.
Clearly, everything is a reflection of your brand so how much you employ humor or human touches might require a balancing act: Your podcast might be the place where you can be a little less serious, and perhaps your site is where you’re a little bit more formal. But you do express the personality of your company and your executives. They’re your megaphone. They should wield the power of personality.
This episode is packed with insights and practical tips to help you create a successful B2B podcast. But you may want help beyond these 20 or so minutes, so please ask about my No More Bored Rooms Podcast Launch Training! firstname.lastname@example.org
Those tracking the uptake of podcasting, such as Triton, Edison Research and Podtrac, have encouraged advertisers to embrace the medium, especially since it hit critical mass of 100 million+ monthly listeners! But what about brands who want their OWN podcast for B2B purposes?
In 15 minutes I’ll walk you through the WHY and the HOW of creating a B2B podcast for your company. And if you’re still overwhelmed let me know and we’ll handle it all for you! Here’s the scoop and the Episode 5 topline:
Why a B2B podcast?
You have to be everywhere your customer may be, including in their ears, even if you’re speaking to a vendor, an agency or a potential new hire. “Picture a company’s most savvy seller whispering about a value proposition in the prospect’s ear”!
Humanize an executive to drive trust and transparency
Leverage the best platform for explanatory journalism!
Attract employees by painting an audio picture of the company environment, like Xandr did with their Unsponsored Content show, or provide a thought-provoking platform to spotlight divisions or clients, such as the Floor 9 podcast from IPG Media Lab does!
Expectations should be managed: this is a longtail marketing tactic with a limited pool of listeners
Start with the strategy! WHO do you want to have listen? WHY? WHAT with your content me? As Gimlet Managing Director, Matt Lieber, was cited, “What makes for a successful branded podcast are a lot of the things that make for a successful podcast period. If a brand wants to make a commercial that’s 20 minutes long, it will fail.”
Most B2B podcasts are interview style, except for those companies who may have a high-profile personality at the helm. (Think Gary Vee of Vayner Media!)
What informative content is endemic to your brand’s expertise? (Example: ReWork podcast on productivity, from SaaS platform Basecamp).
How will you grow your podcast to help you grow business? (Example: The Wealth Without Wall Street team invites high profile guests , like Pat Flynn, in their work wheelhouse, and appear as guests on other podcasts, too like this episode of Dave Jackson’s School of Podcasting!)
It starts with your microphone! There are lots of suggestions you can easily Google, but here’s a snapshot:
You might have had a studio at your offices…even an editor… but as we #WFH think bedroom! Think closet! Think where can you find sound absorption…Listen to Shelly Palmer’s advice to me and the sound difference in Epi 2 of Insider Interviews. You can record on an editing platform like Squadcast or Descript… then you’ll need to UPLOAD the audio file to a hosting site. If you want to try Blubrry use MOSSAPPEAL as your promo code for a discount, or look at Libsyn, BuzzSprout, Captivate and more.
..MARKET THYSELF! More hints and suggestions are in this 15 minute dump and download, from my experience to you.
And again, I’m here to help. If you’re in the media/marketing world with a senior executive who is guest-worthy please drop me a line or reach out on social media! If you want help creating your own podcast from scratch, happy to exec produce or host! LMK!