The Complete Guide To B2B Podcasting

  • Author: Rich McIver, Co-Founder of  FunnelUp.
  • Last Updated: December 27, 2017.
  • Read Time: 18 minutes.

I believe podcasting is the biggest B2B marketing opportunity for 2018.

Podcast listeners as a group are large (67M Americans), affluent (16% over $150k/yr), and educated (57% undergrad). Moreover, given the nature of the medium, listeners are self-selected by interest, and highly engaged with the content.

A podcast episode average listening time clocks in at over 15 minutes, versus 3 minutes for a blog post.

Affluent, Educated, Targeted and Engaged. That’s a “dream” medium with the sort of audience that B2B marketers would love to mine for leads, right?

Obviously! But truthfully, most B2B marketers aren’t even showing up in this medium.

The number of business podcasts (not to mention B2B specific podcasts) is relatively miniscule. Of the approximately 285,000 podcasts listed in iTunes, there are less than 10,000 business podcasts.

Compare that figure to the literally tens of millions of business blogs, and it’s apparent that B2B podcasting is a virtual blue ocean of opportunity.

In this article, I’m going to make the case that not only is B2B podcasting a massive, largely untapped opportunity, it is also a medium that is uniquely suited for B2B marketers to attract and nurture qualified leads.

Once I’ve outlined the opportunity, I’ll walk you through the decisions you will need to plan a show, and the important elements of execution.

So let’s get started by looking at how podcasting improves lead volume, quality, and close rate throughout a B2B funnel.

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A B2B Podcast Can Nurture Leads Throughout Your Funnel

A well-executed B2B podcast will attract highly qualified traffic ands leads into your funnel.

But the real strength of the medium may be in its ability to nurture listeners regardless of where they are in your funnel. Merely by tuning in to your podcast, listeners are more likely to move down your funnel and ultimate close.

Let’s break down how a podcast can attract and then nurture a lead at each stage in your funnel:

Top of Funnel: A niche industry-focused B2B podcast will attract highly qualified listeners. By including industry-specific keywords in your podcast title, description, and so on, your podcast will be discoverable via searches within the podcasting platform. By the very nature of your content, only highly qualified potential leads will be attracted to your podcast.

Middle of the Funnel: Via your show’s industry-focused content, your show will address customer issues and provide solutions to those problems through the lens of the products or services offered by your company. Prospective leads will begin to identify your products and services as leading solutions in the industry. Importantly, this can be done in a very subtle, “soft-sell” way, nurturing listeners until they are ready to enter the buying cycle for your products and services.

Bottom of the Funnel: The mere existence of your industry podcast will cement your brand as a leader and authority at the center of your industry. Sales calls and communications against this backdrop of built-up brand trust makes it easier for your sales teams to close new accounts.

Retention: Given podcasting listeners’ passive consumption, existing customers often continue to listen to the podcast. Written content, by contrast, is typically ignored by existing customers no longer in the buying cycle. Thus, a B2B podcast serves as a unique opportunity for businesses to continue to develop brand loyalty, customer stickiness, and provide a vehicle through which existing customers can transition into brand evangelists.

TLDR: Podcasting Is A Big Opportunity For B2B

In summary, industry-focused podcasting offers B2B businesses the unique opportunity to reach a massive (and growing) audience of highly engaged, ideal potential customers, via a channel where there is virtually no competition in most industries.

Moreover, a B2B podcast has the ability to attract highly qualified traffic into your funnel. But just as importantly, the podcast can nurture leads throughout their journey in your sales funnel, ultimately leading to a higher lead quality (and higher closing rates).

Now let’s take a look at some important decisions you’ll need to make when designing and creating a B2B podcast show.

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A B2B Podcast Should Target Ideal Customers

The first step in designing an industry-targeted B2B podcast is to identify your target audience.

You neither need nor want to create a show ranked in the top 100 most popular podcasts on iTunes. That’s a surefire way to generate poor quality leads.

Instead, your B2B podcast should uniquely target the interests of your ideal customers, to the exclusion of the general public. That might mean that there are only 50,000 or even 5,000 target potential listeners for your show.

That’s okay. In fact, that’s good. Because having clarity about your target audience allows you to more directly speak to your ideal customers, attracting them into your funnel and ultimately adding them as new customers.

Attract High Value Prospects, Not Merely Listeners

In the B2B world, a sales team’s typical drumbeat of “more leads, more leads” often drowns out the need for higher lead quality.

While there are many ways to screen low quality marketing-generated leads on the back end, targeting your podcast to only true ideal customers from the outset will dramatically improve the quality of the listeners that it attracts.

So my best advice is this: nichify.

Go deep into your niche with the show’s focus and episode topics. Don’t be afraid to talk about topics that the rest of the business world (outside of your ideal potential customer base) hasn’t heard of.

It’s no good attracting listeners who have zero probability of closing as a new account.

That said, the original sin in audio content is to be boring! So make sure your podcast is actually entertaining. Otherwise, listeners won’t tune in.

Of course, you can attract more listeners by veering off topic, including silly gimmicks, or attempting to “go broad” with content that doesn’t directly appeal to your ideal customers.

Don’t be tempted. Your B2B podcast only needs to be popular in your industry or niche, narrowly defined. It shouldn’t chase popularity in the broader world. While that may boost your listener count, it won’t translate into more quality leads or new revenue.

How To Put Together A B2B Podcast Plan

Now that you’ve considered the ideal target audience for your show, it’s time to begin planning the show’s basic structure.

Remember, a good B2B podcast should be entertaining, but should also directly target your industry or niche, narrowly defined.

So, with that in mind, let’s look at how to plan a B2B show structure.

Show Format: There are dozens of podcast show formats, from serialized fiction to roundtable comedy. But for B2B podcasts, there are essentially only a couple of formats that “work.”

B2B Podcast Format #1: “The Topical Discussion Format”

In this format, one or two hosts discuss a single industry topic in each episode.

Examples: Perpetual Traffic, The FunnelUp Show. {NEED LINKED}

B2B Podcast Format #2: “The Guest Interview Format”

In this format, the podcast host interviews a different industry guest in each episode.

Examples: Growth Everywhere, Restaurant Unstoppable. {NEED LINKED}

Both of these formats work well for B2B podcasts. Format #1 is a bit easier to execute in that you don’t need your team to consistently line up guests for the show. But Format #2 has a sort-of inherent “biz dev” advantage, in that each guest will be incentivized to share the episode with their own audience on social media, etc. In this way, your show and brand can grow by “piggybacking” on the audiences of your guests!

Either way, podcasting is a commitment that almost “requires” weekly publishing frequency. Publishing less frequently will risk listeners losing the “habit” of tuning in; plus, less than weekly frequency will generate significantly less content.

Regarding episode length, the average podcast episode is approximately 40 minutes per episode. But for business podcasts, the average episode length is significantly shorter, at 15 minutes.

Given the time constraints of most executives and senior managers — the people likely to be influential in buying decisions — it’s perfectly fine for a B2B podcast to clock in on the shorter side.Branding

Once you’ve made some basic decisions about what audience your B2B podcast will target, and decided on a basic episodic structure, it’s time to discuss branding.

In part, podcasting is an ideal B2B marketing channel because it is “long form” content. Listening to a podcast is a pretty big commitment on the part of a listener, compared to reading a blog post.

Given this, it makes sense to focus on branding when planning a B2B podcast. Here are some aspects to consider.

What’s In A Podcast Name?

A Podcast name would ideally comply with the following three guidelines:

  1. Concise: Keep it to four words or less to ensure it reads correctly in iTunes and other platforms.
  2. Discoverable: Your show name should contain a central industry keyword for discoverability on the iTunes platform, and similar platforms such as Stitcher.
  3. Branded: Strongly consider including your company’s name in the title, or at a minimum a highly branded term, as the goal of a B2B podcast is to drive awareness and authority of your brand.

Logo & Art Design

A podcast requires show art to be submitted to iTunes. Your art is often the primary identifying feature for your podcast. It’s effectively your show’s “billboard”.

B2B businesses should adhere to the following guidelines when creating their podcast art:

  1. Simplified: A listener will typically will view your iTunes art at approximately a 1/2 inch x 1/2 inch size on their phone, so nuanced details, small text, or subtle colors will detract from, not add to, your branding.
  2. Large Text: Small text will go unread and may be perceived as clutter. Use fewer, bigger words, written in sharply contrasting colors.
  3. Branded: Attempt to use consistent logos, colors and fonts from your other marketing materials to create a consistent brand experience.
  4. Personable: B2B businesses who podcast often forget to make it entertaining. Listeners will only tune in if the show entertains them. Make sure your art communicates personality and entertainment.

How To Build A Listener Audience

At this point, you have made enough high-level decisions to outline your niche industry-focused podcast. We’ll circle back to actual implementation of that outline later in the article, but for now, let’s look at how you’ll build up listeners to your new B2B podcast.

Once created, a quality B2B podcast will eventually attract a dedicated listener base.

But let’s get real, creating and running a podcast is a serious dedication of B2B marketing resources, and so if you can’t prove traction within a few months, other company leaders may question the ROI.

So let’s talk about how to start building a listener base.

The first step is to leverage your B2B brand’s existing reach. This means making sure that podcast episodes (plus an easy “subscribe” button) are included in other content materials, such as your blog.

New podcast episodes are also the ideal type of content to send out to your email list of both customers, and non-customers. The non-commercial and high-value nature of your podcast content can help nurture existing leads in your funnel, and can help turn current customers into brand evangelists.

Beyond leveraging your existing marketing reach to jumpstart your audience, a B2B podcast’s other primary source of organic growth is via searches conducted within the iTunes and similar platforms by individuals searching for relevant podcasts to listen to.

To ensure that your organization’s podcast is easily discovered, you should follow the following four guidelines:

  1. Keywords: The most important factor in iTunes discovery is keyword relevancy. If your ideal customer is looking for a new podcast to listen to, related to your industry, what keyword(s) is he/she going to search for? Make sure to include the most common industry keywords in your show description, if not name.
  2. Publishing Frequency: The iTunes rankings algorithm rewards regular publication and episode recency in its rankings. Again, I recommend you publish your podcast on a weekly basis.
  3. Podcast Specific CTAs: The iTunes algorithm rewards podcasts for more downloads, subscribers, ratings and reviews. So make sure to include “in show” CTAs, where you ask listeners to subscribe to your show, rate and review it, etc.

SEO & Lead Generation

A podcast as a stand-alone marketing activity can have unparalleled ROI in the B2B context.

But it has other “hidden advantages,” too. Specifically, a podcast can work seamlessly to build “white hat” organic links that will increase your web site’s organic SEO traffic.

Make sure to implement the following best practices to maximize your podcast’s SEO“leverage”:

Create a Robust Show-Notes Page: As part of the regular workflow of show publication, a detailed show notes page should be published on your company’s website. It should include a summary of the episode, links to download, links to any resources mentioned in the episode, etc. That way, the bulk of links garnered via the podcast will be directed to this page (on your company’s website) as opposed to a third party platform like iTunes or Stitcher.

Leverage Guests and Recommended Products or Services for Linkbuilding: Podcasts remain unique in the B2B marketplace. Consequently, the mere fact that a guest was invited onto your show, or an outside brand was mentioned on your show, carries substantially more weight in the mind of the invitee or mentioned brand than if they were mentioned on your company’s blog.

As a result, these individuals, via very minor prompting in the form of providing them a link to the show-notes page after the episode airs, will frequently link to your show notes page on their own website, plus promote it on social media. This is an easy for your business accrue high-value ”white hat,” editorially earned, in-industry, inbound links with minimal effort.

Aside from driving indirect traffic and leads via increased SEO traffic, a podcast can also directly drive leads into your marketing funnel.

Here’s an efficient way to do it: first, create or identify a list of your best “lead magnets” such as whitepapers, case studies, gated offers, and so on. Make sure your podcast host has this list.

Next, when a podcast episode touches on a topic which relates to any of these lead magnets, the podcast host can direct listeners to the lead magnet, via a “podcast-friendly” (easy to remember) URL. If you create podcast-specific URLs for these lead magnets, you can even attribute these leads directly to your podcast, however this attribution will tend to “undercount” as many listeners will navigate to the lead magnet via Google or other methods.


At this point, you understand the essential elements of creating a niche industry-focused B2B podcast.

When it comes to the actual implementation of that vision, the necessary tasks can be roughly divided into three activities: content creation, technical production, and associated marketing.

Technical Production: Technical production involves the recording, editing of audio files, and uploading to iTunes and other podcasting platforms. For an industry-targeted B2B podcast, technical production is straightforward and easily executable via outsourcing to a number of third-party specialists.

Content Creation: Content creation involves the outlining of content, securing guests, show hosting, and recording of episodes. Audiences, particularly business podcasting audiences, demand a level of content quality, organization and professionalism in delivery. The decision to insource or outsource the content creation will be situational, depending on your resources.

Associated Marketing: Associated marketing includes the steps needed to grow the show’s listener base, as well as leveraging the show to generate leads, and provide branding benefits. The associated SEO and audience building tasks may require unique skillsets that are best outsourced. Again, this is situational.

Depending on your organization’s relative strengths and availability of resources, insourcing or outsourcing may be a better fit.

Regardless of your company’s implementation approach, there are few essential implementation elements that must be considered:

Host: The host of a B2B podcast is the gas that makes the car run. A dynamic, personable host who understands the industry is the single most significant factor between a show that “works” and one that “flops.” Prioritize a person with radio or podcasting experience, or alternatively, someone who is simply gregarious yet organized, and who has a deep understanding of your company’s role within their industry. If outsourcing, ensure that the host has industry specific knowledge.

Content & Guest Sourcing: A show which utilizes guest interviews involves sourcing guests, coordinating schedules, and prepping guests who may not be “tech savvy.” Topical shows require at least minimal topical research. For both show formats, an episode outline should be constructed and generally adhered to, to give the show consistency and structure.Sound Production: The raw audio files of each episode should be mixed to improve sound quality. Intros, outros, and other sound effects may be layered in.

Syndication: The shows sound files must be hosted and syndicated to the iTunes platform, at a minimum. Many companies choose Libsyn as their audio hosting provider.

Outsourcing Options

Level 1: Outsourced Audio Production OnlyYou may choose to merely outsource your show’s audio production. Your organization designs the show, creates the branding, hosts the show, secures guests, and records episodes. The contracted production company cleans up the audio, adds in the show intro and outros, and returns a finished audio file to your team. At the very high end of this service, this outsourced provider will also create your show notes page on your company blog. Your internal marketing department would QC those processes, and complete the associated marketing tasks (e.g. link building and SEO tasks). This type of audio production service typically costs between $100 to $500 per podcast episode.

Level 2: Outsourced Turnkey PodcastThe second level of B2B podcasting outsourcing is a turnkey solution. The outsourced provider will work with your team to design and brand the show. The provider will create show art, intros and outros, the show description, and so on with branding input and ultimate decision making contributed by your marketing team. The service provider will provide an experienced host with awareness of the industry, as well secure show guests and plan and create each episode’s content. Once episodes are recorded, the service provider will handle the audio production, syndication on iTunes, create SEO-friendly show notes pages, and execute related link building, SEO and promotional tasks. A fully outsourced turnkey B2B podcast will typically cost between $6,000 to $12,000 per month.


If accessing a big, growing, affluent, educated, and interest segmarketed audience wasn’t enough to make the case that podcasting is the big B2B opportunity in 2018, consider that:

…the medium is ideal for the longer multi-touch sales cycles B2B’s rely upon,…it substantially improves branding and conversion rates thoughout your funnel,…it has tremendous effects for a B2B businesses’ SEO and customer retention,…and that there’s virtually no competition.

It’s clear that “first movers” who commit to creating high quality industry-focused podcasts have a massive window of opportunity.

By following the playbook outlined in this article, you have the essential building blocks necessary to craft and launch your own.

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