B2B marketers are still finding it challenging to deliver creative, engaging content. A recent survey found that 48% of B2B decision makers found marketing content boring, or not creative. Only 22% said they found marketing content “inspiring.”
Compounding the problem, people’s attention spans for written content is on the decline. Research shows Americans are spending an average of just 15 minutes a day reading.
One promising channel for B2B content? Podcasting. According to a LinkedIn survey, 44% of senior-level decision makers specifically make time to listen to podcasts. And research shows the majority of podcast listeners consume whole episodes — 30 minutes or more — in one sitting.
Tech giant SAP wanted to raise awareness of their brand and establish thought leadership with their target audience of CTOs, CIOs, and technology managers. With B2B decision makers (and consumers in general) craving more inspiring and on-demand content, a podcast was the ideal channel to reach that target audience and spark in-depth engagement.
To turn SAP’s vision for C-suite thought leadership into reality, they worked with TopRank Marketing to produce six pilot episodes of the Tech Unknown Podcast. Each episode featured a long-form interview with an industry thought leader and was hosted by a tech expert.
The first six episodes beat industry benchmarks for average downloads within 30 days, activated influencers, earned millions of impressions, and opened the door for unique content repurposing opportunities.
Creating a B2B Podcast: From Branding to Amplification
Podcasts can potentially engage a listener for hours. But getting business people to listen in the first place can be challenging. B2B podcasts need a memorable visual, a great tagline, and compelling guests to earn that initial click.
Branding: Into the Tech Unknown
SAP and TopRank Marketing worked together to establish a distinctive brand for the podcast and secure a host highly relevant to SAP’s target audience: Technology futurist and brand expert Tamara McCleary.
Strategy: Content Planning & Creation
TopRank Marketing identified influencers for each episode with reach, relevance, and insight that would appeal to technology leaders.
We conducted live interviews with Tamara and our featured influencer guests to encourage in-depth exploration of the subject matter, then edited for quality and clarity.
Launch: Publication & Amplification
To make sure the podcast found its target audience, we used an integrated mix of content marketing tactics including:
- Podcast Syndication
- Influencer Amplification
- SEO-Optimized Content (e.g. episode pages and blog content)
- Brand Social Media Amplification
The Results: A Stellar Debut and Beyond
The combination of strategically-created, compelling content and built-in amplification is a winning one. According to podcast platform Libsyn, the benchmark for downloads in a new podcast’s first 30 days is 142. The Tech Unknown Podcast beat that benchmark by 20%. Currently, the total download count is nearly 1,800 and counting.
Even better, whenever a new episode is launched, every previous episode gets new downloads. With B2B podcasts, people don’t just listen to a single episode. They explore the whole series, keeping the content evergreen.
Our influencers were eager to share their episodes as well, racking up millions of impressions in their social media networks. Since these experts were selected for their influence with SAP’s target audience, these social shares drove relevant traffic to the podcast across syndication platforms, including episode pages and blog content on SAP’s website.
Other industry influencers who were unaffiliated with the project also shared the podcast, further extending SAP’s reach and raising brand awareness.
Tech Unknown Podcast Results:
- 20% over industry benchmarks for 30-day downloads
- 13 million social media impressions
- 60+ influencer shares in the first 120 days
- 2,400 visits to the episode landing pages
- 104% increase in time-on-page compared to the brand’s average
Repurposing Content to Extend Value
In the process of creating six half-hour episodes, we identified an opportunity to get even more value from the content. We knew that a stand-alone text asset could expand the campaign further by:
- Creating extra value from content cut for time
- Extending the reach of Tech Unknown beyond the podcast audience
- Further boosting visibility of the podcast for potential listeners
- Re-activating influencers and co-creating new content
The result: The Tales from Tech Unknown eBook. The eBook features highlighted stories from each episode, with a new introduction from Tamara McCleary.
The Tales from Tech Unknown eBook.
With the success of the first season of the Tech Unknown Podcast, SAP is eager to continue building on their established audience, engaging more influencers, and continuing to promote their thought leadership and boost awareness. The second season of the Tech Unknown Podcast is currently in production.
While podcasts are hardly a new content channel, B2B businesses are now beginning to capitalize on their potential. TopRank Marketing has shown that a strategic approach to podcasting, including content planning, influencer co-creation, and ongoing amplification, can help B2B brands achieve and exceed their reach and engagement goals with their most valuable audiences.