If you’re investing in content marketing, at some point, you’re going to ask: should we start a podcast?
For people who love to talk, the answer is almost an immediate YES.
But for the more measured marketer, there are more questions to answer.
Do we have time to do a podcast?
Is anyone going to listen?
And finally, one of the most common questions: what are we going to we talk about?
I dabbled with podcasting for my travel site, Driftyland, for about two years. The podcast was less about travel, and more of me talking in my kitchen about whatever was on my mind. I had two regular listeners. Eventually, I hit pause on the project, because despite my interest in the medium, I felt like I wasn’t providing enough value to my intended audience.
For businesses, finding topics and points of value are critical if you want your podcast to go anywhere. Anyone can record a conversation and call it a podcast, but it takes a truly innovative, creative team to cook up something special. Otherwise, it’s going to be difficult for your team, as well as your audience, to stay engaged with your material.
Choosing Podcast Topic Ideas As A B2B, SaaS, or Startup
At Lean Labs, we talk a lot about Customer-Centric Marketing. You can read more about our approach on customer-centric marketing here. Essentially, customer-centric marketing is about attracting an audience using content that answers their questions and challenges. It requires an initial investment in strategy, which you may or may not think you need, but makes all of the difference in podcasting.
You see, without a plan, your podcast is going to end up like The Driftyland Podcast. A conversation without any real direction.
However, if you look at what other content creators are doing, you can get a sense of the podcast styles that people find engaging. And you can avoid making the same mistakes I did.
Here are a few of my favorite podcast examples and ways you can repurpose the structure for your brand.
Cover A Weekly Trending Topic
Confession: I’m a politics junkie. I like hearing about the various things happening in the political world and learning about the implications. A podcast that covers this very well is the NPR Politics Podcast.
The podcast covers weekly trending topics with strong opinions, such as how federal disaster money benefits the rich or why paid family leave is gaining momentum across party lines. The content isn't for everyone, but it's not supposed to be.
Answer Customer Questions
The thing I like the most about this approach is that every podcast episode could inspire a blog article or vice versa. It could help beef up the FAQ question of your website. You can invite customers to submit questions or get on Quora and answer questions that relate to your industry.
It’s similar to what New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy does on his podcast Ask Governor Murphy.
For SaaS companies with complex functionality or frequent updates, this podcast style could be a great fit.
Dive Into A Niche Topic Paired With Influential Guests
I like the podcast I'm Afraid That, a series by Daniel Zomparelli, because it goes beyond surface level questions and discusses what causes influencers like Jenny Slate, Jordan Peele, and John Early anxiety.
It’s effective because it takes something a lot of average people struggle with (anxiety), and confronts it. The format is also successful because it provides access to inaccessible people, and makes them seem more relatable.
Use Your Subject Matter Expertise
It’s no surprise that The Tony Robbins podcast is chock full of tips and guidance for meeting your goals and being your best self. And since everyone already knows that Robbins and his team are experts in this area, there’s immediate trust when you listen to his podcast.
As a bonus, Team Tony talks to incredibly successful people, such as Philadelphia Eagles quarterback and Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles about what motivates them. If you talk to people with various careers, from different industries, you may attract people to your podcast you may not have had otherwise.
Talk About Your Industry's History
I love movie trivia, so it’s not a surprise that The Blank Check podcast made this list. The hosts, Griffin Newman and David Sims, review passion projects of famous directors, which translates to nostalgic and relatable content.
In their episode, Mars Attacks!, they reflect on their first impressions of the film as children and talk about the legendary career of director Tim Burton.
(Worth nothing I was terrified of that movie when I was a kid.)
For a business podcast, a few possible angles here could be:
- Covering memorable times or significant changes in your industry
- Reviewing the careers of influencers in your space
- A look back at your industry over the past few decades and how it's changed
If you’ve been in your respective industry for a while, there are so many podcast episodes (or even blog post ideas) you can get from this format.
Get Your Team Talking
At one of my previous agencies, we started a podcast, despite slight hesitation from our marketing team. Why? Because it was intimidating to hop on a podcast for the first time. When we started talking, however, it was much easier to ease into podcasting, and quickly found ourselves in our usual office banter.
If you have a chatty office, a podcast episode model that could be appealing is similar to The Adam Buxton Podcast, where Buxton conducts "ramble chats." A few more well-known examples are weekly television panel shows, such as The View or The Talk, which also master lively banter.
Review The Best Of
Slightly satirical shows like The Soup, hosted by Joel McHale, as well as Tosh.O, hosted by Daniel Tosh, are entertaining because they cover trending topics, as well as the best of the web that week.
While these shows get a little risque and focus on pop culture, a similar format could be great for discussing blog content, conversations in Facebook Groups, and news within your industry that week.
For example, if I wanted to repurpose this format for the Digital Marketing world, I could pull Medium articles published by influencers in the past few days, tips from weekly SEO Twitter chats, or popular Reddit threads on r/contentmarketing or r/SEO to discuss with my co-workers.
Dissect Popular Products And Services
How Did This Get Made? is a podcast about movies that are so terrible, they’re good, hosted by Paul Scheer, Jason Mantzoukas, and June Diane Raphael. In episode 208, they talk about Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance, a Lifetime movie based on the real royal relationship. The cast rips the movie apart, to the delight of a live audience.
While you don’t want to go too negative, a podcast that discusses the not-so-good products, services, ad campaigns, brand refreshes, and so forth, would be an interesting conversation to listen to.
In-Depth Customer Narratives
This American Life is one of the oldest running podcasts out there. Described as "true stories but not boring I swear," the series covers real-life, complex stories. In episode 664, The Room of Requirement, the podcast talks to people who serendipitously found unexpected items in libraries.
Anthony Bourdain's "Part Unknown" provided a similar glimpse into the day-to-day lives of people all over the globe, with colorful locations as the backdrop. There's something very appealing about personal narratives.
That's why this content marketing podcast format is perfect for companies with long-lasting customers and positive client relationships.
If you want to make this format successful, you'll want to go beyond surface level questions and get anecdotes and experiences to make the story intriguing.
Creating Awesome Podcast Content
Like any other content medium, creating a podcast is going to take work. You can’t just launch a podcast and expect it to take off on its own. Unless you’re solely creating a podcast for fun, you need to create something that’s going to align with the buyer journey and provide value to the customer. You need to invest in it.
However, creating a podcast for your B2B or startup doesn’t have to break the bank. You can start by looking at the content assets you already have, such as ebooks, case studies, and blog posts, and finding ways to repurpose those as podcast episodes. Since you’ve already developed the content, it won’t take as much to create a script based on that topic.
You can learn more about how we repurpose content for various platforms in our free repurposing guide.