More people are choosing to step away from the screen and dive into on-demand audio. According to Ofcom, around 7.1 million people in the UK now listen to podcasts each week. That’s one in eight people and is an increase of 24% over the past year. And more businesses are using this engaging format to build their brand, showcase their expertise and also support internal education and recruitment.In 2019, of the 25 largest Fortune 500 companies, 17 (68 percent) hosted their own podcasts on their corporate websites. We caught up with Jake Hatt,audio-visual expert and Embrace collaborator, to discuss the format’s plus points and pitfalls.

What are the benefits of podcasting as part of a B2B marketing strategy?<strong
I think the biggest benefit is the accessibility, because podcasts essentially allow you access to a mobile market. It’s like the new radio because people can listen to them anywhere and everywhere. As a medium it’s extremely consumable in a way that video isn’t because listeners are not tied to the screen. Another benefit is that it can be repurposed into lots of other different mediums. You can translate it into a blog, you can even translate it into video, for example creating a shorter version and adding graphics.

Podcasts allow you to condense lots of information into a very digestible medium. You can bring in seasoned experts remotely – they don’t necessarily need to be in the same space, they can be anywhere in the world – and compile lots of information in the one space in an engaging way. Finally, it’s affordable. It’s much less expensive than video.

Why get support with your podcast rather than doing it yourself?It’s really important to have a third party monitor during the recording who is just sitting muted off air and listening in, to offer both technical advice and content advice in case something doesn’t mesh up, that wouldn’t work in the edit, or in case the conversation is going off topic.

Often when people are talking, they can’t remember what they’ve just said. The conversation happens naturally and you can’t backtrack. But if an informed listener is monitoring it, they can provide feedback and help guide the conversation if necessary. It’s also just useful to have a person there to provide support.

But I think the most important element is in post-production. You can really change the standard of quality form a self-recorded file that sounds poor. If you go for a proper post-production process you can remaster the audio, you can add a proper introduction and a jingle at the beginning and end, so you brand and package up the podcast properly. Also you need an editor to go through the whole file and take out the gaps the ‘ums’ and ‘aahs’ and any little errors that you can squish.

What’s the most common technical issue people run into when making a podcast?
It’s poor quality audio. You need to consider the technical side and make sure that the internet connection is adequate for the audio quality to be good enough for the user to actually want to listen to. Often the temptation is just to do the podcast on Teams or Zoom, but they compress they audio so that it can be streamed most efficiently, so you often get quite a tinny, nasty quality. We use an application called Zencastr, which is the preferred software for podcasters. It doesn’t compress the audio so you get a far higher quality output.

Do you envisage podcasts and audio marketing becoming more important in the future?
I think yes, absolutely. One reason for that is how affordable the medium is to produce, but also it’s very easy for audio advertising to be coupled with podcasts, and this allows brands to tag on to them to create exposure. Podcasts with high engagement become valuable to other brands, which then pay to have their product marketing on there.That’s what has actually fuelled the podcasting genre – that brands have found it’s an extremely useful and quick way of accessing a lot of people

That’s going to continue to drive podcasts as a very popular and adaptable medium. But the main thing is the flexibility of it – it can be used on any platform. Audio is so ubiquitous and also emotive – people engage with audio immediately, just like music. It really appeals in the current climate and in the way people engage with content.

If you’d like to chat about podcasting as part of your B2B marketing strategy, drop me a line