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3 Lessons from Launching Hit Shows at Salesforce and HubSpot

Whether audio or — more often these days — video, B2B podcasts aren’t just a nice thing to have in your marketing arsenal anymore. They actually sit at the core of your overall marketing strategy and drive the growth of the business. 

That’s because the B2B podcast channel serves many needs. It’s a reliable source of content for your marketing team, a thought leadership megaphone for your brand, an educational, entertaining channel your audience returns to again and again, and for the skeptics out there — a podcast is also a growth engine that drives revenue.  

But admittedly, it can be a little overwhelming at first. For the brands who have successfully pioneered B2B podcasting, there was no playbook when they started. Many had to learn at every turn along the curve how to execute production, how to find relevant guests, and how to roll up a podcast into the overall content marketing strategy, not to mention, the struggle to prove how a podcast’s performance contributes to the bottom line. 

Even today, if you’ve never done a podcast before, it can seem confusing, maybe even maddening when you’re just starting out. Afterall, many podcasts never get off the ground because the strategy hasn’t been mapped out. Even some shows that launch never make it to a second season; some don’t even survive the first with 75% failing after only eight episodes

To build a solid content marketing strategy around a podcast, you’re going to have to answer important questions: What are the typical goals that other B2B podcasts plan for and actually achieve? What are the KPIs to look at to prove revenue’s coming from the channel? Is there even a model for measuring success as a podcast graduates through different stages of development?

If we listened to your podcast, would you know? You would if you used Casted

Introducing How B2B Podcasts Grow Up

We had those questions, too. That’s why we took a deeper look at the structure of B2B podcast growth and categorized patterns and commonalities into recognizable stages of podcast development to provide a repeatable template for strategically planning and building a show. 

The result is the B2B Podcast Maturity Curve, comprising five distinguishable stages that branded podcasts evolve through. To broaden the discussion, we present How B2B Podcasts Grow Up, a new series from our Amplified Marketing Podcast. Hosted by Casted CEO and Co-Founder Lindsay Tjepkema, episodes cover each maturity curve stage and what you can expect and plan for.   

In Episode 1, we’re looking at the first two stages that brands will work through when getting a show off the ground — Stage 1: Channel Experimentation and Stage 2: Show Creation. Let’s start with a discussion about strategy. While many brands begin hit podcasts as an experimental side project and leave the strategizing for after it’s got a season or two under its belt, that doesn’t mean you can’t start off with a solid and measurable strategy for how this channel is going to drive business for your brand — even if you and your team have never created a podcast before.  

Therefore, we thought it best to begin the series with qualified expert guidance from two well-known companies who have lived and breathed these B2B Podcast Maturity Curve stages. From Salesforce, Lindsay welcomes the creators and former hosts of the Salesforce Marketing Cloudcast, Heike Young, Megan Hostetler (Collins), Tina Rozul, and Conor Wiegmann, and from HubSpot’s early forays into podcasting, Meghan Keaney Anderson and Sam Balter join the discussion to offer insights on what to think about when strategizing how your podcast is going to feed the big-picture growth goals of your brand. 

And if you don’t know where your podcast fits on the maturity curve, take our quick assessment and enjoy the show:

Take the Quiz

Digging into Key Takeaways

For each episode, we like to highlight some key takeaways. Think of it as a podcast outline or live show notes. Here are just a few of the takeaways that really stood out to us in this episode.

Why Every Brand Needs A Podcast Right Now. The New Wave Of Marketing is Now.

Why Podcasts Fizzle Out When Marketing, Sales, and Leadership Aren’t Aligned on Goals ⭐   

Even B2B shows that eventually became hits could just as easily have faded away by stumbling through strategy in the early days. Two former hosts of the Salesforce Marketing Cloudcast, Meghan Hostetler (Collins) and Tina Rozul, quickly realized they needed to create a process plan but also be very clear about what they wanted the podcast to do… and believe it or not, ROI was not the first strategic area they defined.  

The Most Important Thing You Need to Launch Your Show? Intention ☝️  

The first step in launching a B2B podcast isn’t figuring out where you're going to get your equipment, your microphones and headphones or which editing program you’ll go with. It’s also not about securing guests, choosing a host, or even coming up with a name for the show. 

The first step is knowing your brand’s intention behind creating a podcast. You’re going to use internal resources, it’s going to take time, and you don’t want to just make it through the first few shows and hope for the best. As Tina Rozul shares in the episode, you’ve got to establish your vision, WHY you’re launching a show and what your brand wants to accomplish in that first year, the second year, five years down the road.    

Podcasting Pro-Tip — Learn from the Pros. They’ve been there, done that. 👴  

One of the best resources for a B2B company starting a podcast is to seek out those who’ve gone before you. You don’t have to blindly fumble your way through the early going. Take it from Sam Balter, former Senior Marketing Manager of Podcasts at HubSpot, who was a big part of launching many of the brand’s shows. At first, they just wanted to get a show up that would get HubSpot’s name out there, and early on, each episode showcased marketers talking with other marketers about their strategies and experiences. What is your podcast doing for your business? Book your strategy callQuickly though, Sam’s team saw the need to go beyond brand awareness and focus on gaining exposure to the C-suite, the decision makers. Sam was well aware that traditional content marketing channels didn’t reach the typical CEO. But a podcast would, and by pivoting the topics to business growth, HubSpot created the Growth Show. But you don’t have to discover these takeaways years later after you’ve launched your podcast. Sam and our other guests on this episode have already been down that road and have invaluable insights to share with you. 

Want to See Where Your B2B Podcast Lies on the Maturity Curve?

If you’d like to see which stage your brand’s podcast is at, what you can do to reach the next stage, and how Casted can help you along the way, take our quick B2B Podcast Maturity Curve assessment

And for more, stay tuned to Casted’s new series How B2B Podcasts Grow Up for a stage-by-stage discussion of how a B2B brand takes a show from launch to mass marketing amplification, and all the expert strategies, tips, and insights you need to create and grow your own audio or video podcast to serve your brand and drive growth. 

Want to skim through the episode instead of listening? Read the transcript here. 

About How B2B Podcasts Grow Up

As Season 3 of The Amplified Marketing Podcast, How B2B Podcasts Grow Up will cover the five stages of the B2B Podcast Maturity Curve, where we discuss the best strategies and models for creating a new show in a new channel, for growing and engaging your audience, for expanding across all the channels your audience prefers, and for integrating your podcast program into your overall content marketing strategy. And of course, we’ll discuss all the ways you can create meaningful content and then get the most traction from that material by wringing it out and amplifying it across all channels.