Building an audience of dedicated fans is imperative for marketing teams. In general marketing, it’s key to build an authentic connection with your audience, and in B2B marketing, it’s even more crucial.
Brands today must provide:
● An authentic connection
● Useful content that helps solve problems
● A sense of community
BlueCat is a B2B IT software company based in Toronto, Canada that is doing an excellent job ensuring their content covers all three of these critical prerequisites. BlueCat’s Senior Manager of Corporate Communications, Dana Iskoldski, is utilizing amplified marketing to create community in their industry through their Network Disrupted podcast, as well as community-focused events.
IT can be a challenging industry to get people excited about. Not to be deterred, Dana and BlueCat buckled down and thought hard about how they could create a community around their podcast, and how the show could allow them more flexibility than other traditional marketing disciplines to turn a conversation into something lots of people would find valuable.
In the beginning, Dana was limited in what she could do, but the important thing was that she had a clear strategy about what the podcast should be about, who the ideal host would be, and how to get the most relevant guests to come on the show. Now with two seasons under her belt, Dana shares some of the most invaluable lessons that she’s learned about how to best produce a podcast and how to keep growing the audience.
Tips on Building Up Your Show
When Dana Iskoldski first began expanding her role at BlueCat, podcasting was a pretty new concept that not many people knew what to make of, which in turn made them a bit doubtful at best, skeptical at worst, about its potential. Among the doubters was even Dana’s own VP. “[When we launched our show], I remember podcasting was still kind of new to everyone. Maybe people listened to a podcast, my VP maybe had his NPR they listened to, and that was the one thing he did, and he didn’t necessarily see how you could do a B2B tech podcast and make it successful,” she recalls.
When Dana was hired, she was mainly responsible for the company’s PR and influencers, a relationship strategist, if you will. To say her role has grown exponentially since then would be a gross understatement. She’s recently taken over the company’s entire content operations. The progress is incredible, considering it started out as one little podcast, which, in Dana’s own words, was merely a “pet project” (at least, at first).
Clearly, Dana has walked the road and knows what it takes to build a successful content amplifying “machine” via podcasting and spreading show content across channels. So, we understandably didn’t want to waste the opportunity to pick her brain for some How-tos.
Choose the Right Guests
According to Dana, it’s not just about picking someone with the right credentials and ensuring that individual shows up. Instead, Dana stresses the importance of considering other things, like the quality of the discussion and investment of time and care, for instance.
“Consider things like are they bought in and are they willing to give you the time? It’s not just show up for the recording and being done with it, especially when you’re just starting up,” she explains. “You also want their input; you want their feedback.”
So, who exactly will you be on the lookout for? Dana describes the ideal guest as “someone who is excited about it and is an advocate.” They should also be engaging and easily connect with the listening audience. Equally key is finding a guest who has a high level of credibility. Dana suggests we “look for all those things, and whoever’s score is the highest on that matrix is your target.” And then? Dana says to “work as closely as you can with them, but try to do as much legwork as possible for them.”
Have a Mean Prep Game
High-level CMOs and the like don’t always have a ton of time, even if they are willing and excited about participating in your show. With this in mind, Dana offers a remedy.
“Make friends with the executive assistant who works with them,” she encourages. “They’re going to help you a lot and give you insight into either how they feel about something or whether they’re too busy or what’s coming down the pipeline for them.”
As well as relying on an assistant, Dana points out that it’s up to us to also get in there and “do as much research as you can for them,” too. Here’s her real-life example: “Say you’ve got a guest and maybe you’ve done the outreach, and the guest is ready to meet your host … Prep your host, give them all of the information.”
BlueCat uses Slack to do this, providing the guests with what Dana refers to as a “whole bullet point list of, ‘Here’s what you should know. Here’s what I think you could ask the person about, based on what I know, etc.’” In a nutshell, Dana is telling us to focus on absolutely crushing our crosstalk prep.
According to Dana, it’s important to not limit your podcast with narrow thinking: “Having someone listen to your podcast is great, [but] that’s not the only value you get out of a podcast.”
She’s talking about how you can get more out of your show’s content without having to create more content from scratch. If you think of your episodes as the source of all your content, you can go back to them again and again to repurpose that content into lots of other formats for different channels. And Dana’s right, there’s enormous value in this. Wringing out your content not only expands your reach, but it makes your content marketing execution more efficient, in less time, and with greater continuity in your messaging.
Dana shared her top tips for how BlueCat does this — the first concerns social sharing and reposting, reposting, reposting. “Don’t assume that the algorithms are helping you, and get comfortable reposting things a lot, and creating a cadence where you’ve got [something] new.”
For instance, to make the most of the content piece you just invested time in, Dana suggests creating this above-mentioned cadence where you can turn your podcast into myriad things:
“Here’s an announcement post, but then pull some stats or some facts out of it for the week after and then, the week after that, and the week after that. So create a bit of a drip.” But don’t stop there! Instead, Dana says to keep going and “use your other available channels to your advantage … If you’ve got email, if your host knows people, do that.”
Dana reveals is that BlueCat turns its podcast episodes into blogs, and even PowerPoints as well, which the company will then post on social media as little summaries. According to Dana, this helps meet those who are not audio listeners “where they are at.” Although this will take an investment of more time, it will offer an incredible ROI.
Celebrate the Small Wins
Content marketing is a long game. Organic reach, traffic, conversion, and understanding doesn’t come overnight. It’s not a quick fix. It’s a long-term play. However, you don’t need to delay all gratification until you hit a million listeners or have direct attribution of revenue dollars. There are small victories along the way that are worth celebrating.
According to Dana, “You're not going to feel a lot of what success or what you think success is going to feel like for a long time. So, set yourself little milestones or little wins, whether it's just making it to publishing the first episode or getting the first person to comment on one of your social posts, where you shared it out saying, ‘I thought this was great. I listened to it.’ You're not going to see that in the numbers yet, necessarily, but that means so much, when a real human being took the time to comment something like that.”
Remember that it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Don't assume that your show is going to be a smash hit right away. Dana believes that content often suffers from the assumption that it's so easy to create. We know that it’s not, and have talked before about the marketer’s plight. You need to take the time and give production and distribution some solid thought.
Interested in learning more about how Casted can help you build community and authenticity? Request a demo today!