As the #1 search engine in the world, Google is in the business of delivering the right content to its audience, widening now beyond landing pages, blogs, ebooks, video, and even podcasting which was added in 2019. Delivering the right content to the right audience is also the #1 mission of CMOs, Marketing VPs, and marketing teams across industries, so it makes sense that Google Search is a key tool of data-driven marketing strategy.
Why doesn’t every brand’s content rank on page one?
Google crawling your content is not enough to ensure your high-quality content comes up at the top of the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). You have to have an SEO strategy that informs every piece of content you create before you even write the first word — or in the case of podcasting, before you say the first word. So how can you replace guesswork with a data-driven decision?
Let’s explore two powerful components of B2B marketing: the SEO strategies of pillar-based marketing and the power of podcasting. You want to include both in your brand’s marketing efforts, and we have tips to get you started or improve your existing data-driven strategies that power your content.
He also co-authored the bible on data-driven SEO marketing Pillar-Based Marketing: A Data-Driven Methodology for SEO and Content That Actually Works and shares incredible insights with Casted CEO Lindsay Tjepkema on a recent episode of The Casted Podcast.
What Is Pillar-Based Marketing and What Can a Data-Driven Strategy Do for Your Brand’s Growth?
Oriented around keywords and search intent and behavior, pillar-based marketing is an SEO content strategy that builds layers of content connected to each other around a central topic, typically a topic your brand is an authority on and should rank high for in SERPs.
You create all the content for your pillar campaign first and then you release it all at once, signaling Google and other search engines that your brand is the authority on this particular topic. Since SEO data plays such a heavy role in the creation of pillar-based marketing, this approach is designed to bring more traffic to your website, more engagement with your content, and, ultimately, more leads converting to customers.
Pillar-based marketing forms the foundation of a solid data-driven strategy with these benefits:
- Data-driven brands are 23 times more likely to acquire customers, 6 times more likely to retain customers, and 19 times more likely to turn a profit (Mckinsey Global Institute).
- Data-driven marketing gives a brand a competitive advantage and is 6 times more likely to make a business profitable year over year (Forbes).
- Companies that use data-driven strategies generate 5 to 8 times more ROI than brands that don’t (Invesp).
How a Content Pillar Works
Regardless of how you put a content pillar to work for your brand, the most important key to success is that you create excellent content to begin with. No SEO or marketing strategy can remedy poor source material, which is exactly what Google strives to weed out for its audience. But once you have high-quality content, you’ll want to start learning about a pillar marketing approach to help you get that content into the right hands.
DemandJump’s concept looks like this, where you have a central pillar post at the top, three related sub-pillars beneath that, and then content clusters (usually blogs) beneath those:
The idea here is that all the content links back up through the pillar tree with each post taking a look at different sub-topics within the main topic. Essentially, you build a comprehensive library around a particular subject to:
- Provide your audience with helpful content that answers their questions and guides them through business challenges.
- Establish your brand and your content as an authority on a topic.
- Rank higher in Google search results.
The Goals of a Pillar-Based Marketing Strategy
By combining search intent data, contextual search tactics, keywords, relevant content, and interlinking, the pillar-based approach helps a marketing team, from the CMO to the content creators, serve the right content to your audience by mirroring the way people commonly use search engines. Their searches can start anywhere, not necessarily with a general query and working their way down to the specific topic they’re looking for. So you’ll want to think about the context around a search as you gather up your keywords and commonly asked questions and start putting SEO and content to work for your brand.
By offering broader coverage around a topic than a single blog or series of related pieces of content, the pillar approach helps you attract higher intent traffic keywords and algorithms. If your content engages visitors, they’ll likely visit another blog linked within the pillar and spend time on your site finding the information they want while also getting to know your brand in a content loop. That’s the #1 goal of pillar-based marketing! To rank higher on a SERP and increase organic traffic to your content, website, and brand.
Full disclosure: Casted has partnered with DemandJump, and we are incorporating pillar-based marketing into our content strategy and creation. We’re also using the strategy beyond the 16-piece pillar structure. The same principles at play in the pillar campaign apply to any content you want to create. Access to DemandJump’s technology greatly improves any of our content’s chances of ranking high in a search, by doing these two main things:
- Seeing exactly what people are searching for and what the search volume is for a specific topic, phrase, or question.
- Prioritizing which keywords we write about and see which terms we can target to outrank our competitors.
This is where applying pillar-based marketing to content creation makes a huge difference, because SEO is always changing, and many of the SEO strategies B2B CMOs and VPs of Marketing have used for the last decade are not as effective as they once were. You’re competing with thousands of other companies, and you need ways to get your unique value offering to cut through all that noise. The solution: Focus on building your topic authority in searches using search data to more directly deliver your high-quality content to your audience.
What Does Being a Topic Authority Do for Your Brand?
If you’re a SaaS startup or small business, your “small” company’s marketing team can improve the overall performance of your brand’s content and drive greater ROI from your investment in content creation (from blogs and ebooks to video and podcasts).
Pillar marketing also helps your marketing team better qualify your leads. SaaS sales cycles can be long and include many touchpoints before a lead becomes a closed won deal. (The average is 8 touchpoints to close a sale, though in some industries, a Google study found that there can be anywhere from 20 to 500 touchpoints in the customer journey, depending on the complexity and price point of purchase.) Leveraging several content pillars can make your blogs, video, and podcasts serve as the early points of contact for a potential customer. By providing helpful information to your audience, you can help educate them about your brand’s value. Pillars also serve as a source of help for existing customers and influence renewal.
This is just a brief overview of pillar-based marketing. There are so many nuances and opportunities in the process that you can customize to meet your brand’s needs. For more information, visit DemandJump’s great resources on pillar page best practices and SEO marketing strategy examples.
Is B2B Podcasting a Necessary Marketing Channel?
Back when Casted launched in 2019, Google had just begun including podcasts on SERPs, and despite Google’s foresight, there were still many brands back then who didn’t think B2B podcasting would ever catch on. Four years later, we see the Podcast Wave continue to rise with over 5 million podcasts and over 71 million episodes, although only around 450,000 podcasts are active. But even inactive podcasts are full of great content for the global 464.7 million podcast listeners.
What Podcasting Does for a Brand
Not convinced of a podcast’s value or ROI yet? According to a BBC study, here’s what the benefits of podcast marketing can do for a brand:
- 89% higher awareness.
- 57% higher brand consideration.
- 24% higher brand favorability.
- 14% lift in purchase intent (consideration of purchase upon hearing ads) on average.
- 16% higher engagement and 12% higher memory encoding among listeners than the surrounding content.
Podcast Audience Trends
If you’re considering whether your brand should have a podcast, keep these audience stats and behaviors in mind:
- 42% of Americans 12 and older have listened to a podcast in the last month, a new all-time high and up from 38% in 2022 (Edison Research).
- The majority of Americans aged 12-54 (53%) have listened to a podcast in the last month (Edison Research).
- Weekly podcast listeners listened to an average of nine podcast episodes in the last week, up from eight episodes in 2022 (Edison Research).
- 70% of listeners (CloudIncome) consume podcasts at times when they consume no other digital marketing channel.
- Audience members who listen to at least five hours of podcasts per week also discover podcasts through YouTube most often (Edison Research’s Super Listeners 2021 survey).
How Podcasting Can Grow Your Business
That’s all well and fine, you might say, but how important is the podcasting channel to B2B marketing strategies?
- The amount of branded content in podcasts increased by nearly 82% between 2020 and 2021 (Chartable).
- In 2022, 82% of marketers plan to continue investing the same amount or increase their investment in podcasts or other audio content (HubSpot).
- 43% of decision makers say they use branded podcasts to get business-related content as a top channel for B2B content (MarTech).
- 44% of C-suite executives, VPs, and department heads consume podcasts (LinkedIn).
All of this data proves not only how powerful podcasting already is, but how it’s got room to grow as a B2B medium and should be the flagship of your brand’s offering to the market and the strongest connection maker with your audience.
How Pillar-Based Marketing and Podcasting Create Brand Success
As mentioned before, Casted and DemandJump have established a partnership where each brand combines their expertise with that of the other to grow both brands and fuel pipeline, and in the case of bringing pillar-based marketing and podcasting together, it’s remarkable how effective this combo is.
What Casted Gets with a Pillar-Based Approach
Leveraging data-driven strategies through the DemandJump platform (strategies that they very much helped us develop), Casted can more accurately create content that people are searching for, gain topic authority by rising up the SERPs, and most importantly, deliver expertise to those in the audience who really need help with a particular challenge. Plus, all the SEO strategy we use for our podcast goes straight into all the content we create around each episode. In other words, pillar-based marketing is baked into our amplified marketing strategy.
“It's really, really interesting to be able to say, okay, what do we know about intent data?” Casted CEO and host of The Casted Podcast, Lindsay Tjepkema, says, “What can essentially DemandJump tell us about what we should be creating and what are the best opportunities for us to reach our audience? And yeah, that absolutely is in the form of written content. And why wouldn't I also create that content in these types of formats and include it in that pillar-based content? Because again, ask yourself as a human, it's much more interesting to read and consume a blog post that has audio and video content in it too. And then also from the marketing side, if people engage with that beyond just reading the blog post and click on that embed of the audio or video content, you get that data too.”
What DemandJump Gets with a Podcast Marketing Platform
The partnership gives DemandJump a massive content library fueled by podcast and video content that they can easily manage and track. With pillar-based marketing as the foundation for everything they create, DemandJump amplifies their content marketing and successfully gets it to the right audience faster and more efficiently than most other brands.
“Look at technology like Casted,” DemandJump’s Chief Solution Officer, Ryan Brock says. “We can take our growing library, not just of podcast content, but all of our video content and webinars and things like that — of which we have a lot — and we can start parsing that and analyzing: What are we talking about across these hours and hours and hours of content? And as we build our web pages around the pillar-based marketing methodology, it becomes very easy for us to find out opportunities to incorporate into the written content of a page this human content in the form of a podcast — a podcast clip that we can create — that matches exactly what we're talking about.”
Now Add In Firmographic Podcast Analytics
When you apply podcast analytics (Casted Insights) to this whole methodology, you can absolutely know your audience like never before and what drives them to seek out content like your brand’s in ways that no longer feel like guesswork. With the ability to match up to 65% of your listeners with an actual brand that needs your help, Casted Insights equips you to launch a solid ABM campaign strategy built around the authoritative content in your podcast.
We have amazing customers using Insights in multiple needle-moving ways:
- You can leverage Insights as a way to identify exactly who's in your audience and which companies they represent.
- Insights data can help you understand which topics certain industries are interested in. You can then create audiograms, videograms, or even playlists around those topics and reach out to prospects and leads in that same industry.
- You can even use the analytics to prove your podcast’s impact on pipeline by being able to identify customers in deals that have recently sold and that were also listeners and viewers of your show just a couple of months ago.
How Podcasting and Pillar-Based Marketing Work Together as a Growth Strategy
When you apply pillar-based marketing concepts to your podcast, you’ll find a new way to decide what authoritative content you should create and then leverage that demanded coverage through your most powerful and most humanizing marketing channel, your B2B podcast.
Let’s take a look at three key insights on how SEO data-driven strategies are changing, why every VP of Marketing and CMO should lean into podcasting and amplified marketing, and what to keep an eye on as the search engine landscape evolves from a recent episode of The Casted Podcast: Pillar-Based Marketing and Podcasting with DemandJump's Ryan Brock.
Pillar-Based Marketing: Revolutionizing SEO with Data-Driven Strategy
SEO and Google’s recommended best practices have changed many times over the years, and for the most part, those changes favor promoting quality content over pure advertising. However, without solid data to found a strategy on, most B2B brands have historically built their SEO strategies based on assumptions and biases about what they think the searching audience wants.
In today’s crowded SaaS market, a brand has to go beyond keyword density, backlinking, and domain authority, because the old way of doing SEO, which many brands are still employing, relies on too much guesswork that eats up budget and misses opportunities.
Ryan Brock’s solution? “Forget all that crap,” he recommends in his episode. “Let's look at Google's recommendation engine. Let's look at the way Google contextualizes a search amongst other searches that people who search for that topic are likely to also search.”
Pillar-based marketing is not traditional SEO, but like Google’s prioritizing quality information sources, pillar-based marketing is about getting quality content to the right people in your brand’s audience, and that depends on identifying patterns of search behavior that can lead you to make a much more accurate assessment of what exactly your audience is looking for.
Unlock the Potential of Your Podcasting Through Multimedia Content 🗝️
Where pillar-based marketing is the ideal method for getting your content to the right people, a podcast is the ideal delivery mechanism. Since it’s a multimedia format (audio and/or video), podcasting is excellent for creating a source of rich content that you can use in other formats, like blogs, ebooks, social media, and email, to promote your brand across all the channels your audience prefers. Being able to easily insert podcast clips and embedded players in your other content also helps your content rise to the top of a Google search.
As Ryan shares, pillar-based marketing can also help inform your episode creation, guest strategy, and the topics you’ll cover: “That's sort of our long-term vision, honestly, is understanding how people think and learn about topics. How do we help marketers apply that to any channel in any way that they want to go?”
Podcasting in the Evolving Search Landscape 🔍
One of the items Google announced at its IO Conference is a Perspectives Tab or Filter, which essentially provides additional sources of information or authority in a Google search besides images, video, and news. So far, Google indicates these new sources will come from forums like Reddit and video social media like TikTok. The idea is to provide more available information to searchers, but to also give visibility to authorities other than branded websites and YouTube channels.
One important takeaway buried inside these search changes is that the audience searching for information out there isn’t looking for a display ad or a special offer from a brand. They’re looking for topic authorities and exemplary subject matter experts, and as Ryan explains in this clip, that’s what makes a pillar-based, data-driven podcast the best channel for delivering what your audience wants.
Technology always evolves. Search is no different, but the important thing to remember is that you need to quickly recognize what these evolutions mean for a B2B brand. When podcasting became a legitimate marketing channel, there were many brands who paid the medium little attention. Today, it’s one of the most powerful ways for a brand to connect with its audience and drive business growth.
Likewise, as we see Google moving toward features that provide brands with a larger search context and therefore a greater way to connect with audiences, the brands who marry up SEO strategies and podcasting quickest will see the greatest growth and success.
Here are a few of the key steps your brand should take to leverage and reap the benefits of data-driven marketing plus podcasting today:
- Embrace keyword research, learn what your audience is searching for, and find a tech solution (like DemandJump) that will help you more effectively get your content to the people who need it most.
- Comprehensively become an authority on the topics your audience cares about with a pillar-based marketing approach.
- Launch and grow a B2B podcast to expand brand awareness and establish thought leadership.
- Create a dedicated page or website for your podcast to gather rich listener data.
- Base your show title, show description, show notes, episode titles, and topics covered in each episode on SEO data and the keywords most likely used by your audience looking for a solution to their challenges.
- Amplify your podcast content across multiple channels and in multiple formats.
- Track content performance and optimize your whole content marketing strategy.
For more on pillar-based marketing and how a data-driven strategy will help your business grow, be sure to visit DemandJump and all their helpful content. Every CMO, Demand Generation Manager, and content creator should also check out Ryan’s show Page One or Bust!, and if you’re the person who values a physical source of strategic guidance, get yourself a copy of Ryan’s book Pillar-Based Marketing: A Data-Driven Methodology for SEO and Content That Actually Works.
For more on brand podcast strategy for your business, download The Marketer’s Complete Guide to B2B Podcast Strategy. If you’re ready to see the Casted platform in action, reach out to us — we have so much to show you! And if you’d like to see how a podcast can help grow your business, subscribe to The Casted Podcast on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.