Live streaming and podcasting are increasing in both production and consumption, demonstrating a new age of accessibility for content. In the last year, more than half of the United States population listened to a podcast at some point throughout the year and nearly a third of the population listened to one podcast per month.
This increase can be attributed to the fact that creating content through live streams and podcasts is no longer limited to companies with abundant resources. It is easier than ever to produce a live stream or podcast for B2B marketing using any one of a number of different devices you may have on hand, including a phone, iPad or other tablet, or laptop. Your audience is saturated with content from B2B marketers, so it is more important than ever to deliver polished content and production to your prospects in order to rise above the mediocrity.
Should you consider creating live streams and podcasts as a part of your B2B marketing strategy?
While live streaming and podcasts each have their own benefits when part of a B2B marketing campaign, there are some common benefits between the two :
Live streams and podcasts can and do end up showing in organic search results, making it much easier for your audience to find your business. Google isn’t the only search engine your content will be available. Think of each podcast or streaming platform as a search engine. When a user goes to Spotify, YouTube, or Apple Podcasts to find content on a topic, there are specific steps you need to take in order to get your episodes to rank. For example, it’s important to have target keywords within your content and your content’s metadata such as the title, subtitle and description.
If you make a deliberate effort to optimize podcast and live stream content for search, you can benefit from:
- Wider visibility for your brand and content across search engines, podcasting, and streaming platforms
- Your content could show up multiple times in the same search engine result page (SERP)
- Linkbuilding is built into the process. Episode guests will link back to your website and their episode.
- Unique content for your website by embedding keyword-rich transcripts of your episodes
Create Gated Assets
You can repurpose both live streams and podcasts to create lead magnets and downloadable content for your target audience. This can include a consolidated, downloadable video of live stream highlights or a webinar created from one of your stream episodes. Additionally, you could create a consolidated eBook on the same topics covered in the consolidated video so that your audience can refer to written material when needed. By planning this strategy in advance, you can offer your gated assets during the stream or cast.
Engage Existing and Prospective Customers and Partners
Live streams in particular can foster user engagement in real-time; people who tune in are able to make comments, ask questions and interact with one another, creating a sense of community. You can also collaborate with industry thought leaders and channel partners by launching a joint live stream, joining as a guest on their episodes, or featuring guests on your podcast. Your presence within your industry will benefit both your customers and partners and aid in your account-based marketing programs.
Increase Brand Reach
Your organization can reach more prospects through newer mediums like live streaming and podcasting. When searching for convenient ways to consume content, people intuitively choose content they can easily access. People can watch live streams while multitasking; and a significant number of people enjoy listening to podcasts while on a walk, exercising or driving.
How can I start Live Streaming for my business?
There are various platforms that support livestreaming, including YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn (currently in beta). All platforms reach a high number of people: Facebook has the highest number of active users (around 2.3 billion), with YouTube at 1.9 billion and Instagram at 1 billion. While all the platforms mentioned are free to live stream on and have live chat functions within the stream, there are a few differences between each.
- LinkedIn is made for B2B marketers and networking. Live streams on LinkedIn Live are expected to be business-focused and more serious than on other platforms.
- Instagram Live and Facebook Live are more personal and usually feature brand personalities. The audience for these streams are expecting informality.
- YouTube Live content is consumed for business and personal purposes. Users search for how-to videos and walkthroughs, as well as presentations from conferences, performances, and entertaining content.
- Instagram Live is the only platform that is limited to live streaming through your smartphone or tablet;
- Facebook Live and YouTube Live content can be used on all devices.
- LinkedIn Live requires a 3rd party platform to produce the stream
- Time limit: Each platform has a limit of how long you may stream for.
- Facebook Live has a maximum of 4 hours;
- LinkedIn Live has a maximum of 4 hours;
- Instagram Live has a maximum of 1 hour; and
- YouTube Live has a 36 hour max.
Note that you can have a “continuous livestream” on Facebook and YouTube, where the stream continues indefinitely. However, the analytics you obtain from that livestream may be limited and you will not be able to skip to certain parts of the stream.
- Image quality: The image quality of live streams is –
- Extremely High on YouTube Live;
- High on Facebook Live and LinkedIn Live; and
- Low on Instagram Live.
Do I need to use software to produce a live stream?
Producing a livestream yourself may sound daunting. Luckily, there is software out there that makes the process simpler, like StreamYard. With StreamYard, you can invite up to nine guests onto the stream and can stream to multiple platforms simultaneously, including Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube. You can also include customized graphics, like your logo on the screen to professionally brand your stream. As a bonus, there’s also no requirement to download anything since StreamYard can run in your web browser.
Live streams are an important part of your marketing strategy
One of the primary reasons to include livestreaming in your marketing strategy has to do with how easy it is for the audience to consume this kind of content. Other great reasons to incorporate live streams into your overall B2B marketing strategy include:
The B2B buyer journey is evolving and prospective customers are becoming increasingly averse in providing their contact information to access certain content about businesses. Providing ungated content via live stream can build awareness for your products and services. If content is ungated, it makes it that much easier for existing and new customers to find and watch it as freely as they wish, without having to input their contact information.
Repurposing live stream content
After your live stream is complete, there are a number of ways you can repurpose the uploaded stream.
- Create a blog post about a similar topic and embed the stream within the post.
- Post shorter clips to social media, showing your audience some highlights of your videos and to build anticipation for your next live stream. In an age where it is unlikely that people are staying tuned to watch clips that are exceedingly long, posting smaller clips of under a minute in length makes it easier for your target audience to watch and consume.
- Transcribe your streams and post to your website.
- Create a gated content asset from the stream’s insights.
- Turn some of the highlights into quotes and tag your guests on social media.
Real-time engagement with the audience
Live streaming provides the ability to actively engage with your audience. You can help keep the audience both informed and connected and most importantly, you can make them feel involved with your business. The audience is actively learning more about your brand and can interact with others in the audience too. Real-time engagement helps make the audience feel as if they are seen and are a part of the stream. You can engage directly, suggest the audience give you topics to discuss, or have a Q&A session depending on the nature of your live stream.
Turn live streaming into revenue and tracking ROI
Streaming platforms provide standard video viewing metrics to see where your streams are succeeding and where more focus is needed. At a base level, you can analyze views (concurrent, unique and/or peak) and track engagement during the stream (when was it at its highest? lowest?). If the stream is posted online to watch later, you can also track the views of that post along with engagement and what people are commenting on. It is pivotal to turn these delayed views into revenue.
When guests engage on your streams, the streaming platforms generally require them to identify themselves. This could be a question, a comment, or a post reaction.
Track these users and see if they’re already in your sales funnel. If they are not, develop a marketing strategy to reach these new prospects.
At high volume this is difficult to manage, so we recommend building paid retartgeting campaigns via your streaming channel’s ad platforms based on video views. For example, if you’re broadcasting on Facebook Live, you can retarget your viewers with Facebook Ads related to a problem discussed in your stream.
How can I take advantage of Podcasting?
The most popular podcasting platforms are Apple Podcasts (formerly known as iTunes), Spotify and Google Podcasts. Your niche may have industry-specific podcast networks that you want to be present on such as the Legal Talk Network. A few differences between these platforms include:
- Use: Apple Podcasts tends to mainly be used for news and keeping up with society and culture, whereas Spotify is mainly used for comedy and sports/entertainment podcasts.
- Popularity: Apple Podcasts and Spotify currently sit at the #1 spot for podcasts, both occupying around 35% of the market.
What software do I need to produce and distribute a podcast?
Anchor.fm is a service specifically developed in a way that makes it easier to create and distribute podcasts. Anyone who wants to start a podcast can use it, regardless of their technical skill level. Anchor.fm has free hosting and distribution, and there is neither a limit on storage space nor a trial period. Podcasts developed through Anchor.fm can also be distributed to all of the popular podcasting platforms and can track trends and analytics for you without leaving the service.
The benefits of producing your own podcast for your brand
Authenticity: Podcasting is an extremely effective way for you to present your brand as being authentic and transparent. Listening to how brands think behind the scenes tends to make audiences feel as though the business is more relatable – this personal connection makes it more likely that your marketing and sales will resonate with your listeners.
Think of podcasting as indirect advertising for your own services; you might not be telling audience members directly in your podcast to buy your services, but it is something they may be more enticed to do after developing loyalty to your podcast.
If you’re organically referencing your own products and services in your podcast, your audience is likely to review your offerings.
Hosting a podcast requires strategic content planning and consistent delivery of fresh content. By setting a dedicated and consistent interval for your podcast, you’re making a commitment to your listeners to deliver the value of quality content on a regular basis.
Should you be a guest on other’s podcasts?
It’s likely that a host that requests a guest appearance on their podcast from you has a similar target audience to yourself. It makes sense, then, to take up the opportunity to speak not only to your own audience who may be listening, but reach new listeners, whether it be 10, 100 or 1,000 people. Being featured as a guest on another podcast means that you’re also increasing the content that you can repurpose and use to advertise your brand. This also gives you another chance to develop real, personal connections. Podcasts are authentic and are an opportunity to position your brand as a thought leader and discuss any of a number of topics, including your brand’s backstory, challenges and successes that your team experienced, and tactical or strategic advice for the audience.
Measuring the ROI of podcasting
Similar to live streams, the ROI you measure depends on your brand’s goal(s). If you’re looking to measure brand awareness, you can focus on the number of listeners and social engagement. If you’re looking to measure your professional network growth, you can focus on the quality of networking relationships and referrals.
Site traffic and conversions
Determine the relationship between your podcast and site analytics, comparing analytics pre- and post-podcast launch, after being a featured guest, or featuring a guest on your own podcast. You can also look at the amount of traffic that specific URLs that are referenced in podcasts are receiving. Create a custom landing page with an offer for your podcast listeners. This could be for a newsletter signup, demo request, or free trial.
Downloads and number of listeners
When looking at these numbers, note that unique downloads are actually suggested to be the number closest to your actual audience for your podcast. However, the number does not necessarily mean that low unique downloads means that your podcast has no value, or a high amount automatically equates to high value. A smaller concentrated audience with a similar profile can be more engaged and valuable than a larger generalized audience.
Social media engagement
Ideally, you should be posting your podcast on all social media platforms, whether the posts are snippets or blog articles on a topic covered in the podcast. This is ideal to promote episodes and also directly see how posts and topics perform. Additionally, you can see what people are saying about your podcast online and how many people are engaged with your content based on engagement with those posts.
The importance of podcast reviews
Reviews are a major ranking factor when it comes to gaining visibility for your podcast within each podcast platform. Each review grows your rankings within the platform algorithms. Reviews are similar to a backlink for a website to boost SEO.
How do I get started with live streaming and podcasting?
Live streaming and podcasting are increasing in popularity, given not only how convenient they are to consume but how easy it is for anyone, especially a business, to produce a stream or cast. There are many choices as to what kind of platforms you can use to create and host live streams and podcasts, each with their own benefits.
Regardless of the popular platform used, you can obtain the same type of benefits from each: a return on your marketing investment, increased engagement with your audience, SEO benefits, and the chance to present your brand authentically and show your audience that there are real, relatable people running your business.
If you are looking to start creating content such as live streams and podcasts, reach out to learn about how Second Eclipse can help.