November 29, 2023
Breaking Through the Noise: Why Podcasting Should Be Part of Your Professional Services Firm’s Media Toolkit
As industry leaders and senior professionals look for sophisticated guidance on influential and complex topics, they are increasingly turning to podcasts as a quick way to absorb timely information. In fact, 43% of U.S. decision-makers regularly listen to podcasts for business-related news and thought leadership. Yet few are leveraging this growing medium to reach them.
Only a third of B2B content marketers have used podcasts within the last year, for example. And, according to Greentarget’s 2022 State of Digital & Content Marketing Report, C-Suite executives and in-house counsel rank podcasts at the bottom of the content they prefer to consume, indicating a significant lack of elevated and engaging content.
This should be a wake-up call for professional service firm marketers, especially as the influence of podcasts can often be stronger than other media channels. According to the Pew Research Center, 36% of podcast listeners have tried a lifestyle change because of a podcast they listened to, and more than half have followed the social media account of a podcast or its host. At Greentarget we’ve seen this firsthand, spearheading podcast campaigns that have reached thousands of executives and sparked impressive engagement across LinkedIn and Twitter.
As the number of podcast listeners grows, it’s critical that professional service organizations seize the opportunity. When used in tandem with a solid digital media strategy, podcasts can spur conversations between key decision-makers, drive up the number of visitors to companies’ owned channels, and generate new business development.
Below, we outline a few benefits—and how marketers can achieve them.
Drive Organic Traffic to Owned Media Channels
To some extent, podcasts are self-selecting. By choosing to play your podcast, listeners have already raised their hands to say that your content’s subject matter is what they are interested in. It should come as no surprise then that 80% percent of people who start a podcast listen to most or all of the episode.
That increased focus gives professional service organizations the opportunity to steer listeners to other relevant owned content on their website. For instance, Greentarget has been able to craft bylines and owned blog content based on several conversations that podcast hosts have had with their guests.
And because that content is more likely to coincide with their interests, it can be valuable tool in driving newsletter subscriptions, report downloads and organic traffic. Once you have drawn listeners into your marketing pipeline, they are more likely to reach out and enlist your services.
Reach an Audience That Matches Your Target Demographic
Research shows that most podcast listeners are educated, tech-savvy, affluent and diverse, and the medium is known for reaching on-the-go professionals of all ages. While the majority of monthly podcast listeners are between the ages of 12 and 34, 43% of monthly podcast listeners are aged 35-54—an increase from 39% in 2021. These segments of the U.S. population largely align with the demographics of professional services organizations, meaning a podcast has greater potential to reach them over traditional media channels.
What’s more, podcasting is quickly becoming a global medium. Monthly downloads for podcasts around the world ballooned by millions in the first quarter of 2023, and experts anticipate the number of podcast listeners will reach over 500 million by 2024. As reaching a global audience becomes increasingly important for growing professional service organizations that work across borders, podcasting can help overcome the regional limits of traditional news outlets.
Position Authorities as Authentic and Trustworthy
According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, consumers trust business more than any other institution globally. Listeners trust industry leaders who weigh in on important issues. As organizations face increased scrutiny around the credibility of the information they produce, podcasts offer a way to deliver those perspectives in an authentic, believable way. The nature of the medium enables thought leaders to showcase not only their knowledge but their personalities and unique voices.
Generate Networking Opportunities
Authorities also stand to make personal connections with the wide variety of industry experts featured on their show. This can open up better networking opportunities, and in some cases, lead to a beneficial partnership between organizations.
Take our podcast partnership with Berkeley Research Group (BRG) , for instance. Through the firm’s Insights from the Top podcast, host Dr. David Teece was able to build strong relationships with law firm leaders in the U.K. and as far as South Africa. Other podcast hosts at the firm have appeared as guests on podcasts hosted by close acquaintances, and vice versa.
A Small Investment Can Yield Big Rewards
Creating a podcast takes little in the way of capital investment. Nowadays, a hundred-dollar microphone, earbuds, a quiet room and simple software are enough to produce a high-quality listening experience for your podcast audience. And now that the pandemic has habituated listeners to the audio quality you might expect in a Zoom call, the bar to entry is lower than ever.
Best Podcasting Practices
If you’re convinced that podcasting might work for your professional services organization, here are a few rules of thumb that will guide you on your journey to launching your very own podcast series.
- Stay the course: Since anyone can throw their hat into the podcasting ring, it can take more than a few one-off episodes to rise above the noise and gain a diverse and dedicated following. This is often why more than three in four podcasters give up on a show within 12 months of launch. So, it’s important that professional service organizations make a long-term commitment to a podcast with the expectation that they are unlikely to garner a substantial following in the first few months. The most influential professional services podcasts out there today—The McKinsey Podcast, Deloitte’s Global Insights, you name it—invested significant time and resources before gaining traction.
- Integrate podcasting into a holistic communications plan: Podcasts can be repurposed in the creation of other content that can be shared across different platforms, such as infographics, blogs and newsletters. Conversely, podcast episodes can center around insights and findings outlined in other forms of content, e.g., research reports, whitepapers, etc. Professional services firms should use these strategies to extend the shelf-lifeand expand the reachof existing content.
- Be candid: Podcasts bridge the gap between informal, authentic communication and measured thought leadership. Since a podcast can always be edited after a recording session takes place, authorities and their guests can—and should—speak frankly about today’s most pressing issues. They can rest assured that they will always get the right message across to their audience—even if it’s in the editing room.
There Has Never Been a Better Time to Dive into This Growing Medium
As stakeholders continue to shift from traditional to owned media channels for their information, it’s crucial that professional services firms evolve alongside them. In our hyper-saturated media landscape, people are often bombarded with opinion-based content—from the moment they sit down at their work desks to when they nod off to sleep, phone in hand.
Podcasts offer an unusual respite from this barrage of information. They are played in the car, at the gym, or on an evening walk. And because a listener gets to decide what they listen to, they are more open to the views expressed on a podcast than say, an algorithmically curated TikTok video or an op-ed shared by a colleague on Facebook.
With over three million active podcasts out there and counting, professional service organizations can’t afford to ignore this rising—and very personal—content medium.Greentarget knows how to develop a podcast from front-to-back. Whether it involves pre-episode storyboarding, audio production or digital promotion, we have the tools to position any podcast for success—so let us help you jump into this frequently overlooked medium.