Christian Beck is an executive design partner with Indianapolis-based Innovatemap and cohosts the company’s Better Product podcast. Christian shares how other Indy tech companies have deployed a podcast strategy and what companies thinking about podcasts should consider.

The podcast has emerged as the hottest content channel of 2019. Audio and video will probably dominate for the next few years (particularly in the form of those walking selfie videos everyone seems to be doing these days). But the podcast is the place to be. Spotify made monumental acquisitions of and Gimlet media earlier this year. Luminary is a well-funded startup promising to be the Netflix of podcasts (ignoring the fact that, you know, podcasts are free). And there’s no telling what Jay-Z will do. Here in Indy, the agency Share Your Genius was founded to help companies produce podcasts (such as the one yours truly cohosts with the effervescent Anna Eaglin).

If this wasn’t enough evidence, how about a statistic? At least 21% of Americans listen to podcasts each month, and of those, 85% of them finish the episode. On blogging platforms like Medium, you’d be lucky to get 25% of your readers to finish an article. The point is, podcasts are important and people like them. They are the business commuter’s best friend and those of us with commutes also happen to be the people who many businesses are targeting.

Much like businesses had to figure out how to use blogs in the early-2000s and then social media starting almost a decade ago, businesses need to learn how to utilize podcasts effectively. The podcast trend might be a bubble but they aren’t going away any time soon. And the businesses that learn how to use them well will find immense value. Thankfully, you don’t have to look much outside Indy for inspiration on using podcasts to grow tech businesses. With help from Rachel Downey, the CEO and founder of Share Your Genius, I’ve compiled six ways that tech companies use podcasts to grow their business.

Build authority and thought-leadership

This is no different than the main value driving the importance of any content marketing. It takes on even more importance if your business exists in a highly technical, regulated or otherwise complex industry. The podcasts by the Drift team are highly inspirational—having spun out multiple shows from their core “Seeking Wisdom” podcast.

Greenlight Guru uses their Global Medical Device podcast to build trust in the highly regulated and complex domain of the medical device industry. It’s obviously not a podcast for just anyone, but for their domain, it is highly relevant and helps them establish thought leadership that is otherwise hard to come by.

Highlighting customers, partners, and sponsors by sharing their stories

Once you have great testimonials, what better way to share them than a podcast? You don’t need to be limited to thinking about traditional case studies in PDF form. You’ll be amazed how interesting these stories are to a broader public.

OpenView does this well by featuring their portfolio companies frequently. In an episode with local tech wunderkind, Max Yoder, they highlighted Lessonly’s mantra “Do Better Work.” For OpenView, it gives them a tangible example of what their firm could provide for prospective portfolio companies, and for the companies themselves it offers a platform to spread their message.

For Innovatemap, this was the primary driver for our Better Product podcast. Through our work helping startups, we bear witness to amazing stories. The podcast has given us a way to amplify our clients’ stories in a way that can not only help advance our agency’s brand but highlight companies that might otherwise fly under the radar.

Generate conversations with valuable and strategic prospects

As you’re growing your business, any reason you have to reach out to a prospect is a win. Sending a cold email pretending you know someone is just slightly worse than cold calling someone. But with a podcast, you can offer a prospect something that gives them something. And for you, it helps your brand while also giving you much better information about your prospect.

Jim Brown’s SalesTuners podcast executes this strategy (combined with the previous ones) perfectly as well. He interviews sales leaders, which helps him establish thought leadership in sales, but also drives interest from other sales leaders to be on his show. Those then become great prospects for his company’s services.

Leverage your podcast for strategic initiatives like conferences and speaking engagements

So far, I’ve illustrated how the podcast alone can help you grow your podcast. But it’s also a catalyst for other marketing activities. For many tech companies, strategies like speaking engagements, conferences or even being podcast guests helps drive sales. Your chance of being able to execute on those strategies is much easier if you already have a podcast where others can learn your philosophy and (hopefully) experience your sparkling charisma.

Stay connected with remote employees and field staff

As companies get larger, scaling culture and process can become challenging. And for startups that are hybrid remote and co-located employees, staying in sync on the company mission can be difficult. Podcasts can help large teams communicate vision on a regular basis. 

We’ve all seen quarterly updates from the CEO, or gotten weekly updates from the company wiki. And I know we’ve all caught ourselves dozing off watching a company benefits webinar. But a podcast allows for more personality and culture to come through. It also gives you another channel, and your employees a different choice, for how to communicate.

Build and maintain a strong brand identity

Brand identity is weaved throughout all these values of podcasting, but it’s important enough to restate here. I can attest from my own experience over the past six months that talking on a podcast is an uncomfortable experience at first. But over time, it allows you to share your company’s brand and personality in a way that words and visuals can’t. Your philosophy, unique perspective, and energy all come through in a podcast.

While I’m not a business person, salesperson or marketer by trade, I know enough to confidently state that in today’s landscape you have to reach your prospects, customers, and employees on whatever channel they want to be reached on. And today, more than ever, that channel often involves headphones. With an intentional approach to the medium, podcasting can help create amazing growth for your company.