If podcasts aren’t part of your communications strategy, you may be missing the opportunity to find and engage valuable business audiences. Becoming a guest speaker or even hosting your own show is worth the effort — if you know the pitfalls to avoid.
Podcasting popularity continues to pop
Each week, more Americans listen to podcasts than have Netflix accounts. Nearly 90 million people were listening to at least one podcast last year. More than one-third of owners of small and midsize businesses listen to podcasts, and almost two-thirds listen at least weekly, according to research by SMB research firm Bredin. Listenership increases with company size, with more than 70% of business owners with 100 to 500 employees tuning in.
Podcasting may have been more of a niche marketing tool in the 2010s, but when COVID sent millions of workers home, listening to business-related podcasts started going mainstream. Simultaneously, the amount of podcasts exploded. More than one million new podcasts were launched in 2020 alone.
That number is deceiving, however, because two years later, 80% fewer podcasts were launched. With more than two million podcasts in the US alone, it may seem as if the market is saturated and your company — in technology, healthcare, EV batteries, or any other industry — has little opportunity to stand out, stand out, or stand for something.
As you’ll soon discover, there is still room for originality and quality. And there is value in making the effort.
Brand awareness, lead generation, and thought leadership
At the most fundamental level, company podcasts help build and maintain brand awareness. When produced and promoted correctly, a podcast can be a successful tool for lead generation or even customer acquisitions. Podcasting serves as a tool that enables companies to build trust with customers through showcasing their expertise. Building a following of enthusiastic evangelists generated even more positive press.
At Sterling Communications, helping clients join the right conversation is our passion. Podcasts are the vehicle that enable executives to share company stories and relevant topics of interest. Aligning your company with a popular podcast with an already established audience amplifies messaging and networking.
Locking down opportunities, gearing up for interviews
The “InsideOut” podcast is a show that amplifies the voices of a cross-section of the entire healthcare industry. Like the show, Health2047 — the Silicon Valley innovation arm of the American Medical Association (AMA) — focuses on the ins and outs of healthcare and the smart solutions needed to drive innovation and solve complex problems. So it was a natural fit for Health2047 CEO Larry Cohen to appear on an episode of the “InsideOut” podcast, Overcoming Healthcare Dysfunction Through Tech Innovation and Physician Insight.
After securing this opportunity, the Sterling team refined Health2047’s messaging around behavioral health and prepared Larry for the interview. As a follow up, the “InsideOut” host offered to connect Health2047 with others in the mental health industry to continue the conversation.
“ESG Decoded” is a popular, highly rated podcast focusing on business innovation and sustainability in a clear and actionable manner. In a special episode called, Technologies Driving Water Conservation, host Amanda Hsieh talked with San Jose Water president and COO Andy Gere about the evolving technologies involved in delivering clean drinking water to one million customers. Water, energy, and climate change are inextricably linked, and Andy had a unique way to connect those dots.
Own a podcast, own the conversation
If being a guest on a podcast provides one path to share your story, hosting your own podcast offers an entire platform to lead the discussion across the industry.
The AMA charged Sterling client Health2047 with the mission to build up and spin out commercial companies to tackle the toughest challenges facing the US healthcare system. Health2047 scales startups at the intersection of healthcare and technology. The organization’s communication strategy aims to reach and engage potential healthcare entrepreneurs in data, chronic diseases, and productivity.
Sterling Communications helped create, brand, and launch Health2047’s podcast, “So You Want To Transform Healthcare,” in November 2020. Dr. Christine Stock, Health2047’s managing director of medical affairs, is host and executive producer for the monthly podcast series where listeners receive candid conversations with leaders operating at the intersection of healthcare and technology-enabled innovation. Ranging from chronic disease eradication to healthcare’s growing cyber epidemic, the topics focus on exploring the most powerful ideas that aim to change the $3.5 trillion U.S. healthcare industry at its very foundations — from the inside out.
As part of a larger communications strategy, the podcast supports Health2047’s mission to find, found and scale startups at the intersection of healthcare and technology enabled-innovation. The show elevates staff expertise to facilitate entrepreneur introductions in critical healthcare sectors Health2047’s business is targeting.
“Our CEO asked me if I would create a company podcast,” Dr. M. Christine Stock, Managing Director of Medical Affairs at Health2047, said. “Of course I wanted to do that. I had no idea where to start, what to do or what was entailed. The people at Sterling helped me get organized, taught me how to do it and have had so many wonderful ideas and creative thoughts in terms of how to actually produce the podcast. By December of 2022, I’m happy to say that we were ranked number 15 out of the top 70 healthcare podcasts. I love working with Sterling because they are responsive, organized and very knowledgeable.”
‘So You Want to Transform Healthcare’ in the news
- Feedspot: #15 out of 70 Best Healthcare Industry Podcasts By Health Professionals
- Northwestern Magazine: Are You Listening?
- American Medical Association:
Seizing the high ground
“Environmental, social, and governance” refers to the three central pillars in measuring the sustainability and societal impact of a company. ESG is the industry acronym. It is rapidly becoming critical for companies to be transparent about their impact on our world and provide consistent reporting to key stakeholders.
Workiva, the world’s leading cloud platform for transparent reporting, partnered with Sterling Communications to amplify the company’s voice among company executives leading ESG initiatives. Sterling helped create, brand, and produce ESG Talk, the go-to podcast for environmental, social, and governance insights. Each week, “ESG Talk” features candid conversations with ESG leaders to transform complex ESG topics into simple, practical opportunities for business and society.
As part of a larger communications strategy to grow the company’s YouTube channel, Sterling upgraded “ESG Talk” for audio and video. Episodes are posted weekly.
Corporate podcasts help serve as a tool for sales enablement. Workiva’s podcast, “ESG Talk,” opened the door for conversations with executives at key accounts they were targeting in their sales cycle. By prioritizing guests who were executives at target customer companies, Workiva was able to move into the proposal phase with certain guests.
‘ESG Talk’ in the news
- CSRWire: Unraveling ESG Regulation ft. Andromeda Wood and Steve Soter, Workiva
- CSRWire: Human Capital and the Dividend of Trust ft. Bhushan Sethi, PwC
- CSRWire: Taking a Stand as a Brand Ft. Peter Land, DICK’S Sporting Goods
- CSRWire: The ROI of Sustainability Ft. Tensie Whelan, NYU Stern
- CSRWire: The Go-To Podcast for the Latest ESG Trends, Topics, and Tips