Tech B2B Media Strategies During COVID-19

5/14/2020
— Lindsay Yanko, Account Manager & Matt Trocchio, SVP, GM - Austin 

Update 5/14/20: Two months into the COVID-19 pandemic, Matt Trocchio and Lindsay Yanko revisited their late 2019 blog about podcasts and B2B media strategy.

We all know the world is changing minute by the minute, However, sometimes seeing the data in that very reality can be rather remarkable. In April, the New York Times published “The Virus Changed the Way We Internet,” which discusses how global shelter-in-place orders have drastically increased our use of entertainment platforms like Netflix and YouTube, and social sites like Facebook and Twitter. Enterprise videoconference platforms are even a hot topic in mainstream media now. However, what caught our eye were the changes to the media landscape. As the article points out:

“Americans appear to want few things more than the latest news on the coronavirus. Among the biggest beneficiaries are local news sites, with huge jumps in traffic as people try to learn how the pandemic is affecting their hometowns. Americans have also been seeking out more established media brands for information on the public health crisis and its economic consequences. CNBC, the business news site, has seen readership skyrocket. The websites for The New York Times and The Washington Post have both grown traffic more than 50 percent over the last month, according to SimilarWeb.”

The margin for non-COVID-19 content is growing smaller by the day. Does that mean there are no options? That it’s pandemic coverage or nothing? Of course not. But it does mean you need to think beyond the core media list you may have relied on in the past and start looking at niche outlets and vertical publications still in need of relevant news.

With the news feeds of major media outlets now dedicated almost exclusively to the coronavirus, you should consider outlets and channels that have a “longer shelf life” and will provide your messages with more room to start conversations. What newsletters, podcasts, forums and other subscribable content makes sense for your brand?

With that in mind, we thought it would be helpful to revisit this post on considering podcasts as part of your ongoing B2B media strategy. Please note: This blog content originally posted in November 2019:

 

Not too long ago, podcasts had a reputation as a throw-away medium. Not quite radio, not quite satellite offerings, not as prestigious as cable TV or as accessible as online streaming. Now, however, they’re many consumers’ go-to source for information and entertainment.

One out of three Americans listens to at least one podcast a month, and dedicated podcast listeners spend six and a half hours a week tuned in. According to Variety, Apple Podcasts lists more than 750,000 shows, and Google is indexing the content of more than 2 million podcasts. Now you can search for content to your heart’s desire, shows focused on TV programs, sports, politics, business, crime and more.

This opens up a world of difficult-to-reach audiences. Podcasts are a communicator’s dream for reaching niche industries. The medium has formed a unique culture of micro-influencers reeling in target audiences ready to listen, consume content and engage. WE connects with technology podcast producers to create conversation within and across industries, while also developing meaningful relationships for our clients. For example, we’ve had success pitching tech B2B clients with highly technical, sophisticated stories around cybersecurity and infrastructure trends to podcasts like This Week in Tech (TWiT).

This Week in Tech is run out of a tech hub, San Francisco, and has a unique monthly visitor count of 58K and growing. That’s 58,000 people hungry to hear the kind of tech stories it can be difficult to land in outlets with broader audiences.

So, why should podcasts be an integral part of your B2B tech storytelling?

 

1. Enterprise tech podcasts reach the audiences you need

When including B2B technology podcasts in your strategy, you’ll want to make sure your objectives are A) qualitative reach, not quantitative, and B) relationship-building — many podcast producers are also involved with more traditional outlets. These are helpful people for you to know.

Take advantage of podcasts’ niche audiences! A lot of podcasts have topic subsets you can use to better your quality of reach. This Week in Tech, for example, runs a show that specifically touches on enterprise tech and security topics: This Week in Enterprise Tech. It’s a smaller audience, but one primed to hear exactly the kind of stories you want to tell.

Other podcasts have similarly narrow and deep audiences: the Azure DevOps Podcast, Women in Tech, the Microsoft Cloud Show, CloudCast, and hundreds of others cover industry happenings in a fine-grained way to dedicated listeners.

 

2. B2B podcasts are like broadcast but better

Although it might feel like an unfamiliar medium, you can treat podcasts very similarly to how you treat other media engagements. Your story should align with the audience’s interests, while simultaneously making the producer excited to have you in for a discussion. Tech B2B leaders have an advantage here — these are producers, editors and audiences who speak their language already. Short of forums and Reddit posts, you won’t find an audience more willing to dive deep into technical detail.

Arm yourself with media training and a brief, just as you would for broadcast. The hosts are experts in your field and will do research on their own, so make sure you do your research too! You can expect the hosts to deviate and ask some off-the-wall questions. The This Week in Tech episodes are produced live and shared as podcasts later, so there’s a fine balance to be struck between working in your talking points and letting the conversation flow where it wants.

Being interviewed for TV, broadcast, print or online mediums can be uncomfortable for some spokespeople. They may feel pressure to nail a tight soundbite, or be concerned about having the proper time to do justice to a topic or fear being misquoted. A podcast, at its heart, is a more in-depth conversation. It allows you to have a fantastic one-to-one chat that you then share with the world to listen to and learn from. That’s ultimately the goal of any communications effort.

 

3. B2B podcasts build long-term relationships

Just like with any other medium, securing repeat business with a podcast comes down to good first impressions. Bring on an excited and knowledgeable guest, be responsive and make it easy to work with you, because having a good relationship with a producer leads to more opportunities. They can offer recommendations for you to get in front of more interested audiences and will sometimes even act as referrals for other podcasts and outlets.

And once you work with a podcast a few times, your pitch can be shorter and more concise. Podcasts need a steady stream of content, and it pays to be a trusted provider of guests, but you have to put in the work to build the initial relationship.

Here at WE, our work is always client-first, so the primary objective is always a happy client. If you’re genuine, authentic and working with a purpose, that satisfaction should come naturally. When we asked our client about their experience on This Week in Enterprise Tech, we got the best response we could hope for: “This was a lot of fun.”

So … go out there and have some fun.

 

For more from the Austin team, check out their recap of SXSW, including top trends for the coming year.