Leveraging Video and Podcasts to Drive Small Business Growth

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Chapter 1

THE SHIFT

Although business owners and marketers do our best to prepare for the unexpected, most of us could never have imagined that a global pandemic would arise, upending our operations and disrupting our plans for the future.

 

We’ve freaked out. We’ve calmed down. And now it’s time to shift. Here’s everything you need to know to stay steady through a global crisis and prepare for growth in the new world that will emerge.

 

 

How to Find Small Business Growth Opportunities During a Global Crisis 

While all business owners and marketers are resilient (it’s in the job description), resiliency isn’t actually what we need right now. 

 

To be resilient means we have the ability to snap back to normal after a disruption. 

 

However, the scale of this global crisis has made it very unlikely that we’ll be returning to business as usual. The environment that emerges after the dust settles will be something completely different.

 

"Rather than being resilient, we need to be ADAPTABLE. We’ll need to pivot to a new business growth strategy to help us thrive in a post-pandemic world."

 

Adapting to change in the business environment

How do you react to change?

 

Think about a child’s reaction to hearing thunder for the first time. They may be frightened and anxious, eager to hide. An adult, on the other hand, knows that thunder is a natural phenomenon that cannot hurt you. It’s natural to be afraid of the unknown; but knowledge is what takes the fear out of the equation.

 

Knowing your business, knowing your customers, knowing your competitors, and knowing the world of growth marketing will enable you to manage upheaval with confidence and clarity, and help you understand how to find new business opportunities in the shifted marketing climate.

 

 

Business positioning and strategy

Odds are, what you’ve been doing as far as positioning and strategy aren’t going to work anymore, at least not for a while. A global pandemic puts business operations on a new, unfamiliar axis. 

 

The game has changed, and you’ll need to play defense and offense at the same time. 

 

DEFENSE: Pull back on promotion

With sweeping transformations in the condition of the global economy, consumer behavior, and even government regulations, an outbound marketing approach is simply too broad. 

 

Start by withdrawing any “set it and forget it” promotions you’ve already developed. 

 

The fact is, your existing outbound digital marketing strategy is likely to be dissonant or even offensive in this new business environment. What was important or attractive to your target market at the beginning of 2020 may not even be on their radar during and after the global crisis. Bombarding your target market with ads is not likely to move the needle. 

 

From a budget standpoint, promotion often has a lower ROI as it relies on casting a big net to catch as many leads as possible, rather than using a targeted approach for lead prospecting.

 

 

OFFENSE: Deliver engaging, useful content

Your job in the new business environment is to build awareness of the solutions you offer. That is done through first offering something of value to your audience. Especially when belts are being tightened around the world, you’ll need to show that what you bring to the table will be worth their time and investment.

 

Anyone who was in sales or marketing in the midst of the 2008 recession remembers how precarious it was to get leads. Once you found one, convincing them to invest was a whole new ballgame. Getting anyone to open their wallets took more than flashy pitches and great rapport. Suddenly, value and partnership were EVERYTHING. 

 

If you’ve already been using an inbound marketing strategy focused on delivering engaging and helpful content, this transition may be smoother for you. You’ve already been sowing the seeds to prepare for times when businesses can no longer rely on quantity to scoop up qualified leads.

 

The next question is: what kind of content is most efficient, and cost-effective?

 

 

YouTube: The Second-Largest Search Engine

Video just might be the superhero we need during and after a global crisis, and YouTube is where most of this content lives. 

 

More than 3 billion searches are initiated each month on YouTube, and it reaches more US adults than any cable network.

 

We clearly have the right platform, but what about the content? 

 

Focusing on exceptional video content increases the potency of your inbound marketing strategy. Video is one of the most effective forms of content because it allows you to demonstrate who you are and what you offer in a format that meets demands in media consumption. 

One tidbit that has become more obvious as a result of social distancing is that video helps us feel connected. We can convey tone and personality, visually engage our audience, and deliver information in a more “human” way via video. 


Fortunately for businesses looking to scale back costs, content for YouTube video marketing doesn’t need to be flashy and polished to be effective. The videos you produce just need to be valuable to your target market.

 


This episode of the Lights, Camera, Grow Podcast takes a deep dive into current shifts in consumer behavior and content consumption. We also talk about what companies need to do to adapt, and explain one of our strategies for creating scalable content with video podcasting.

 

Chapter 2

THE STAKES

How to Leverage The Power of Video Podcasting for Your Small Business Marketing Strategy

Marketing thought leaders have asserted that the way we do business will be dramatically different in the wake of the pandemic. 

 

In the midst of this global crisis, companies that already do video well are set up to take market share in the new business environment that is emerging. 

 

We can compare this shift to what happened when small businesses and mom-and-pop stores suddenly realized that social media marketing was not a fad, and that they needed to jump on the bandwagon QUICKLY.

 

The winners in the new business environment will be companies that already have rich media content (videos and podcasts) and an excellent distribution system to put that content in front of their target audience.

 

Anyone who’s late to the party will have to scramble...and scrambling is not the best way to find success.

 

 

Advantages of Employing a Video Podcast

Video podcasting is the ideal format to start with while building your rich media content. If you nail video podcasting, it becomes the platform upon which the power of video marketing is built.

 

 

What makes an effective video podcasting marketing strategy?

In many ways, your rich media content should meet the same standards as your written content (such as blogs, ebooks, website copy, etc). Keep the following in mind as you formulate a video marketing campaign strategy:

Video podcast marketing strategy elements

 

  • Deliver engaging content: Solve a problem or challenge, explore an interesting topic, or use storytelling to engage your target audience and leave a lasting impression.
  • Build brand awareness: Video podcasting helps you attract new audiences by giving you a great way to introduce yourself. By presenting the human side of your brand, you invite the audience to get to know your company on a level that’s hard to reach through written content and images alone.
  • Differentiate your brand personality: It’s possible to convey some of your personality through writing and photos, but there’s much more opportunity to demonstrate your brand authenticity using podcasting and video. 
  • Showcase your brand value: What do you offer that’s different from your competitors? Rich media is the best way to demonstrate your edge, especially if the difference is tied to PEOPLE within the organization. 
  • Entertain your audience: Keeping your audience emotionally engaged leads to higher viewer retention. Entertainment doesn’t mean you’re performing magic tricks or doing a song and dance. Humor, a compelling story, a lively demonstration, an interesting discussion, or any other tailored content that attracts and holds your audience’s attention counts as entertainment.
  • Increase traffic generation for more potential leads: Of course, the goal for your video podcasting efforts is ultimately to bring in qualified leads. A rich, focused media strategy brings you both organic leads and paid traffic.

 

 

ORGANIC: We mentioned earlier that YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world. If you have no videos, you’re forgoing your slice of the 3 billion searches made each month on YouTube. 

 

You spend a significant amount of time SEO-ing your written content, and the same principles apply to your videos. You can and should implement SEO strategies to your video content for YouTube. This includes your video titles, descriptions/show notes, tags, and transcripts.

 

Along with YouTube content searches, SEO optimized videos will also help you rank in video results from Google searches. You don’t want to miss out on that bonus opportunity!

 

 

PAID: Videos on YouTube can generate traffic in several ways.

 

1. Retargeted ads: Retarget viewers by linking your YouTube account to Google AdWords or your Facebook Ads account.

 

You’ll need a solid collection of videos on your YouTube account so that, after you’ve retargeted a lead, the rest of your content can continue to move them through the sales funnel.

 

2. Video ads: Use portions of your videos as skippable or non-skippable video ads.

 

3. Sponsored cards: Add a sponsored card to your videos to promote a CTA or your other content

 

 

Why businesses without a podcast/video strategy will fall behind

The new marketing environment is bound to materialize VERY quickly. There’s still time to develop and begin to execute a video/YouTube podcasting strategy, but the cutoff is fast approaching.

 

The champions of the post-pandemic small and medium business world will be the ones who prepared diligently for the rising importance of video. Everyone else will be left to play catch-up.

 

Here’s why the old growth marketing strategies won’t be enough:

 

  1. Inflexible content: Blogs, e-books, lead magnets, email, and website copy, while still necessary to your marketing content efforts, lack versatility. To borrow an old phrase, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Written content omits things that help us understand each other, like body language, tone of voice, expressions...the human aspects of communication.

  2. Limited content exposure: Even if you nail the written content portion of your small business marketing strategy, you’re still missing vast amounts of people performing searches through YouTube. In fact, the number of searches performed on YouTube each month is greater than Bing, Yahoo!, Ask and AOL searches combined. Your blogs, e-books, and web copy aren’t getting a single slice of that pie.

  3. Less interest and engagement: The foundational principle of inbound marketing is to provide value to your audience.  A majority of consumers prefer video content, so if you’re only providing blogs and e-books, the actual value you offer is not as high as it could be. 

 

Video content also keeps consumers engaged longer than blogs or ebooks. Whereas a visitor might skim through a blog post in a couple of minutes and move along, you’re likely to capture the attention of a potential lead for much longer using video.

 


Check out this episode of our Lights, Camera, Grow Podcast for more on how to use video podcasts to grow your business!

 

Chapter 3

THE FUTURE

How to Use the Benefits of YouTube to Drive Small Business Growth

YouTube may not be the first platform that comes to mind when discussing podcasts. But for many reasons, YouTube is the podcasting power player of the future.

 

 

Why focus on YouTube for your podcast marketing strategy?

A survey by Canadian Podcast Listeners found that 43% of people went to YouTube for podcasts in 2019, putting YouTube well ahead of Apple Podcasts (34%) and Spotify (23%). This is likely due to a few key benefits of YouTube’s capabilities:

 

  • Searchability: YouTube’s search feature, along with ranking from Google, make it easy for listeners to find the podcast they’re looking for on YouTube’s platform.

  • Notifications: YouTube notifications are delivered as an RSS feed when a new podcast episode is available.

  • Watch and listen: Podcasts that include both video and audio appease all engagement preferences.

 

 

Technical Optimization Insights

There are many techniques involved in using a video podcasting strategy to generate traffic, strengthen search engine optimization (SEO), and domain authority. Fortunately, if you have experience with building SEO using a traditional content strategy, this should sound familiar.

YouTube Technical Optimization Chart
    1. Video transcripts and captions: Transcribing and captioning the audio of your podcast has the same effect on YouTube’s search engine as a blog post does for a traditional search engine. Plus, Google will index this text when tabulating video search results.

    2. SEO optimized titles, descriptions/show notes, and tags: Add text notes to your video titles and descriptions that include valuable keywords. Adding-keyword relevant tags to your videos will further enable YouTube to gain more context about your content, so that it appears in search results.

    3. Add to blog posts: Link or embed your video within relevant blog content.

    4. Backlinks: Link guests’ websites within your show notes and other text associated with your video podcasts to strengthen domain authority.

    5. Take advantage of analytical data: Video hosting platforms like Vidyard and Wistia provide invaluable data, like who’s watching your video podcasts, heatmaps to demonstrate which parts of each video they’re watching, and which ones are garnering key video engagement signals like re-watches and interactions.

       

Website, social media, and multi-channel engagement 

The purpose of making a video podcast is to create a sophisticated top-of-funnel lead generation strategy that establishes brand awareness and, of course, guides leads toward a conversion. You’ll be using several channels for this growth marketing approach, along with some strategic content manipulations.

 

 

Pillars and microcontent

It’s recommended that you upload 2-4 pieces of video content per week. Does that mean you need to record and share multiple full-length video podcasts each week? Not if you’re smart about it! Here’s the secret:

 

Step 1: Create ONE full-length video podcast episode per week. Upload it to your main video podcast channels. For example, audio + video will go to YouTube, and audio-only will go to Apple Podcasts.

 

Step 2: Break your podcast into clips or highlights, also called microcontent. Depending on the topic, these can be as short as one or two minutes, up to several minutes for a more in-depth subject.

 

Step 3: Launch the micro-content on multiple channels. These clips and highlights can be shared as social media content, embedded in blog posts, and included in email marketing—pretty much anywhere you have an online presence.

 

Clips can even be used by your sales team. Instead of the dreaded, “do you have time for a 15-minute call?” email, your team can send value-packed video podcast segments to potential clients.

 

One important tip is to ensure that each piece of micro-content is associated with a call-to-action. What do you want the viewer or listener to do next? Check out your business YouTube channel? Visit a landing page to capture their email address? 

 

Think of the rest of the marketing funnel as you create and distribute your video podcasts and microcontent. Here's a video to help you better understand and visualize the concept:

 

 

 
Tobe Agency - Pillar Content Method

 

 

How the pillar + micro-content concept benefits your business

Along with being integral to your top-of-funnel strategy, video podcasting will have some holistic marketing benefits that impact your business and brand in less direct (but very important) ways:

    • Video podcasting boosts brand awareness: A multi-channel video approach is a digital strategy that puts your brand in front of your target audience from several platforms. The more impressions you make, the more familiar people will be with your style, your personality, and your unique selling points.

    • Video podcasting builds your online presence: Video distribution in channels like your website, landing pages, and social media accounts allow your audience to learn about you and your products or services in an engaging and dynamic way.

    • Video podcasting builds brand loyalty and trust: Putting faces and voices with a brand adds the invaluable human aspect to your content marketing strategy. Video podcasting magnifies your authenticity, which often feels hard to come by in the world of digital marketing.

    • Video podcasting gives you the benefits of YouTube’s search engine: Creating video content opens up your top of funnel strategy to include YouTube, the second-largest search engine behind Google. Without YouTube marketing, you’re missing a big slice of the search engine pie.

 

Types of marketing video content 

Your video podcasts should include a mix of evergreen content and customer lifecycle content. 

  1. Evergreen video content

    Content that is evergreen can be reused and repurposed because it is not time-sensitive or time-specific. It is relevant year-round, just like evergreen trees have leaves year-round:

      • Explainer videos give viewers a broad explanation of a subject, such as a product or service you offer or a relevant industry topic. You often see these as short animated videos, so consider formatting your video podcast so that it can be broken into explainer video microcontent.

      • Tutorial videos teach the audience how to do something. This type of content is a particularly valuable addition to your YouTube marketing strategy because of the high volume of “how-to” searches done through the platform’s search engine. 

  1. B2B customer lifecycle videos

    Customer lifecycle videos focus on where the viewer is within the marketing funnel (case study). It is optimal to have a range of video content that is suitable for each stage:

      • Top-Of-Funnel (TOFU): At the top of the funnel, the goal is to build awareness. High-level explanations of your business and the pain points your products or services address make great TOFU content, along with vlogs, promotions, and product launches.

      • Middle-Of-Funnel (MOFU): Things like webinars and thought leadership content work best for MOFU. Here, your leads are looking for a deeper dive into specific topics and discussions. This content should be informative, authentic, and thought-provoking.

      • Bottom-Of-Funnel (BOFU): Leads at the bottom of the funnel are already aware and engaged.

        BOFU content includes things like company culture videos, case studies, and product walkthroughs. 

 


With this episode of Lights, Camera, Grow, you'll learn how to use YouTube to drive your small business growth. We discuss a few strategies we employ for small businesses on a tight budget, an easy and effective way to fill your social media calendar with rich media, and more.

 

Chapter 4

THE OBSTACLES

How to do a Podcast: Overcoming Challenges

Now you know WHY you need a podcast. It’s time to make it happen! The best thing about producing a video podcast is that it can be executed effectively with just about any level of resources. Here’s how to record a podcast that is helpful, engaging, and functional within your content strategy:

Video podcast production schedule reference*This is a sample timeline - subject to change based on the project

 

1. Pre-production phase: Planning and strategy

There’s a surprising amount of work involved in pre-production. The way you manage this stage can make or break your video podcast strategy:

 

    • Budget - How much money will you spend on your podcast strategy? And of that, how much will be allocated specifically to production?

    • Time - How much time would you like to spend on producing your video podcast content?

    • Cadence - How often will you upload full-length podcasts? Are there any factors within your industry that you need to consider when it comes to timing (for example, seasonality)?

    • Goals - What results are you aiming for? Do you intend to heighten brand awareness? Driving traffic to a landing page for lead generation? Engage a new audience segment? Any marketing strategy needs specific, measurable goals. Podcasting, although a largely creative endeavor, is no different.

    • Guests - Who will be on your podcast? What will they talk about in their podcast interview? Will they be in a studio or participate over a video call service like Skype or Zoom? What will you do if a planned podcast guest is unexpectedly unavailable?

      Some good rules of thumb are to line up some backup guests in case of unexpected cancellations, keep a flexible topic, and give your guests plenty of lead time to record before the podcast is supposed to be produced.

      Along with offering value to your audience, having awesome guests is a surefire way to grow your video podcast. If your guest has their own audience, you can reach them as well through cross-promotion.

    • Content strategy - Knowing how to structure a podcast is half the battle. What are you going to talk about in each episode? Do you have a viable long-term content plan? After you nail down things like topics and show ideas, plan each episode in terms of microcontent. Space your questions or subject changes in a way that will make it easy to chop the podcast into clips and highlights.

    • Aligning marketing and creative teams - facilitate communication between your marketing team and your production team to ensure that the creative content you produce synergizes with your marketing strategy. You’ll need to discuss things like your keyword strategy and the types of blog posts that will link to your podcast content.

 

2. Production

If you’ve put in your legwork during the pre-production phase, your podcast production experience will go more smoothly.

 

For your very first podcast, you’ll need to find the right tools and equipment for your level of resources. Here’s how to record a podcast with a minimalistic setup:

      1. Equipment

        Of course, the essentials for video podcasting are a computer and video recording equipment, like a camcorder or digital camera that supports lengthy video capture. You’ll also want to consider an external microphone for better audio quality, memory cards to record footage, and tripods to position your cameras properly.

         

        For video quality, consider your lighting source as well. If your studio or recording space is poorly lit, you may need ring lights or other basic lighting equipment.

      2. Recording and editing software

        • Zencastr offers high-quality audio recording and editing capabilities created specifically for podcasting, with a built-in VoIP service to chat with guests and automatic Dropbox or Google Drive integration.

        • iMovie and Windows Movie Maker are free editing programs that allow you to record your audio and video into the software and edit your files immediately after you record them.

        • The Adobe Suite includes programs like Adobe Premiere for editing, Adobe After Effects for motion and graphics, and Adobe Audition for audio mixing.

           

          There are lots of video editing apps available, just do your research and choose the video editor that best fits your podcasting goals.

 

3. Post-production treatment

Allow time for yourself or your creative team to edit your video podcasts in a way that makes it consumable and compatible with your marketing strategy. You’ll need to export an audio-only file for platforms like Apple Podcasts and Spotify, plus an audio/video file for YouTube and other video microcontent needs.


Setting up your distribution channels can be a headache. Make sure you have a tech-savvy team member who can navigate account setups through YouTube, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, etc., as well as upload the content in a way that meets the requirements of each platform.

To make your video podcasts SEO-friendly, you’ll want to transcribe and/or caption all episodes and add show notes loaded with appropriate keywords. You’ll also need to thoughtfully divide your podcast into consumable clips to be used within your multi-channel top-of-funnel strategy.


4. Monitoring and optimizing 

Learning how to grow your podcast is a result of monitoring, analyzing, and optimizing the data you are able to gather from your distribution channels, such as views and social shares.

 

Some video hosting platforms give you an added layer of information, such as how long viewers watched your video podcast, which videos were rewatched, and which podcast episodes were not very engaging. 


Check out this episode of the Lights, Camera, Grow Podcast to take a deep dive into the pre-production process with Tobe Agency's Co-founder and Creative Director, Jared Sanders.

 

 

Chapter 5

SUCCESS STORIES

Successful Podcasts: Video Podcast Success Stories

We are living in “the Golden Age of Podcasts.” In 2018, Apple reported 550,000 active podcasts and 18.5 million episodes. By 2020, those numbers had risen to 850,000 active podcasts and more than 30 million episodes!


We predict that this global crisis will create a video podcasting boom, as businesses look for ways to connect with their audience at the top of the funnel in a format that’s attainable during periods of social distancing or other disruptions to daily life.


The companies that maintain a strong presence in this new business environment will be the ones who’ve already built a strong presence around their video podcasting efforts. 


How do podcasts generate revenue? 

There are a few types of podcast revenue streams:

  1. Pre-roll/Adsense advertisements: These podcasts take the approach of traditional television programs, for example, who make money from commercials. Often, the advertisements are pre-recorded and read by the host of the podcast. An example of this is The Joe Rogan Experience.

  2. Donations: Some podcasts rely on crowdfunding, almost like NPR’s fundraising format.

  3. Subscriptions and paywalls: Some podcasts are hosted on a paid platform, such as Luminary, or require a subscription to listen.

  4. Lead generation and customer acquisition: This is the approach used by branded podcasts, like our own Lights, Camera, Grow. Branded podcasts build brand awareness and brand loyalty, and build new top-of-funnel channels for your business.

 

How do successful podcasts generate leads and convert them?

The best branded podcasts effectively marry CONTENT and STRATEGY. Content encompasses the valuable knowledge you present to the audience, the entertainment level you provide, and the problems that you solve. The strategy includes your SEO and your coverage of distribution channels like YouTube, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, social media, etc.

 

If a podcast has excellent content but no strategy, there’s nowhere for the content to go. It’s out there, but people aren’t likely to find it on their own.

 

A podcast with a solid strategy but poor content will turn off any viewers or listeners that enter the top of the funnel and give it a try.

 

Example 1 - A successful B2C podcast:

 

Trader Joe’s is a quirky grocery store chain with a cult following. Their branded podcast, Inside Trader Joe’s, increases brand loyalty and draws in new loyalists by providing a humorous, engaging look behind-the-scenes.   

 

Example 2 - A successful B2B podcast:

 

HubSpot has curated an impressive collection of b2b podcasts, covering topics ranging from company culture and inclusivity to entrepreneurship. As a growth marketing agency, you can bet their SEO strategy for each podcast is on point!

 

Creating a branded podcast to enhance lead generation and increase sales and conversions is a solid way to approach marketing during and after a global crisis.

 

Fusing excellent content with a well-planned strategy helps you connect with your target audience from anywhere, whether you’re podcasting from a studio or from your home.

 


Starting a podcast isn't that hard, but the key is making it a successful one – and that can be challenging! In this episode of Lights, Camera, Grow, we conduct case studies of successful podcasts and why it's working for them.

 

 

If you could use some strategy guidance or even a full podcast production team, the experts at Tobe are ready to jump in. Best of luck, and happy podcasting!

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