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Why your company’s first podcast should be internal

Are you thinking about creating a podcast inside your organisation?

If so, make sure you know how it will fit into your channels mix.

Which channel will you retire and replace with a podcast?

What’s the business problem you are hoping a podcast will solve?

Regular readers of my blog will know I’ve written about internal podcasts numerous times on the All Things IC blog over the years. I’ll include recommended reading at the end of this article.

I re-introduced my own podcast, Candid Comms, in 2021 to provide evergreen advice and guidance for Comms pros around the world.

Jargon buster: Evergreen means it doesn’t date, so if you are stuck on a particular topic, do check out the episodes.

Thank you to everyone who has tuned in over the past three seasons. You can find Candid Comms via your favourite podcast player, or listen via the website.

Today I have a guest post for you by Brian Landau. He is is CEO of Vennly, a US-based audio platform that enables businesses to seamlessly, securely, and privately share podcast content to existing channels of communication like Sharepoint, Slack, FirstUp, MangoApps, and others.

Prior to Vennly, Brian was EVP of Strategy at Cadence13, which is a top podcast network. Brian is a graduate of Syracuse University and has a Masters of Business Administration from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

I’ll hand you over…

Why your company's first podcast should be internal

Why your company’s first podcast should be internal

When COVID-19 ushered in an era of remote work, businesses of all shapes and sizes began experimenting with new content and distribution formats to keep employees, customers, and prospects engaged.

One of the most notable shifts in consumption of content during the pandemic was that of listening to podcasts. Whereas before the pandemic, podcasting was an activity for commuting, now listening to podcasts happens at  home during work hours as opposed to during commuting. And people are listening to a lot of podcasts.

On average, podcast listeners listen to eight different shows per week and 58% of Americans between the ages of 35 and 54 agree that spoken word audio content is an important part of their day!

The implication of the success of podcasting, and how integral it has become to American at-home habits, is that many businesses have begun to experiment with the medium. Oftentimes, what happens during this phase of experimentation is that the marketing department “owns” the podcasting product because podcasts are seen as an external marketing tool.

There’s an issue with this approach, however.

Launching a podcast externally to a podcast directory such as Apple and Spotify doesn’t actually get B2B marketing and communication teams what they are hungry for: analytics and feedback loops. All that’s available in terms of analytics is the number of downloads a podcast episode can achieve, but there is no way to easily link that to any further actions, such as referring a friend to the brand or purchasing a product.

How can marketers build and codify podcasting best practices when they can’t learn what’s “best” about their content?

Comments on social media may help some, but they’re biased: it’ll be your biggest fans or biggest trolls acting like… well…how people act on social media.

So what’s a Comms team to do? Start with launching the podcast internally.

When you launch a podcast for your first audience – your employees – you can encourage and facilitate feedback on the content through internal channels.

Your employees are already likely to be avid podcast listeners who know what works and what doesn’t.

Listen to them. They’ll help you to establish the best practices for recording, editing, and promoting your content to get you ready for an external launch down the line.

And what’s more, you can recognise them for their contributions along the way.

Your internal podcast should still have a primary audience, and the content that you create should address the needs of that primary audience.

You need to answer these questions first:

  • Why should the primary audience listen?
  • What existing channels do you use to communicate with this primary audience?
  • What do you want the listener to do after listening?
  • How will you use the audio content to measure outcomes?
  • Without the crutch of “downloads,” how will you measure success on the initiative?

These are muscles that get developed with repetition. Professionals who work in internal communications and employee experience have already thought about these questions and likely have an established rubric. Apply the podcast to that rubric.

You’ll want to document what you’ve learned about the following process because it will inform your publishing cadence:

  • How long did it take from recording the episode to completing the final edit?
  • How long did it take from final edit to publishing the content?
  • Within how many days did it take to achieve 80% of the total listening goal on a given episode (remember: podcasting is an on-demand format and you’ll achieve long tail listening on an episode)?
  • What channel of communication elicited the greatest engagement during promotion (e.g. email vs. Slack, email vs. Yammer, etc)?

My view? Your company absolutely should have a podcast; it’s tablestakes now.

But your company’s first podcast should be internal.

You’ll recognise employees, have candid conversations, and develop the skills necessary to be successful when it’s time to promote the content externally.

Post author: Brian Landau.

Thank you Brian.

What do you think of what you’re read? I hope you’ve found this article useful.

Further reading about internal communication podcasts via the All Things IC blog

List of companies who are using podcasts for internal communication

Thank you for stopping by

Rachel.

First published on the All Things IC blog 5 April 2022.

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Comments

  1. Carl Holloway says:

    Rachel – please add Great Places Housing Group to your list of IC podcasts!! Would love to jump on a Zoom and show you our studio set up and how we share the content etc.

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