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The Internal Comms Review: “To inform and entertain”: how podcasts could be the answer to your internal comms conundrum

One of the joys of my personal and professional life has been listening to podcasts. This habitual daily intercession has been a companion through job changes, grief, fitness regimes and vegetable chopping. From the comforting, weekly musings of Jenny Éclair and Judith Holder on Older and Wider, to the gripping, scintillation of true crime dramas like Sweet Bobby and Ghost Story, to the PR musings of David Yelland and Simon Lewis on shows like When It Hits The Fan and the PRmoment podcast - these have been the soundtrack to my daily life.

But is this medium the right tool to engage employees?

Richard Miron thinks so. He’s the CEO and founder of Earshot Strategies, a London-based podcast consultancy, that has worked with international organisations (including the UN and EU) as well as multi-national companies. Miron says: “Podcasts are currently an under-utilized resource for internal communications and there is considerable room for growth and creativity.”

That said, not all podcasts are made equal and there are a few things to consider when mulling this medium for your next internal marketing campaign.

Five things to consider:

1. Accessibility and Convenience: Podcasts offer unparalleled accessibility, allowing employees to consume content at their own pace, regardless of location or schedule. Miron points to BBC research that has shown that people are even more engaged in what they are hearing when they are doing something else, like exercise or driving. Worth noting: Individuals with hearing impairments may face challenges in engaging with audio-only content so make sure you provide alternative formats.

2. Engaging Content Delivery: You can create engaging content via a more dynamic platform that captures the audience’s attention and fosters a deeper connection with the company's mission, values, and goals. Worth noting: Maintaining consistent quality and relevance can be a significant challenge. Take time to think about what you want to achieve and whether you have the tenacity to keep it going.

3. Flexibility and Personalisation: With podcasts, you have the flexibility to tailor content to specific departments, teams, or topics, catering to the diverse interests and needs. This personalisation enhances the resonance and impact. Worth noting: From planning and scripting to recording and editing, the production process can be time-consuming and resource-intensive, especially for organisations with limited bandwidth or experience in audio production. Without adequate support and investment, the quality and consistency may suffer.

Miron: “Podcasts must be made with the specific audience in mind. So, where radio is for broadcasting, podcasts are best deployed in narrowcasting to a target group. Personal stories, rather than data will also keep people listening, which is vital to the success of the podcast.”

4. Multimodal Learning Experience: Podcasts offer a different style that appeals to auditory learners which can be supplemented with visual aids or transcripts. This versatility promotes more understanding and retention. Worth noting: Organisations must navigate compliance and confidentiality concerns when sharing sensitive information via podcasts. As with any form of content and learning, companies may need to put safeguards in place to protect proprietary data, trade secrets, or employee privacy, ensuring that podcasts comply with relevant regulations and policies.

5. Cost-Effectiveness: With the proliferation of user-friendly recording and editing tools, organisations can create high-quality content with minimal investment, making podcasts a viable option for businesses of all sizes. Worth noting: Producing podcasts may be more cost effective than other medium but they’re not cheap and measuring their impact and effectiveness can be challenging. It’s difficult to show accurate ROI with podcasts unlike other channels that can show click-through rates. So Miron advises using other metrics such as internal surveys, assessments of changes to traffic to parts of a company website, and responses to online calls to action.

As technology continues to evolve, podcasts are poised to play an increasingly integral role in shaping the future of internal communications within organisations worldwide.

There will be some trial and error but by mitigating potential pitfalls through careful planning, resource allocation, and evaluation, organisations can harness their power to foster stronger connections, enhance knowledge sharing, and cultivate a more informed and engaged workforce.

But it’s worthwhile remembering, they take expertise, effort, and commitment. A podcast, like a pet, should not just be for Christmas!

This PRmoment Internal Comms Review is written by Naomi Kerbel, Communications Director at SEC Newgate and host of the Show Me The Way podcast, which profiles trailblazing women.

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