Why podcasts have become an important internal communications channel

When do you think the last time busy staff members earnestly read a company newsletter and took in the information? Or do you think they scanned it, and deleted it, the copy already forgotten as they moved on with their next task, because we do.

In a world where the debate over remote and flexible working rages, internal communication professionals ask how on earth do you reconnect with staff, some of which haven’t been seen in the flesh since the pandemic. The answer has emerged as startlingly simple; podcasts. 

Once deemed as purely entertainment, we’ve all watched their spectacular growth with awe, finding our own favourites along the way. In fact, it’s almost impossible to avoid the shift to audio and podcasts across most areas of society, with our latest 4DC podcast consumption data showing that 66% of adults in Britain consider themselves a regular podcast listener, up on last year.

How does an employer speak to staff members in a human way? How can they effectively convey emotion, humour and understanding without it being ignored. No other channel is as powerful or as trusted as podcasting.

Less than 30% of respondents in The Gallagher State of the Sector Report 2021 said they were using audio for internal comms. Yet employee appetite for audio comms shines through loud and clear in our data 2022 podcast consumption: over half (52%) want leaders/ CEOs/ employers to use audio in internal comms, and 55% say they’d be more likely to engage should that happen.

The benefits of podcasting are clear, the ability to connect intimately with the audience as most people listen to podcasts alone, for 20-30 minutes (our latest 4DC survey shows the preferred average podcast length is 27 minutes) is something other forms of media can only dream of. Through podcasting IC PR’s can create evergreen content which can be utilised again and again, giving ongoing value through a number of assets. What’s more, podcasts and audio can hold the listener’s attention, pepper them with interesting data, ensure the message has been driven home and be accessed at anytime, anywhere. Through podcasting, we have the potential to run an interesting and informative one-on-one session with each individual employee – and you don’t have to provide coffee.

Often organisations shy away from new forms of internal communications because they assume the cost and hassle will be too much, but this is where the beauty of podcasting comes in. Entry costs are low and technology challenges easy to navigate. And often you can use your own staff coupled with some incredible external guests to ensure the business is buzzing with the new content. Promotion is through your own established channels which keeps the cost and time needed down, and the subject matter will inherently reflect the business and its people, allowing it to come together organically and easily.

Our advice would be to think about what teams really want to hear, how will they engage with the content and how can they find it without any hassle. By utilising internal talent who know the business and subject matter inside and out, you will be able to create content that is authentic and curated. Considering your staff as an ‘audience’ is incredibly important in influencing podcast content, this is why podcast for internal communications are so effective, you already know your audience, who they are, what their objectives are - and they’re even already tapped into the right distribution channels.

Something to ask yourself, is when was the last time you read through your own company newsletter, email from the boss? Did it grab you, entice you to keep reading? If not, and it falls to you to optimise staff communications, maybe think a little wider about how best to engage staff in a positive, modern way. For those businesses that haven’t considered an internal podcast, we suggest the time to act is now.

Article written by Peter Mitchell, group managing director, markettiers4DC

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