In the new-uses-for-something-old department, may I suggest podcasts for internal communications? I remember talking about the potential for podcasts with a client back in 2003 or so. At the time, podcasts seemed very cool. Although my interest in them lasted about five minutes and then I promptly forgot about them.
Podcasts have been steadily gaining listeners ever since. According to the Pew Research Center, a third of Americans have listened to at least one podcast. And 15 percent of Americans have listened to one in the past month. The surge in podcast popularity was helped along by the huge fan base of Serial, the podcast that narrated the reinvestigation of a 1999 murder. Also, by the prevalence of smartphones. One of the big commercial podcast hosting companies reported to Pew that 63 percent of their 2.6 billion downloads in 2014 were requested from a mobile device.
There are two reasons I think podcasts could be powerful for internal communications. The first is that it gives us a way to connect with one of the most difficult-to-reach employee segments: those without dedicated computers at work. In Tribe’s experience, those non-desk workers are more likely to own a smartphone than a home computer. If we can create compelling podcast content that employees will actually download, that could be huge.
The second reason is that it can be a great channel for leadership communications. Many top executives are absolutely fantastic in front of a crowd but get uncomfortably awkward on video. With podcasts, there are no lights, no cameras and no one fussing around trying to talk the CEO into “just a little powder.” Bad hair days go unnoticed on podcasts. The production can be as easy as sitting in front of a computer talking into a decent microphone.
Podcasts can help employees feel the human connection they crave with their top managment. First, think about reading a CEO blog that’s clearly ghostwritten and has had every breath of life beaten out of it through a lengthy review process. Now imagine hearing that CEO talking directly into your ear — about the vision he or she has for the company, or a new product roll out, or even the reasons behind a major change inititiative. It’s authentic, it’s personal, and at its best, unscripted.
Interested in using podcasts for your internal communications? Tribe can help.
Note: If you’re interested in podcasts, that will be one channel addressed in my presentation for IABC Atlanta titled “The Horizontal Silo: How to bridge the disconnect between the C-suite and the rest of the company.” Find details here for the lunch meeting, which is tomorrow, October 27.