Are Podcasts Poised to Replace the Employee Newsletter?

You may have recently noticed a podcast renaissance of sorts. The success of Serial woke many brands, marketers, journalists, and more up to the power of the podcast. As a result, podcasts are popping up in almost every facet of business with renewed purpose, and targeting new audiences.

“As we carry these smart devices with us all the time, and as they not only become faster, have faster internet connections, and battery life becomes less and less of a problem, it’s easy to just listen to a podcast as you do other things,” says John Turner, CEO/founder of Pittsburgh-based Users Think.  But as podcasts proliferate are they making their way into organizations as a trendy employee communication tool that could, potentially, replace the ubiquitous employee newsletter? Not quite, says Turner. “Email still holds a unique place for distribution,” he notes, but he does believe that podcasting has some advantages over traditional text-based messaging.

Donna Papacosta is a communications consultant and the owner of Trafalgar Communications, based in Toronto. In 2005, Papacosta launched the Trafcom News Podcast, one of the first business-related podcasts in Canada. She’s an expert on podcasting, including the use of podcasts to communicate with employees. “Organizations are increasingly using podcasts internally,” she says. “The human touch of audio makes podcasting an engaging communication tool that can augment traditional face-to-face, print, and online media for company news, investor relations, marketing, product announcements, employee recruitment, training, and more.” But, she adds: “I don’t think podcasts will replace newsletters; they are complementary.”

Like any other of the newly emerging communication tools, podcasting is more of an add-on, than a replacement, for other existing tactics. For some employees, podcasts will be a go-to source of information; others will continue to prefer more traditional formats and, of course, from an internal communication standpoint, face-to-face is still the best way to communicate, when possible.

Still, podcasts have their place and for those organizations interested in exploring this option there are a number of best practices that can help ensure their effective use. First, says, Papacosta: “Be sure you have a plan so you know you can produce fresh, compelling content that will engage employees. Know your goals and how you will measure success.”

What do companies use podcasts for? She offers some suggestions:

  • Peers interviewing peers
  • Interviews with leaders
  • Communicating benefit information
  • Education and training
  • Recordings during or before conferences and symposia
  • Helping geographically dispersed employees keep in touch with happenings at the head office

There are any number of organizations that might find podcasts to be a good tool to connect with employees. One driver, of course, is the mobility of the workforce as James Alisch, managing director of Wow 1 Day Painting notes; those who spend a good deal of their day driving around are a natural audience for information delivered via podcast. Wow 1 Day Painting uses podcasts, he says, “as a means to cover topics ranging from how to deliver estimates to building strong crews.” The format, he says, “allows us to deliver content in short, manageable and actionable pieces.” An added bonus? “Recording is inexpensive and non-time intensive; during our last recording session we completed three episodes in less than an hour.”

Podcasts are relatively easy to produce, can help to connect more “personally” with employees, and offer portability that fits nicely with the proliferation of mobile devices in a world where information consumption is taking place in a growing number of settings. Podcasts could be just the right communication option to add to your internal communications toolkit to ensure that employees are able to access information in ways that best fit with increasingly busy lifestyles.

(Note: This piece was originally published by EContent.)

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Strategic Communications, LLC, works with B2B clients to help them achieve their goals through effective content marketing and management with both internal and external audiences. We are adept at evaluating and analyzing communication efforts and working with clients to plan, create and publish high-quality, unique content, through both on- and offline media to achieve desired results. Our background in business journalism, marketing, PR/media relations and online communications makes us well-positioned to serve the needs of 21st-century marketers.

We serve clients who are looking for help creating content for a wide array of channels—from social media posts to full-length manuscripts, and everything in between. We focus primarily on service-related B2B topics and work with a number of independent consultants interested in building their thought leadership through online channels. For ongoing content management, our first step is to fully understand your goals, objectives and competitive landscape.

Then we’ll conduct a thorough analysis and assessment of your digital presence, compared to competitors, and recommend a communication strategy to achieve your goals. But, we also regularly take on individual projects – white papers, blog posts, contributed articles, etc. If you’re interested in learning more, let us know!

(Strategic Communications is certified as a Woman-Owned Business Enterprise through the Wisconsin Department of Administration.)

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