If you’re like most companies, you struggle keeping your employees engaged. A study by Deloitte University Press found that 87% of organizations cite engagement as one of their top challenges. That explains why 3 out of 4 employees are open to or looking for a new job.
Poor engagement usually stems from poor communication. Employees often lack a connection with leadership, the company mission, or other employees.
An internal corporate podcast is a powerful way to create this line of communication. It’s more personal than a memo and less expensive and time-consuming than video.
In this article, we’re going to explain everything you need to know about corporate podcasts, including why you should bother and how to get started.
What is a Corporate Podcast & How Does it Work?
A corporate podcast (sometimes called a company podcast or internal podcast) is a podcast designed for the employees at your company. Someone in your organization would be tasked with producing regular episodes. Team members subscribe to the show and listen via your website (with podcast pages) or a podcast listening app.
In some cases, corporate podcasts are private. A private podcast is locked behind a password protected RSS feed. Each listener needs the password to subscribe to your show.
The goal of a company podcast is to deliver important information to employees, teach them how to be successful, and create engagement among the members of your organization. You can publish anything you want, including:
- Make announcements.
- Notify employees about deadlines.
- Promote upcoming events.
- Build culture by sharing stories.
- Provide updates on company strategies and goals.
- Teach valuable skills (e.g. time management).
- Interview team members or stakeholders.
- Distribute onboarding information.
That said, keep in mind that a company podcast is for the employees. Don’t fill it with corporate buzzwords, policy updates, and standard operating procedures. That’s boring. Provide high quality content that matters to your audience. They want personal stories of success and failure, meaningful lessons, and genuine human interactions.
Read to start your own podcast? Learn the nitty-gritty details of starting your own show in our comprehensive guide. Learn how to start a podcast.
What Companies Use Internal Corporate Podcasts?
Is an internal corporate podcast right for your organization? Consider starting one if you fall into any of these categories:
- Organizations with lots of employees, especially if you have thousands.
- Companies that rapidly growing by adding new employees on a regular basis.
- Organizations that need to address nuanced issues.
- Companies who are looking to build a deliberate culture.
Tell Me Why by American Airlines is a great example of a company podcast. It’s hosted by Ron DeFeo, the company’s Vice President of Global Communications. They publish five to ten and it publishes a few 5–10 minute episodes each month for the company’s 122,000 employees. They explain company policies and changes, announce new initiatives, and share employee stories.
The best way to determine if a corporate podcast is right for your organization is to ask your workforce. Use an anonymous survey to learn if your team is willing to listen to episodes.
The Pros of Creating an Internal Corporate Podcast
Now that you understand how corporate podcasts work, let’s talk about their benefits. Why should you produce a corporate podcast?
A corporate podcast is an easy way to communicate with your team
Accessibility is the biggest benefit of podcastings. Listeners can enjoy your content wherever they are, at any time. They can listen to episodes while they’re doing other links, like cooking dinner, driving to work, or exercising. They can even listen at their desks while they perform other tasks.
Furthermore, recording the content is generally easier than writing blog posts or emails. As the host, you can speak casually with basic notes to guide you.
Company podcasts can reach remote workers or people in different offices
If you’re part of a big organization, you probably have people stationed in multiple offices across the country or the globe. Plus, remote working is on the rise, which has been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. But when employees aren’t in the same place, they can miss critical information and opportunities to connect.
Corporate podcasts are great tools to keep everyone informed and align employees with the leadership. Employees can listen whenever and wherever they prefer, even if they’re in different time zones.
A corporate podcast tends to cut through inbox clutter
If your employees receive dozens of emails every day, there’s a good chance that some of them get lost in the clutter. 30% of employees say they ignore emails from their employer, especially if they don’t believe the message is urgent.
A corporate podcast, however, is a modern form of communication that’s less likely to get lost in the day today chaos. Employees can listen to episodes whenever they prefer, like during their commute or when they exercise. Podcast episodes don’t compete with their flood of emails.
People connect with spoken words
Written content is valuable, but it’s often cold and impersonal, especially in a corporate setting. It’s often hard for your employees to connect with company blog posts, internal memos, and PowerPoint presentations.
Studies show that people are more likely to engage on an emotional and cognitive level when stories are transmitted in an audio format. We are conditioned to appreciate the human voice. Even though the podcast host can’t hear us, we still create a personal connection with the speaker.
Podcasts make leadership more accessible
It’s hard to feel engaged with the leadership of a large company, especially if employees never see or speak to the management team. A company podcast is a great opportunity for leaders to speak directly to their people on a regular basis. This is a big bonus for newer generations who expect accessible leadership.
How to Measure the Success of an Internal Corporate Podcast
Like any company initiative, it’s important to measure its success (or lack thereof). This will help you determine if your work is paying off. Your podcast host should provide you with a suite of analytics to help you understand your show’s performance. If your host doesn’t provide this, find a new host.
What’s unique about publishing a corporate podcast as opposed to a traditional podcast is that you can compare the number of listeners to the total number of employees within your organization. Infinite growth isn’t possible (because your audience is finite), which means you know exactly who to target.
Which metrics are important to track?
- Total Listeners/Downloads – The total number of people who pressed play or downloaded an episode over the entire lifespan of your podcast. You’ll want the ability to filter by date as well to learn when people prefer to listen.
- Total Listens Per Episode – This shows you how many people listened to a particular episode (including multiple plays), helping you determine what people like to hear.
- Listening Methods – This tells you where people listen to your show, including their browser or listening app.
- Geographic Stats – Where are your listeners in the world? If your company is in one location, this data should be pretty simple. But if your company resides all over the world, you’ll want to know where you’re connecting with people.
- Unique Listens Per Episode – This tells you how many individual people listen to each episode. If someone listens to an episode twice, this metric only counts them once.
All of these key metrics are available in the Castos analytics dashboard, whether your podcast is public or private.
Furthermore, surveys are useful tools to uncover your audience’s feelings about the show. Since you can contact everyone in your organization, you can even survey people who don’t listen to the show to ask why not.
Learn more about podcasting analytics: Understanding Your Podcast Analytics To Grow An Audience.
Private Podcasts in Castos
Private podcasting with Castos is super simple. Instead of sharing a password for listeners to subscribe with, Castos lets you send invites to specific email addresses. The user receives a unique feed link they can use in any of their favorite podcasting apps. This means you can remove people as well if they leave your organization. Learn more in this video:
How Employees Can Listen to a Private Corporate Podcast
If the corporate podcast is private, it won’t be findable in the podcast directories. Users won’t see it in their recommendations or in a search result.
Private podcast listeners need to add the show manually to their preferred podcast listening app by pasting in the show’s RSS feed. This process varies slightly from player to player.
For example, in iTunes, listeners must click File > Subscribe to Podcast. iTunes will ask for the show’s RSS feed URL. Once submitted, the podcast will appear in the user’s library.
Corporate Podcast Production Best Practices
How to Start Your Company’s Internal Podcast With Castos
Producing a company podcast isn’t much different then producing any other type of podcast.
Here’s a quick overview of what it takes to start a company podcast. If you haven’t yet, read our full guide on starting a podcast.
1. Start with a strategic plan
Before you start producing episodes for your corporate podcast, it’s important to create a plan. What is the purpose of your show? What do you hope to achieve? You might tackle any of the following objectives:
- Build the company’s thought leadership
- Notify employees of important information
- Foster the company culture
- Improve employee engagement
Once you know what you’re trying to achieve, determine how you’ll measure that goal. For instance, in order to gauge employee engagement, you might survey your team before publishing your show and then after the 20th episode to compare the results.
Finally, think about how you’ll publish your show. Obviously you want to make it available through the big podcasting apps (like Spotify and Apple Podcasts), but you should also publish it to the web somewhere, either on your own podcast website or your company’s site.
2. Build a production team
Admittedly, podcasts are a lot of work, especially if you have other responsibilities at your job. So it helps to build a team of people with their own duties in regards to your show. Ideally, these should be people with the appropriate skills.
The corporate podcast production process can be divided into these areas:
- Guest outreach and coordination
- Research and note preparation
- Episode editing
- Publication and marketing
It helps to map out a complete podcast workflow. List everything you need to do to create an episode, from beginning to end. Break down every little task. Then delegate accordingly.
3. Create an approval process
Since you want the podcast to stay on brand and serve the company’s overall goals, it helps to create an approval process before publishing. If you aren’t in a leadership role, have the leadership sign off on each episode. If you are in a leadership role (and have permission to publish when you’re ready), designate a person or small group who will listen to each episode before publishing just to catch any mistakes.
4. Determine your budget
If you’re the company leader, determine how much you’ll spend on your corporate podcast. If you aren’t in a leadership role, ask for your budget. We recommend breaking this out into two figures:
- How much you can spend to set up. This will include equipment (hardware and software) and the costs of setting up a podcasting space.
- How much you can spend per episode. While it’s possible to handle everything in house, you may have a per episode cost if you use an outside editing service.
It also helps to determine a time budget. How much time do you plan to spend each week on the podcast? Does it conflict with your other responsibilities? If so, plan the depth of your production accordingly.
5. Set up a podcasting studio
You’ll need a space to record your corporate podcast. Unfortunately, any office won’t do, especially if you’re in an open cubicle. The unintended background noise will make editing your show a nightmare.
- Very few reflective surfaces. Anything hard will reflect sound and create an echo. Cover hard surfaces in blankets, rugs, and pillows. Use a carpeted room if possible.
- Small space. If sound travels far and reflects back, there’s a delay between the origin and the echo. Small rooms reduce this.
- No traffic. Low traffic is sufficient. There should be no traffic passing through your podcast studio.
- Little ambient noise. Background noise of any kind will present a challenge during editing. It’s easier to choose a space that’s as quiet as possible. Look out for noise from people talking, traffic on the street, HVAC systems, and telephones.
If you can’t find a suitable space, consider recording in someone’s home. They are much more conducive to podcasting than typical offices. If no one’s home is suitable, you may have to rent some time in a nearby recording studio.
6. Get some basic tools
Yes, it’s possible to record a podcast episode with your iPhone, but it won’t sound great and your team won’t want to listen. Production value and listener engagement are closely related.
You’ll need some basic podcast gear, like a microphone, mixer, pop filter, headphones, mic stand, recording and editing software, and a platform to host your episodes. We recommend Castos, of course, because it has all the features you need to start quickly and sound professional.
7. Bring in outsourced help
It’s quite alright to outsource any part of the corporate podcast production process that you can’t handle yourself. It’s always better to bring in someone who is suited for the job rather than do a poor job yourself.
Many podcasters outsource the editing component of their show because it requires technical skills that often don’t suit a creative mind. (Not that you can’t edit an audio track if you’re a creative person, but the skills often don’t overlap.) In fact, podcasters use our editing service all the time because they would rather focus on the creative elements.
But you can hire an experienced professional to handle any part of your corporate podcast. For instance, you might hire a designer to make social media assets, a virtual assistant to publish episodes, or a publicist to find guests.
8. Record your first episode
How you record will depend on your personal approach. You may like to write a detailed monologue for each episode. Or you may be comfortable riffing from a brief outline.
Spend some time researching your topic. For instance, if you’re podcasting about the company’s latest experience at a trade show, make sure you know everything about the event. If you’re hosting an interview, make sure to have plenty of quality questions ready for the guest.
Try to relax during your first recording. No one is perfect the first time. If you make a mistake, simply pause and start again. You can always remove the mistake in editing.
9. Edit your episode
Post production is where two people chatting turns into a piece of genuinely valuable content. Once you have episode recording, it’s time to open your editing software. This is when you’ll remove strange sounds and background noise, cut out long pauses and mistakes (like a poorly worded answer that you had to re-do), and improve the overall sound quality. It seems tedious, but like we said, production value matters.
Editing is also where you add your intro and outro. If you have any extra media – like a pre-recorded message from your CEO or a clip from someone’s presentation – splice that in too.
Editing is arguably the hardest part of podcasting, so take your time. This is the best part of your workflow to bring in someone else to help.
10. Distribute your corporate podcast
The biggest difference between a traditional podcast and a company podcast is how you distribute it. Marketing a company podcast is actually easier because your audience is easy to define. You literally have the names and email addresses of anyone who might listen.
Next, simply notify everyone in your organization about the new show. Use a company wide email list to contact everyone.
Set up a process to notify everyone in the organization whenever a new episode publishes. Encourage them to subscribe via their favorite podcast listening app.
11. Repurpose your content
Podcasts are troves of content. You can slice it into clips and share it across all of your social media platforms. These clips are even more powerful if you recorded a video podcast. Use audiograms to make audio content more engaging. Furthermore, your episode transcriptions make great blog posts, whitepapers, slide decks, infographics, social media posts, and emails to your team.
12. Measure your results and iterate
Gather every piece of data you can about your show. Ask listeners to complete surveys to learn their feelings. Talk to everyone in your organization about the show. Try to learn what you can do better. Then, over time, make little changes to optimize your show.
As you can see, a corporate podcast is a powerful tool to engage with your employees. They’re just as simple to set up and much easier to promote. Your first episodes won’t be perfect, so don’t wait to get started. The sooner you start producing content, the sooner you’ll boost employee engagement.