Employee Communications’ Newest Cagematch

by Andrew Brown

The Combatants

Well, there’s another new-ish digital entry fast becoming part of the Fearless Communicator’s toolkit; we’re talking about the corporate podcast. That means employee communications professionals in organizations of all shapes and sizes must decide whether to devote some of their precious time to using this tool.

And, it looks like the choice of if, how, and when to leverage a corporate podcast is being pitted against the sometimes venerated (and often scorned) corporate newsletter. The two are squaring off in a vicious head-to-head. And, there could be some blood shed before the battle is done.

Come Out Swinging!

Now, where most cagematch analyses between two communications tools insult your intelligence by concluding – to your frustration – that your decision ultimately depends on your specific communications goals, I’m neither going to be so obvious nor so glib. I just can’t take it when experts sit safely on the sidelines.

Don’t get me wrong. The goals that drive your choice of employee communications tools are indeed important but, your time, budget and credibility within your organization are finite. And the truth is that you’ve fought hard to get, build and maintain them. So, you must make the right decision about the battle of “Podcast vs. Newsletter” because you simply don’t have the luxury of getting it wrong.

So, here is advice that will reduce the pain you will feel when choosing if, when and how a podcast should replace, complement or alter your corporate newsletter – it will also reduce the scars you get if your foray into podcast is a bit rough:.

Choose a corporate podcast over a newsletter when:

1. The topics you’re exploring are meaty and require time and expertise to really give them justice. That’s the beauty about podcasts, they’re amazing for digging deep into a topic.

2. You can leverage people who are comfortable in leading and participating in conversations. Podcasts are meant to be listened to – often, more than once. They can only be enjoyed if participants can have an interesting conversation.

3. Your content transcends time. Because podcasts last forever, the content should not be tied to a specific date, have time-limited relevance or be a source of urgent information that needs an immediate call-to-action..

4. You are committed to produce several podcast episodes. Adoption of corporate podcast is never immediate. You need to be prepared to generate several episodes over several months to get an accurate reading of how, when and why it is being consumed.

Choose a newsletter over a corporate podcast when:

1. Your organization values the written word over conversation. 

2. The content being shared is tied to specific dates/events..

3. You’re more comfortable measuring digital actions (e.g. open rates, time spent on reading, article sharing) than what people think or feel about topics.

A path forward – just listen to The Swear Jar

Listen to The Swear Jar Podcast episode, Corporate Podcasts: Are they just the new corporate newsletter? Elizabeth Williams and I are joined by Happeo’s podcast guru, Jonathan Davies as we explore a wide range of issues about if, how and when to tap into the unique power of corporate podcasts.

Exclusives for listeners of The Swear Jar

Get 10% of the price of the newest employee communications workshops brought to you by The Academy of Business Communications. Just enter the promo code “SwearJar” when registering. That includes the 90-minute online workshop, !mpact Measurement which helps you measure the ROI of employee communications.

For a limited time, get a 20% on tools and training to become a better teller of corporate stories. Go to LeadwithaStory.com (by entering the code, LAUNCH).

Win a free copy of one of Paul Smith’s books (“The 10 Great Stories Leaders Tell” or “Selling with Stories”) by sending an email to info@AcademyofBusinessCommunications.com with a note telling us your story about a meeting that went terribly wrong. We’ll choose winners from the notes sent to us and highlight your in an upcoming episode of The Swear Jar podcast.

Get up to 5% off workshop products from group facilitation experts, Facilitation First.