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LISTEN UP: HOW TO QUICKLY BECOME A PODCASTING PRO

Craig Smith is owner of The Big Picture People and, since lockdown, host of the new podcast ‘Engaging Internal Comms’. Here, he shares his experience of the pros and cons of the audio format for internal comms. Tune in to find out more…

25th August 2020

 

I’m an avid listener of podcasts – it’s a medium I really value and I had always wanted to give it a go myself. Lockdown was the perfect time to try something new, so I gave myself a challenge to learn how to do it.

The first episode came out in May and I’m now just editing episode nine. They feature interviews with IC and employee engagement pros I really admire and who have some really interesting views. I’ve met many of them at IoIC events, where, over the years, I’ve heard many great speakers and thought to myself ‘I’d really like to ask them more about this’ and thought it might be of interest to others.

I learnt a lot by listening to a brilliant podcast about how to podcast – Podcraft – a great resource, which takes you from a complete novice to confident beginner.

I’ve learned you don’t need lots of kit or expensive software – just a reasonable microphone (£60-70). For recording, I use what’s called “end-to-end” software, which records each interviewee’s track locally and uploads to the cloud, avoiding dropouts due to connection issues. You can use Zoom or MS Teams as well though. Then I use GarageBand to edit it together, which is free on Macs, but you could use Audacity on a PC.

It’s quite quick to produce – the most time-consuming bit is setting up the interviews.
 

The conversational style of podcasts is what makes them easy to listen to, so when recording you don’t want lots of edit points – it doesn’t need to be perfect. You want to let the conversation flow naturally.


After a few goes, it now takes me about the same time to edit as it does to record – about an hour or so, so it’s not a drain on time like I find with video editing.

My podcasts are about 45 minutes, which seems to be the norm, but there’s no hard rule. I think it’s best to ask yourself – where are people going to listen to them? People are usually multi-tasking when listening to a podcast – driving, running, making tea – it’s generally not a format where you sit down to listen with undivided attention.

But it’s an efficient way to top up your brain while doing something else and it’s actually very accessible – more so than video.

Of course, audio as a comms channel isn’t new – I remember recording team briefings onto C90 cassettes for our delivery drivers to listen to in their vehicles!

If you’re working in-house, you’ll want to think about these kind of things: where will people listen to it? Do they have time to listen to it? Is podcasting right for everyone?

You’ll also want to look at your people’s tech capability. You may need a bit of education to explain to people what a podcast is, how to download one and how to listen to it.

Other than that, it’s the usual comms stuff – make it compelling, interesting, relevant – like any good content. And be sure you can answer the age-old comms question when people ask: what’s in it for me?

Podcast analytics are quite crude – you can see the number of downloads, but not how long someone has listened – so it’s a blunt tool to measure engagement.

My own audience numbers are modest at the moment but growing, which is great – the podcast is building its own momentum. But I absolutely love it – I’m not a natural blog writer, so that often takes me ages, and video also takes too much time.

Podcasts are low cost, low maintenance and easy to develop and grow. And there’s an intimacy about them that you don’t get through other media, so it’s a great way of getting into someone’s head for 45 minutes and sharing something useful with them.

 

Engaging Internal Comms podcast series is available to listen to on the Big Picture People website or download via Apple Podcasts.

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