You’ve tried engaging employees with internal newsletters, new office furniture, cool snacks, and endless swag. But have you tried reaching them in ways that will actually resonate?
Of Americans who have listened to a podcast in the past month, 79% were between the ages of 12 and 56 — prime working age. If you’re thinking of starting an internal podcast, the odds of reaching your employee base are pretty good.
But internal (or corporate) podcasts are still relatively new, and starting one can feel daunting. Where to even begin? Is it worth the time and investment or just one. more. thing? What will the boss say?
In this ultimate guide to internal podcasts for B2B brands, we explore everything you need to start the discussion on this growing (and highly rewarding) new channel.
What is an Internal Podcast?
An internal podcast is a show produced by a company for its employees instead of an external audience.
And yep, it’s really as simple as it sounds.
Often, this audio content is kept private, as it may contain trade secrets or sensitive information. But sometimes, brands (typically B2C) will publish their shows on public platforms to build community awareness and brand integrity. Check out American Airlines’ show Tell Me Why as a prime example, which focuses on answering employee questions on corporate policies.
We turned to our friend and expert Mat Zucker, a partner at Prophet, to identify three use cases that internal podcasts typically serve.
Inform. Informational shows give employees important, time-bound information. Think of these like “Hey! Here’s what’s going on” episodes full of industry updates, timely news, upcoming events, and how employees can get involved.
Educate. Educational podcasts teach employees about topics pertaining to the business, industry, or core values of the company with the intention of upskilling listeners.
Celebrate talent. These shows feature regular guests (usually fellow employees at all levels) who are doing amazing things behind the brand. They showcase the company’s appreciation for employees, foster a sense of community, and build camaraderie.
Here at Casted, we host an internal podcast for our Board of Directors (BOD) called BODcast. (And who doesn’t love a little fun play on words?) Instead of emailing oodles of pre-reads and documents before an upcoming board meeting, our CEO, Lindsay Tjepkema, does an audio summary featuring clips our board can consume in just 10 minutes or so. That way, we’re not only “drinking our own champagne,” but making it easier on our busy executives to consume important information.
How Do You Start an Internal Podcast?
Creating an internal podcast is not all that different from starting an external show. As with any podcast, we encourage marketers to start by asking the same two questions we regularly drive home:
“You have to create this show like any other show,” says Jay Acunzo, Founder of Marketing Showrunners. “You have to develop the premise, develop the format, and have great talent. That's all a show is: premise plus format plus talent.”
Premise + format + talent. Now that’s a formula we can get behind.
Like any other podcast, project, marketing deliverable, or initiative, you also have to start by identifying goals and strategy. Without them, your attempt at podcasting may feel more like shooting in the dark than a new strategic adventure.
Determine how you’ll measure success in categories like:
Brand awareness (social media mentions, verbal mentions, swag/merchandise usage)
Audience engagement (episode downloads, time listened, podcast rating, responses to questions/contests, surveys taken, audio clips consumed)
Audience growth (number of subscribers, number of episode shares, number of related marketing content items (blogs, clips, emails, etc.))
Tips from the Pros on Creating an Internal Podcast
Don’t skimp on planning.
“Just because this is an internal show doesn’t mean you should skimp on the planning process. Make sure you’re still considering what the audience wants and what premise, format, and talent will make the show the best experience for them.” - Jay Acunzo
Plan a content strategy for your internal podcasts.
“Plan out a strategy that maps out the types of content you’ll cover in the different episodes so you’ll be set up from the beginning.” - Mat Zucker
Design a program around your internal podcast.
“You’re not just designing a podcast, you’re designing a program for your employees for communication. The podcast can be the heart of the program, but you need to consider the goals you’re looking to accomplish with this program and plan accordingly.” - Mat Zucker
Tell employee stories.
“Let your audience be the star of the show. Humanize your brand by putting your employees and their passion front and center. This can build a passion for the company and make the podcast more exciting for the employees and avoid it being a corporate mouthpiece by bringing in different perspectives.” - Scott Monty
The Benefits of Internal Podcasting
Podcasts often start as “what if” statements that eventually sprout into ideas and even full-fledged experiments. But what’s great about committing to an internal podcast (with carefully identified strategy and goals) is reaping the rewards and benefits you might not expect. You’ll be amazed at some of the main perks like:
Engaging Your Employees
Employees don’t need another avenue for company leadership to talk at them. But when an internal podcast feels more like a conversation that invites them in, showcases fellow co-workers, and discusses relevant, interesting topics, engagement can skyrocket. (And remember, employee engagement does wonders for culture and camaraderie, but also increases productivity.)
When planning out your content, think about the type of show you would personally engage with. Would you be excited to tune in?
More than an email newsletter or paper handout ever could (“Did ya get that memo?”), podcasts have tremendous capacity to cultivate community among listeners. In external podcasting, you give your audience a chance to be part of something bigger, creating connections with them that lead to loyalty and lifelong fanship. Internal audiences can experience the same thing. Make the audio journey feel personalized and intimate, and they’ll repay you with loyalty and passionate work in return.
“I think podcasting is probably the most intimate medium that there is,” says Scott Monty, Principal of Scott Monty Strategies and former Global Head of Social Media at Ford Motor Company. “Why? Because you're going directly into someone's ears.”
Creating Trust Over Time
When your audience listens in, the intimacy and trust starts building. Sure, challenges will arise and your podcast might change over time, but listeners will appreciate you in the long run if you consistently:
Say something that matters
Take them to the end
Deepen the relationship with them
Jay Acunzo advises that if you continue to revisit these challenges and adjust, you’ll be on your way to creating a better show that your audience actually cares about.
Internal podcasting isn’t for every brand. And that’s ok! But if your listeners are eager to learn/engage and are tired of the same ‘ol corporate speak, podcasting can provide a new and engaging channel that gets your message across — straight to their ears and into their hearts.
We get it. Podcasting may be new for your brand, but it doesn’t have to be scary. With the industry’s first B2B podcasting platform, it’s really easy to access, amplify, and attribute every facet of your show from strategy to production to promotion. At Casted, we’re big fans of reaching internal audiences with engaging content. When you’re ready to try it out, drop us a line!