Guest post from Lois Herzeca and Rob Sanchez, MouthMedia Network
The head of corporate training at a global company called us in a panic. He had a mandate to deliver a new training program using podcasts. His internal training team had developed and executed a podcast series for their sales teams and recently launched it across the company. The results were in – and it was devastating. The sales teams were tuning in to the podcast, but they had an average drop off rate of 85% after the first 2 minutes!
We agreed to review their podcast series and see if we could help. What did we find?
The first 5 minutes of each episode consisted of routine corporate announcements, followed by a reading of legal disclaimers. The next few minutes were speaker biographies. It took almost 12 minutes before any interesting or useful content was delivered! No wonder the employees were dropping off after the first few minutes!
We sat with the company’s training team and offered them guidance and support. We began by emphasizing that each podcast episode, even a corporate training session, is essentially a story. And not just a story – it has to be adapted to the medium of audio. It has to engage the listener, particularly in today’s multidimensional environment where listeners are busy and have competing demands during their workday, their time with family and friends, and their personal leisure time.
A good podcast episode engages the listener within the first 30 seconds. We suggested that the team move the announcements and legal disclaimers to the end (or the middle for critical announcements) of each episode. And, importantly, we suggested that they begin each episode with a 30 second key takeaway that would instantly engage the audience. We then carefully addressed each aspect of the podcast series, with the goal of improving the content delivery, the audio quality and the overall listener experience. The team was surprised at how much they learned and eager to try out our suggestions.
If you are creating a podcast as a hobby, you may be disappointed if you don’t attract an audience. But if you are starting a podcast for your organization – and you have an important mission to accomplish – you can’t afford to fail.
Here are some tips for creating a successful podcast:
Create a Compelling Narrative with Your Corporate Podcast
You know the content that you need to deliver, you may know the people who you want to deliver that content, and you may know the target audience. That, however, is only the beginning of the process of creating a podcast that people actually enjoy. You can improve the overall quality of your content delivery by:
- Shaping your story into a coherent whole;
- Structuring the arc of each episode (perhaps with separate segments or features); and
- Helping the speaker to deliver the key messages clearly and effectively
Sometimes it can be helpful to consult with an outside podcast expert who can add an objective perspective to the process. The expert can deliver helpful pointers and insights to each participant in the recording, particularly in situations where other members of the organization may be reluctant or hesitant to deliver meaningful feedback.
Check Your Audio Quality
Podcast listeners are generally sophisticated. They notice the difference between a professionally produced podcast and one that has inferior, or even distracting, audio quality. It makes a big difference if you use specialized equipment, of the type used by professional podcast producers, that adjusts for common audio issues and delivers uniformly high quality sound.
You need the right kind of microphone for each of the podcast participants. You should use a recording system that creates separate audio (and video) tracks for each participant, allowing focused attention to the sound quality of each participant. Such a system will allow you to smooth out the speaking volume of the participants, screen out distracting background noises, and compensate for poor WIFI connections in the location where the recording occurs. The audio files can be saved, even if someone’s computer crashes during a recording session, thereby avoiding the need to re-record the content.
Recordings should be edited to provide just the right amount and type of musical interludes, if any, and to eliminate awkward pauses, too many “ums”, and repetitive or inappropriate content.
Find Efficient Solutions
Creating and producing a podcast yourself can be inefficient and time consuming due to lack of prior experience, improper tools, or simply not enough time. In some circumstances, it may be cost-efficient to hire a professional producer to manage time-consuming administrative tasks such as scheduling (and rescheduling) podcast guests. The producer can efficiently record and edit the recording on professional equipment, quickly produce written transcripts, and make last minute edits or additions within a short time-frame. The producer can deal directly with various teams within the organization (such as legal, compliance, or human resources) and facilitate the smooth completion of each episode in line with the organization’s time constraints, objectives and internal guidelines.
Podcast production is both an art and a skill set. It requires the right combination of experience, talent, good equipment and dedicated attention. If you want a successful podcast that people actually enjoy listening to, we recommend that you either invest the necessary resources to develop the right skill set, and purchase the right equipment, within your organization, or hire an experienced podcast producer to create and produce your internal podcast.
If you would like our help – we are here for you at MouthMedia Network; you can contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.