7 tips for developing a corporate podcast

From identifying your purpose to measuring your results, these pointers will get you up and recording to reach your audience through this increasingly popular channel.

Podcasting tips from Deloitte

Are you using podcasts within your channels mix? Have you toyed with the idea, but don’t know where to start?

The Green Room by Deloitte tackles a tricky question about the world around us every two weeks. From automation anxiety to zero waste, we call on clever experts and great research from across the firm and beyond to find the answer. At around 30 minutes each, they’re just the right length for that morning commute, too.

They’re hosted externally, so anyone can tune in and listen.

Having just wrapped our first season, we’ve done lots of thinking about what makes a great podcast. Over the last nine or so months, we’ve learned a lot, done some things well and made a fair few mistakes along the way.

After 12 episodes and 20,000 downloads, here are seven things we’ve learned about making a podcast:

1. Know why you’re doing it.

We didn’t set out to make a podcast. But when we sat down to work out how we could bring our insights to life in a way that resonated with our people, it just happened to be the answer.

Deloitte colleagues are naturally smart and curious. We’re fortunate that we have experts on a wide range of topics in our business. This gives us a legitimate voice on the issues that matter most to our people and clients.

By showcasing our people’s experience and knowledge (at all levels) we hoped colleagues would have a better understanding our firm, feel confident engaging with clients and want to learn more by accessing Deloitte research and thought leadership.

2. Make it accessible.

We set out to create a podcast that covers topics our people would naturally be interested in and they’re likely to listen to on other podcasts—the difference being that this one just happens to be made by the firm they work for.

We knew that wouldn’t work unless we could make it accessible and easy to listen to. That’s why our podcast is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Soundcloud. Our listeners tune in when it suits them, on their commutes or at lunchtime.

The lines are increasingly blurred between internal and external communications, and good content works for both. Over half of the visitors to our website page are external, and we’ve started promoting our episodes to our clients and new recruits.

3. You can’t do it on your own.

Having never done anything like The Green Room before, we’ve had to learn as we go—and learn quickly. We spent a lot of time in the run up to launch speaking to colleagues in different departments, attending podcast events and learning as much as we could from others. We set up monthly meetings with our “pod squad”—colleagues from marketing, research, public relations and economics—to help us shape our content.

This input was hugely valuable, but we’ve been careful to retain editorial control. We know we can’t please everyone with every episode, and we don’t try to. For us, it’s all about producing great content, and if one of our listeners learns something new about our firm, that’s a successful result.

4. It’s not a quick fix.

Stick four people in a room with a mic, give them something to talk about and you’ve got yourself a podcast, right?

We underestimated the amount of work that goes in to creating high-quality episodes.

We’re lucky that we have an onsite studio, but that’s only a small part of producing a good podcast. We invest a lot of time into preparations behind the scenes, starting with finding the right topics and guests on through to preparing detailed briefing packs. Here’s an example: Briefing pack—Will I ever feel good enough for my job? The pack helps our hosts get up to speed on every episode.

On top of that, there’s the time it takes to record, edit and promote each episode. We always knew we didn’t want to script our podcast, but creating a natural conversation is harder and more time-consuming than it sounds.

5. Trust your people.

We wanted the Green Room to be something run by our people for our people. We wanted it to reflect the diversity of our firm and offer a range of perspectives. We were lucky; with 18,000 people to choose from, we suspected there might be hidden talent out there.

We published an intranet story encouraging people to consider putting themselves forward and promoted it in our weekly newsletter. After more than 100 applications (and a comprehensive audition process), we found our four hosts.

There’s something special about the moment we hand each episode over to them and watch it come to life. We might have spent weeks working on the plans for each episode, but on recording day we have to trust that we’ve done our jobs and that our hosts are ready to run with it.

6. Make it human.

Nobody wants to listen to robots having a conversation. We wanted our podcast to reflect our tone of voice here at Deloitte (confident, clear and human), and we wanted to find a way to make complex topics relatable.

Some of the most memorable and engaging moments have come when the conversation has veered off track or one of our hosts has made a mistake. We spend a lot of time behind the scenes preparing the briefings for every episode so that our hosts are well versed on the topic, but they’re not subject matter experts—and that’s deliberate.

We give them a list of suggested questions, but we encourage them to really listen to what our guests are saying and to constantly challenge themselves to think about how to make the topic accessible and relevant to our listeners.

Our richest content has come from episodes where we’ve had a range of perspectives, and we work hard to make sure we have a diverse mix of guests from different backgrounds. We’ve had apprentices alongside global chairs, the founders of a local zero-waste supermarket alongside business sustainability experts, and the CEO of London First alongside an expert in regional growth.

7. Measure things differently.

We’re used to stats that are easy to understand—how many people read our intranet stories, open our emails, and watch our videos. But a podcast is different. We’re still finding people that people tune in to the very first episode as they begin to engage with the series and some of our most popular episodes still see 100+ downloads a week months after launch.

It’s easy to get hung up on quantitative stats, but there are so many positive results that can’t be measured. We’ve heard from senior clients and CEOs at FTSE 100 companies how much our impostor syndrome episode resonated with them. We know that our global chair has gone on to have a coffee and a chat with one of our listeners. Our recruitment team have told us that new recruits mention the podcast during their interviews. All these things are hard to measure, but they’re just as important as the number of downloads.

Learn even more about how podcasts can take storytelling to the next level from a panel of social media experts at Ragan’s Social Media Conference at Disney World March 11-13. Practitioners from Porter Novelli, Vox Media and Providence St. Joseph Health will walk you through each stage of the process to ensure success.

Kaylin Duckitt is an internal communications assistant manager at Deloitte. A version of this post first appeared on Rachel Miller’s All Things IC blog.

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