Podcast on Podcasting is a new show from uStudio designed to help you start corporate podcasting using tips from the pros. In our inaugural episode, “The Business Case for Podcasting,” uStudio CEO Jen Grogono explains why corporations should be leveraging the medium for better employee, customer and partner engagement. Listen to the full episode below or read on to learn four key reasons why businesses benefit from making the leap to podcasting.
Reason #1. Podcasting is more popular than ever.
According to Edison Research, the use of podcasting surged to 24% of the population last year, surpassing in popularity social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter. In fact, the average monthly podcast listener is consuming more than 5 hours of content per week. But what’s interesting is that very few companies have created a strategy around how to leverage this medium for their businesses. This is even more ironic because as companies hire younger workers who are very comfortable using streaming media, such as audio and video, they’re seeing an increased demand for company knowledge and information to be distributed in these formats.
Frankly, research says that even older generations prefer to consume information in an audio environment. People are consuming streaming media on their way to work, on their morning jog, or when they’re eating breakfast. It’s a very natural and popular behavior. As consumers, we’re accustomed to listening to podcasts and audiobooks, and we would prefer to use the same in the workplace. There’s a lot that corporate leaders can and should be doing to figure out how to leverage podcasting for improved workplace communications.
Reason #2. Audio podcasts are faster and easier to produce than video.
What we kept hearing was, “We’re sick of everybody in the company wanting a video. Video’s expensive and time consuming. Not everything needs a video.” As an executive with a background in media, especially video technology, this was a little bit hard to hear because at uStudio we believe strongly — and the data proves it — that video is the most powerful medium out there to convey a message. But indeed, there are certain use cases that can be better suited to an audio or podcast strategy. In particular, when cost, speed, length, frequency or mobile distribution are factors, podcasting can be a better way to go. Audio production requires significantly less gear, fewer people, less planning and coordination, and lower bandwidth to distribute, all of which translates to a more nimble and inexpensive way to get your message out. Multiply that by daily or weekly touchpoints, and you can see where the rapid, flexible nature of audio can be a great tool for enterprise communications.
For example, sales or retail enablement leaders who work for large companies with growing product lines or changing promotions need to make sure the people on the front lines are knowledgeable and informed about daily and weekly sales priorities. Those messages need to be easily recorded from anywhere the sales leader happens to be and distributed securely with ease, often to a highly-distributed global or regional team. An audio-centric workflow makes this fast and easy.
Reason #3. Podcasting is ideal for a geographically-dispersed, mobile or remote workforce.
Nobody’s reading emails anymore. It’s completely acceptable now to say: “Yeah, I didn’t see that email.” People are completely inundated with messages to the point that email is just becoming unusable. So if you are a remote employee — which could be someone who works from home, someone who is not in the corporate headquarters, or just someone who is not co-located with your team — it’s hard to keep your finger on the pulse of what’s going on. Email and chat applications can actually exacerbate that by creating a lot of noise, whereas podcasting can be a great filter. When information is being recorded and time-boxed, there is more pressure to prioritize and convey only the most important ideas in the right order. This is tremendously helpful to remote employees who need help sifting through the clutter.
What’s more, streaming audio is just incredibly convenient, which makes it a great choice for remote or mobile workers. They can listen when and where they want, which is great for employees in different time zones. They can download and listen offline or stream easily in low bandwidth situations. And perhaps what’s most exciting is that an audio-only recorded message free the listener up to multi-task, so you can reach them when they’re doing other things, or what is commonly referred to as “windshield time.”
The other thing that’s often overlooked with streaming media that make it ideally suited to a global workforce is that you have so much more data. An audio stream puts off way more data than email, chat applications or documents. You never really know if somebody read paragraph six in an email. Your data will only show that the email was opened. You can’t prove the message was successfully received or understood. Meanwhile, with streaming media, we know everything. We know precisely when you listen to something and how often you listen. We know if you rewound 15 times, or if you listened in car mode. This kind of data gives you far greater insight into your mobile workforce and greater insight into the quality and value of your content and messaging.
Reason #4. It’s finally possible to make secure, private podcasts as easily as public ones.
Public podcasting has been around for some time, but that doesn’t mean that it was easy to use in an enterprise setting. Great security advances have now made secure, private podcasting more possible than ever in a business setting. At uStudio, we refer to private messages as “precious cargo.” You can’t have a podcast technology that’s shipping “precious cargo” unless it’s fully vetted and secure. You need to make sure that trade secrets, strategies, and information only get out to the people that you approve to hear them.
Sometimes people think that having a username and password makes something secure, which of course, it does not. There are so many moving parts and access points that need to be locked down at every level in order to secure an audio or video stream. For example, at uStudio, we employ a multi-tier security model. We enable a username and password login, but they are tied in to your corporate directory through SSO. We also lock down the content at the CDN level, as well as locking down the players themselves, so that they will only run once they’ve been authenticated. So, as you can see, we take security very seriously because it is the thing that determines if this internal podcasting platform is going to be good enough for the “precious cargo” that you find in enterprise use cases. But the beauty is, we’ve found a way to hide all of this complexity and deliver — what appears to be on the surface — a fairly simple application that just works securely the way an enterprise user needs it to.