On-Demand Audio: Engaging Employees On-The-Go

The future of audio content is quickly coming into focus as marketers and consumers invest heavily into podcasts, audiobooks, and screenless interfaces like Amazon Alexa. However, despite this, audio still remains an overlooked channel for internal and employee communications.

Growth of audio to date can be seen with podcast consumption doubling the last 5 years, growth of audiobooks into a $1.8-billion industry, and the birth of audio articles from publications such as WIRED, The Atlantic, Washington Post, and of course Medium. The emergence of smart speakers, headphones, audio creation apps like Anchor, and the ubiquity of connected cars points to a future where voice and audio will be a key part of our interaction with content over the next decade.

Meanwhile, companies are struggling to communicate effectively with their employees as engagement on internal emails and intranets remains low despite employees wanting to feel more in the loop on strategy and what colleagues across departments are working on. Implementation of new technologies like instant messaging, social media, and video have certainly put a dent in solving this problem, however there still remains a gap, particularly among employees on-the-go, across remote offices, or those working and commuting without the ability to stop and read or watch all-consuming text and video.

Source: SocialChorus, 2016

Audio completes this content puzzle, filling in the gaps that text and video simply content cannot. On top of being the best (and only medium) that can engage employees while they’re driving, walking, exercising, or otherwise unable or unwilling to stare at a screen, audio is also much cheaper to produce than video, allows for more complex ideas to be communicated than text, and builds trust and empathy through the human voice.

Many companies have already adopted internal audio as a means of filling this gap, including widely dispersed companies like IBM and Microsoft, companies with massive sales forces like real estate agencies and pharmaceutical companies, associations and networks with members all around the world, and companies like high growth tech startups that are simply looking to engage their younger audiences who are already active podcast and audio content listeners.

Many other companies however have not fully explored the potential of audio content for internal communications. This is due in part to the fact that audio is only now becoming an important part of the digital media landscape. It’s also due to the lack of infrastructure and tools focused on audio content for the unique privacy, distribution, and analytics needs of internal communicators. This is now changing with new technology and a workforce ready to consume information, news, inspiration, and entertainment through on-demand audio.

Patch is building tools and services to overcome these barriers.

We’ve launched a beta of our Slack App, Patch, which allows teams to discover, share, and listen to podcasts within Slack. Listening to content from leading thinkers, sharing and discussing as a team is a great way to motivate people, get people on the same page, and help keep you and your collegaues up to date on trends and news.

Also, companies who publish internal audio can also use this app as a way of distributing to their employees where they already are (in the Slack app) and when they want it (customizable notifications to send, for example, just in time for their morning commute). We’ll be building on not only the Slack app but the dashboard for companies to better publish, distribute, and track audio content for internal communications.

Continue reading our white paper on internal audio communications at Patchfm.com AND join the beta for the first ever podcast Slack App!

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