How to Launch Your Company’s First Employee Podcast for $0

JP Gooderham
May 19, 2020 · 12 min read

At Storyboard, a leading platform for organizations to host secure, private podcasts, we have seen a dramatic rise in companies who inform and engage employees through recorded audio (think: 5–60 minute episodes, available for employees to play at any time on our mobile app or website).

We’re thrilled to partner with so many innovative companies, as many of them are launching the first-ever podcast at their workplace. We want to dive into a question we hear frequently: is it expensive (in time and money) to get a podcast started for employees? The truth is, it’s extraordinarily easy to launch a podcast at your company if you have a vision for the project. By the end of this post, you’ll receive a walkthrough of how you can set up your company’s first podcast for up to 100 employees for free using Storyboard in tandem with “recording” software you already have, like Zoom or WebEx.

Storyboard Private Podcast App

Over 400 new organizations have launched Storyboard channels since March, which is by far the fastest pace we have ever seen in Storyboard history. It’s almost a certainty that more companies are launching internal podcasts for their employees than any time before. Here is how you can transform your team’s communications today through podcasting using Storyboard.

The Why: Replacing Disruptive “Live” Communications with Highly Available Podcasts on Storyboard

  • Video conferencing fatigue (often called Zoom fatigue in recent media updates like this one and this one) is a reality for many employees when working from home. Video conferences, particularly for large groups, are disruptive and stressful, from dealing with technology issues to finding an available space to be camera ready. Many companies are now thinking creatively about how they can keep employees informed and engaged, which makes a podcast very attractive — as employees can listen anywhere and at any time without stopping their day to jump on video call.
  • Leadership wants to keep employees connected, even while at home. With many companies now expecting to be in work-from-home environments potentially as far as 2021, executive leaders and Internal Comms directors are exploring how they can keep employees engaged with key messages. Many organizations have increased the number of executive town halls, CEO updates, and more to meet this need. To make these messages stick, they need a vehicle that will help employees tune in. That brings them to podcasting.
  • Live Training can be replaced with something more effective. Storyboard clients, even before the current climate, have embraced internal podcast channels as a creative tool for training and product updates. Our Learning and Development podcasters found, even with fantastic trainers, that great content was often lost and forgotten if employees could not attend a training or workshop. This gap is easily solved by internal podcasts, where employees can find learning opportunities in the context that is right for them. It’s as easy as opening Storyboard, finding a training, and hitting play (not to mention that Storyboard Administrators receive data on where listeners tune out or skip).

The truth is that you can launch your company’s first employee podcast today, and you can do it for free with Storyboard (and a tool or two you have already used). Let’s start.

Step 1: Register for a Hobby Account on Storyboard

You can create a Storyboard Hobby account for free with access for up to 100 Listeners

Storyboard is unique because we don’t require any major commitment to launch a podcast with us. We’re huge believers in this channel as podcasters ourselves, and we want it to be as easy as possible for you to get started and see the value of your audio channel.

So as a first step, we recommend that you sign up for a Storyboard Hobby Tier account for free — you can get started right here. After signing up, you’ll activate your account and set a logo for your channel that will appear in the app next to each episode. A few key notes on your Storyboard account:

  • Upload Limits: We allow our Hobby Tier admins to begin uploading podcasts right away. If you have content ready to go, you can get started after activating. If not, still sign up, and we’ll show you how you can record in Step Two.
  • Inviting Users: Hobby Admins, as mentioned, can invite up to 100 users by email address to become listeners after downloading the Storyboard Podcasts app or going to our website at TryStoryboard.com. This is great if you are a manager of a team or looking to launch a channel for a business unit at your company. You’ll just need your listeners’ email addresses, and you can begin sending invites after you have uploaded your content.
  • Stats and Reporting: While we offer advanced reporting to our Pro Tier administrators, you will still receive helpful stats with your Hobby Account, including the raw data on how many listeners played each episode and made it all the way through (which we call a “Completion”). Whether you just want to improve your podcast or make the case to expand to a larger group at your company, these statistics will provide a heat map on how your listeners are engaging.

Now that you have created your Storyboard Hobby account for private podcasts, you’re ready to record your first episode.

Step 2: Record Your Episode Using Your Video Conference Software

Pro Tip: When launching, many podcasters will release a full length episode as their first piece of content. This certainly can work, but we’ve seen many successful launches start with a 2–5 minute “teaser trailer.” Instead of a training or executive update, this trailer can explain how the podcast will work; for example, “Welcome listeners, we’ll be sharing new episodes every Tuesday going forward here on the Storyboard app. I’m your host…” This can tee up the effort and help people see the big picture of how you envision the podcast working.

To record, it’s helpful to start with an outline or structure for your first episode.

  • If you are recording an executive town hall with your company’s CEO, how will the episode start? Will this feature Questions and Answers? How do you want to close the episode, and do you want to promote any future episodes?
  • If this is a training, another approach might be thinking about the topics you’d like to cover. You may find while outlining that it would be beneficial to produce two 15-minute episodes rather than a 30-minute episode to tackle multiple topics. It’s better to break content into multiple episodes than push too much where listeners may tune out.

Once you have a basic outline for your episode, you are ready to record. What many new podcasters in the corporate space may not realize is that your current video conference software can be used to record your podcast. This is a huge advantage, as you do not need to buy any advanced software to launch your show. This makes your Storyboard podcast channel a very lightweight solution that is easy to deploy.

For this piece, I will walk through key notes on using Zoom to record a podcast because their video software is so popular right now. You can almost certainly find a guide to recording on the video software of your choice through a Google search; for instance, here is the walkthrough on WebEx as well as Google Meet. As an example, here is how it would work on Zoom:

  1. Launch your meeting on Zoom, and of course, invite any other participants to join the call. This makes it very easy to set up a 2–3 person interview where the speakers are not in the same room.
  2. When you meeting launches, you can click on the Record Option at the bottom of the Zoom window as shown here. It’s helpful to first walkthrough key notes before recording so you are ready once you hit the Record button.

3. Once you End the Meeting, you can download the file in an audio .m4a format. This format can be uploaded directly to Storyboard once it has finished processing, as we accept both .mp3 and .m4a audio files for private podcasts on our service.

Pro Tip: If you want to get higher quality out of Zoom Recordings, there are Advanced options in the Zoom settings where you can choose to record “locally.” In doing so, you will get the best quality audio from each speaker, which can then be merged into an episode using editing software like GarageBand (for Mac) or Audacity (for PC). You can read a terrific breakdown from Resonate Recordings on how to do this.

Once you are finished recording the first episode, you can return to TryStoryboard.com > Click on Admin Portal > Upload a Podcast. On this page, you’ll give the episode a title and a description, and you’re ready to upload.

You can set a custom image for each episode that will appear in the Storyboard Feed

That’s it. Your first episode has been uploaded, and it will be available for access on the Storyboard platform (iPhone, Android, and the web) once you invite your listeners in Step Three.

Step 2.5: Get the Best Audio Quality for Your Podcast

  • Find a Quiet Place to Record: Every podcaster deals with noises they can’t always control (a garbage truck rolls by, sirens, etc.). These can often be edited out if absolutely necessary. What can’t be edited out: if you record next to an Air Conditioning unit or appliance making a low hum, as examples. Try to find a space that will be as silent as possible for your recording.
  • When Possible, Try to Use a Room with Carpeting: Hardwood floors tend to reflect sound. A “hack” to get better audio quality is to find a room with carpeting. Some go as far as recording in a closet, as the clothes can be great for preventing the sound from bouncing.
  • Use Headphones When Recording: Many new podcasters immediately buy a microphone (which is certainly an upgrade and will do a better job capturing your voice). It is possible to get quality audio without a microphone, but make sure you are using headphones to hear the other participants. This will reduce the noise of the other voices from being picked up on your recording.
  • Record Audio but Use Video to Feel Natural: It’s easy when recording remotely to figure out your flow with your guest or guests. A great way to assist with this process is to turn on your video camera while speaking. This will help your group sound more natural and anticipate when the next person is preparing to speak, which can prevent the awkward moments where two people may talk at the same time.

If you want to learn more best practices to get the most out of remote recording, we had the production experts from Resonate Recordings come on our podcast to share tips and tricks. You can check out the Storyboard Podcast on Private Podcasts right here.

Step Three: Upload Your List of Listeners on Launch Day

Unlike early “private podcast” services that required you to use a cumbersome private RSS feed that lacked security, Storyboard makes hosting secure, private podcasts very easy. You will now invite up to 100 listeners, and they will receive an email from us that includes a unique 6-digit code assigned to each listener to enter into the app when they open it for the first time. The email will also explain how they can download the Storyboard Podcasts app or login through our website, which is great for listeners who are less tech savvy or do not want to use a mobile app.

Prior to your launch day, we recommend that you send out an email to your listeners to let them know to look out for a Storyboard invitation. An example email might look like the following:

Example Email to Send to Storyboard Listeners

I’m excited to announce that we’ll be launching a new resource: the first podcast just for [Organization Name] employees. This initiative will provide an opportunity to share trainings, interviews, and other content that you can listen to on-the-go right from your mobile phone or computer. Here are the key details:

How Do I Access the [Organization Name] Podcast? Look Out for Your Invitation:

On our launch day, you will receive an invitation to download Storyboard, which is a secure app for sharing podcasts only with our employees. To log in for the first time, you’ll use a 6-digit code provided in your invitation email. We recommend registering for Storyboard as soon as possible after receiving your invite. You will then be taken to our private podcast feed where you can begin downloading or streaming our episodes.

What Type of Content Can I Find on the [Organization Name] Podcast?

[XXXX — I would recommend writing up a little teaser trailer here to let people know what they will be getting]

What If I Need Help?

If you encounter any issues or need assistance after we have launched the channel, you can reach out to our partners at Storyboard by emailing Support.

What Devices Can I Use to Listen to the Podcast?

Storyboard will be available on all devices including through mobile apps for iPhone and Android. You can also use your login to sign in to our company portal on Storyboard’s website at TryStoryboard.com starting on our launch day.

How to Upload Your Listeners

You can upload your Storyboard listeners in bulk

You are now ready for your last step — inviting your listeners. You can either do this in bulk or one at a time as you grow your audience.

As an Admin, you will simply click on the tab for Add New User. You can enter up to 100 email addresses (separated by commas), and then click submit. Storyboard will handle the rest and send out our invitations to your channel.

Remember, on Storyboard, only your invited listeners will be able to view, stream, or download your episodes. These episodes are secure on our platform, and they will not be available for public consumption on apps like Apple Podcasts or Spotify. They will be visible and playable only to signed in listeners to your channel on the Storyboard App.

You can track and view listener activation by going to the My Users Tab, where we will count the number of active users who have logged in versus the inactive users. If any of your users miss the email or delete it by mistake, you’ll have a link to resend the invitation.

Congratulations, you launched your company’s first employee podcast for $0 Total!

With unlimited hosting (even on our free Hobby Tier), you can build your channel to include podcast series on different topics or feature other “hosts” from within your organization.

Go to Storyboard now to get started

Upgrading to Storyboard Pro

  • Advanced Analytics on Listener Engagement
  • Hosting multiple channels or groups where podcasts can be targeted to different parts of your company
  • Sending out podcasts through email to listeners
  • Listener Dropoff Reports to view where listeners tune out or skip in an episode
  • Advanced integrations like Single Sign On where listeners can login with their corporate account

All of these features (and many more) are part of Storyboard Pro. You always get in touch with us to discuss upgrading from our site here.

Good luck on your first podcast, and we’ll be here to help you grow your channel as a tool that empowers listeners to learn and engage at any time and anywhere. We’re excited to see the paradigm begin to shift in internal communications, and let us know how we can help you get started.

Storyboard.fm

The Platform for Private Podcasts

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We’ll use this space to share best practices, updates, and more from Storyboard. Our platform is trusted by over 3,000 companies who use podcasting and audio to transform how they engage their employees.

JP Gooderham

Written by

Founder of Storyboard Podcasts — a platform for companies and organizations to engage and inform and through podcasting. Go to TryStoryboard.com to learn more.

Storyboard.fm

We’ll use this space to share best practices, updates, and more from Storyboard. Our platform is trusted by over 3,000 companies who use podcasting and audio to transform how they engage their employees.