Internal Podcasts are Surging as Companies Adapt to Remote Work

JP Gooderham
Apr 14, 2020 · 6 min read

As a technology platform built for companies to share private podcasts targeted to their employees, Storyboard has been in a unique position for the past six weeks.

In March, 155 organizations launched private podcasts for their team members on Storyboard. This was our platform’s record by quite a bit.

A quick definition: a private podcast is a set of audio recordings (often 15–60 minutes in length) similar to a “regular podcast.” Unlike regular podcasts (which are available to any listener across the world), private podcasts are available only to a certain group like the 1,000 employees at your company. This enables organizations including large Enterprises, non-profits, and small teams to share internal updates, trainings, and more that are available only to users who sign in with a password on the Storyboard apps or website.

This trend has continued into April, and our team at Storyboard has been reflecting on what we’ve seen. In this piece, we’re going to 1) analyze why so many companies and organizations are turning to private podcasts, 2) share insights on strategies that have been effective in this current environment, and 3) summarize some thoughts on how you can get started at your organization.

Why have Companies and Organizations Embraced Private Podcasting?

By March, organizations globally were forced to come up with an entirely new playbook as their teams became “work-from-home” or remote. When a new podcaster signs up for Storyboard, we ask: what are you going to do with your channel?

In looking at these responses, the theme was clear. Companies turned to Storyboard to unlock the creativity of their teams and to stay connected in a time of unprecedented challenges. Since the shutdowns from COVID-19 began, companies are using Storyboard to replace conference calls, share self care and motivation resources, host virtual town halls, and stay connected. The conversational nature of podcasts helps to make tough decisions and changes more human.

Storyboard Listeners login and then arrive at your company’s private podcast portal.

Graham Enloe, a regional sales representative at Pratt Industries who delivers his organization’s podcast on Storyboard, told us,

“Podcasts are a great way for people to hear the inflection in a person’s voice and often makes it easier to hear how much the person speaking cares.” These can feature key stakeholders throughout the company to keep teams informed and engaged, I feel that it means that much more to our employees to hear the voices of leadership at a multi-billion dollar company.”

On Storyboard, our podcasters can give a voice to critical company updates and tackle a range of different topics.

Additionally, in the shift to remote work, many companies have confronted a significant challenge with conference calls and video chats: these solutions require everyone to be in front of a computer at the exact same time to participate.

Our clients have creatively approached this problem through podcasts. On Storyboard, their listeners can access the company’s feed of episodes at any time and any location. Once signed in, episodes are available for download on our mobile apps or for streaming through our website. This makes podcasting asynchronous and radically improves the ability of employees to engage.

These new podcasters have not only succeeded in launching podcasts — they’ve succeeded in driving high engagement numbers throughout the month. Listenership on Storyboard increased by 27% in March to reach our all-time high of average daily active users. Employees at home are eager to stay connected, improve themselves through new trainings, and more. Storyboard and private podcasts offer a vehicle to accomplish that.

What Trends are We Seeing for Private Podcasts in the Current Environment?

Storyboard works closely with our clients in many ways, and we’ve had the opportunity to learn a lot about how companies are expanding their podcasts or launching new initiatives. I want to call out a few of them here based on the top Private Podcast trends we observed in March.

1) Company Updates and Virtual Town Halls

Across the world, companies are grappling with changing conditions and new challenges. This presents an opportunity for leadership to provide a voice through company updates or “virtual town hall” formats.

For John Makarewicz, President of Mark Spain Real Estate, Storyboard has made internal communication more authentic, and proved to be an effective way to train employees across three states, share updates, and cultivate best practices.

“In times of crisis, communication is key — the more the team hears from you the better. With the onset of COVID-19, we have stepped up the frequency of our podcasts and used them to communicate to employees what our company is doing to keep things going.”

On Storyboard, listeners can also use the Listener Feedback button on the bottom of each episode to submit questions and ideas for future episodes. This makes podcasting a two-way street and can help set up a weekly or bi-weekly update that touches on the most important topics that your team is thinking about.

2) Training and Knowledge Development

For many different jobs, employees may be approaching down-time and changing circumstances. As an example, many sales teams have used Storyboard even prior to our current events to provide sales and product trainings that can be accessed on the go.

These sellers (who cannot perform client travel or visit partners like they may have in the past) are now using Storyboard to launch trainings focused on products, skills, and more.

While cleaning their house or on a socially distanced walk, employees have the ability to up-level and learn to enhance their skill set and career by accessing trainings through Storyboard. On our Pro Tier, podcasters can even organize trainings into different playlist channels to make it easy for listeners to choose different topics of interest to them.

3) Work-From-Home Updates and Self-Care

On our most recent POPP (Podcast on Private Podcasts Episode) available here, audio producer Anna McClain correctly predicted that many companies would use their internal podcasts to share information on working-from-home and self-care.

This has certainly been the case. Many companies have created series that help train employees on how to be most effective while in the WFH environment. This might include an update from IT on how to use Zoom or an HR lead joining to share thoughts on how to manage your workday. These podcasts show the organization’s investment in their team’s well-being.

How to Start a Private Podcast on Storyboard

Whether you want to try one of these strategies or have your own vision in mind, Storyboard has a terrific product to get you started.

Head over to our Plans page here, and you’ll see several different options. I’ll hit a few key notes.

  • We offer free hosting for up to 100 listeners. No credit card required. We want you to see how private podcasts can transform your Comms. If you want to try out a private podcast for your organization, you can get started right this second through the link above. This includes your hosting and gives your listeners the ability to login and listen through our apps on all devices.
  • Do you have an organization larger than 100 users? We’re on board to help. Storyboard Pro can support organizations of all sizes (from 100 users to tens of thousands). You can set up a demo with our team, and we’ll showcase our advanced tools. These include deep listener Analytics, the ability to run many different podcast Groups for your organization, Single Sign-On (if desired), and more.

In this piece, we focused on our “core” use case for companies, organizations, and non-profits. That said, please be aware that many different types of groups have used Storyboard — from families trying to stay in touch to educators recording their classes for a remote audience. If you see value in using audio to stay connected, Storyboard is here to help.

Storyboard.fm

The Platform for Private Podcasts

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.

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.