Full disclosure: My affection for this topic stems from the fact that I am a full-on podcast junkie. I barely listen to music anymore while driving in my car. There’s so much information available, and it’s all right there, ready to download and fill your brain with new and interesting content.
While it’s mainly a form of entertainment, it is, after all, a vehicle of communication – and that’s why you should try to get your leaders to participate in their own podcasts, for both internal and external audiences. There are few executives who currently do it, so it’s new, fertile ground for those corporate leaders bold enough to venture into this territory.
In future posts, I’ll write more about specific ideas for executive podcasts, the kind of equipment you need, and principles of execution… but for now, let’s discuss why your leaders should seriously consider doing regular audio podcasts. I realize that it’s hard enough to get many executives to blog, but that aside, the prospect of podcasting is well worth consideration.
Podcasting Is Still Considered Outside the Box
While this form of media has been around for about 10 years, it’s still considered relatively new. Only recently has it seen a boost in popularity and is being used more by those in the public sphere. For instance, celebrities who might have seen their time come and go in traditional broadcasting are finding new life and new fans through podcasting. Even regular people are making themselves into semi-famous personalities by buying a few hundred dollars of equipment and finding a niche to target with regular valuable content.
Executive or corporate podcasts, however, are mostly rare occurrences. Imagine how your leaders can set themselves apart and be perceived as innovators among a professional class that still has the stereotype of being stiff, stoic, out of touch, and confined to their top-floor glass bubble.
It Gives Your Company a REAL Voice
Press releases are fine. Quotes are great. Executive emails serve their purpose. But nothing hits home quite like a real human voice. Those people who might have seen your CEO’s name in the paper or a photo op at a local community event would now have the option to hear him/her speak. This can give a voice to your leaders in a time when, more than ever, executives have a public perception of being faceless suits. With podcasting, you make them relatable people.
Admit it. You await those updates from Apple’s CEO Tim Cook with great anticipation. It’s fun to see the new gadgets coming down the pike. Now, maybe your organization isn’t Apple, but there’s no reason your leaders can’t provide your customers (current or potential) or employees with news about the state of the business, as well as the latest products, services, initiatives, or innovations ready to launch. Loyal customers to your brand will look forward to regular updates about what you have in store for them next. They’ll feel like they’re part of an exclusive community, with “inside access” to previews of the latest and greatest. Employees, as well, will appreciate hearing from the people at the top in a convenient format rather than having to wait for the next town hall meeting.
They Have Questions; Give Them Answers
Employees and customers have questions for your company’s leaders. Customers want to know why certain decisions were made regarding changes to products, policies, layoffs, etc. Regular responses to specific inquiries show a genuine concern for the people your executives serve and the people in their service.
Let’s hear from you. I come at this with the presumption that your leaders aren’t podcasting. I’ve met no communication professionals who have spoken about a podcast their CEO is doing. But I could be wrong. (Yes. It’s been known to happen.) If you are, tell me about it in the Comment section. I’d love to hear about the kind of content you’re building and the success (or pitfalls) you’ve encountered.
PS: If you’re starting from zero and looking for a resource about creating a podcast, check out John Lee Dumas’s page How to Podcast: The Ultimate Guide to Podcasting. It’s aimed more at beginning a commercial podcast, but will give you the technical nuts and bolts information you need to get started.