The role of audio in internal comms | S2 E28

First published: 26 October, 2021

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Engaging Internal Comms Series 2
Engaging Internal Comms Series 2
The role of audio in internal comms | S2 E28

Vennly is a platform which allows businesses to share audio content through a range of different means such as Slack, SharePoint, PDFs and blogs. This gives the software a lot of potential when it comes to internal comms, something its CEO and Co-Founder Brian Landau has been utilising.

He is the guest on this episode of The Engaging Internal Comms podcast as he sits down with Craig Smith to discuss how organisations can use audio in their internal comms strategies.

Security and analytics are at the top of Vennly’s priorities and Brian brings a wealth of experience dealing with audio content, having previously been EVP at Cadence13 where he worked on popular titles such as Pod Save America.

His new podcast, The Drip, revolves around speaking to communications specialists and discussing the best practice in their space. The idea for this came from him noticing a lack of content which featured those putting communication strategies into action.

Synchronous and asynchronous communication

These two concepts play a crucial role when it comes to relaying information through audio. For large organisations looking to distribute this type of content, which category the information falls under can be crucial.

  • Synchronous – communication that is taking place in real-time by two or more parties. Zoom calls and webinars are examples of this.
  • Asynchronous – communication that is not taking place in real-time, such as an email to a colleague.

Choosing which of these to base a communication strategy on will have an impact on how it is received says Brian. He draws upon the example of employees working in different time zones, which can make synchronous communication difficult. Looking at what it means to have these shared conversations can help communicators craft strategies, as some content can still hold its value when delivered a few days after.

Making these decisions is something that Brian feels is improving by those in internal comms. Many employees can feel overwhelmed by things like emails and Zoom, which means taking a step back and looking at other ways to communicate. Choosing multiple channels to do this can be beneficial for engagement.

Effective asynchronous tools

As a lot of internal communicators now recognise, employees want to receive information in a range of different ways. This is often on demand and to with their own personal commitments. Some methods in which this can be done are more effective than others.

Email is the centrepiece of this type of communication. Almost every company in the world will use email but it is important for them to define an etiquette around it. This can be often overlooked, with employees not understanding when, how or if they need to reply.

As mentioned previously, this is where using multiple channels can have its benefits. Even though they can be used remotely and are not live, software such as Slack can help bridge the gap towards an immediacy in communication. Having a strong intranet network can also assist with this.

Posting content in various forms will have its benefits here, but some are more effective than others when it comes to asynchronous communication. Podcasts are a powerful way to deliver these organisational messages in a way that meets employee needs according to Brian.

“Audio is the ultimate on-demand medium,” Brian said. “It is one that is incredibly underrated for businesses, even though we are starting to see them adopt it more meaningfully as a way to communicate with employees internally.”

Why audio is an effective communication method

Brian starts by bringing this down to a basic level, explaining how most podcasts are consumed during working hours. He says that this is a consumer behaviour which internal communicators can take advantage of. The data shows that 83% of employees want to have their leaders communicate to them in the form of a podcast.

It also allows people to get on with other tasks while consuming the information, unlike video or text which requires full attention. Audio’s portability is where it can really stand out when it comes to engagement levels. On top of this, Brian believes audio is the most authentic form of communication, featuring no visual biases.

Organisations also have the opportunity to allow more voices to be heard using this format. The production side of podcasting is straightforward and allows communicators to quickly edit content before it goes live, making it much easier and cheaper to produce than video content.

The pandemic has increased audio in internal comms’ value in many ways, as working behaviours have changed. A lot more is happening for employees during working hours now, especially for those working remotely. This means content which is portable can often bring the significant benefits to them.

How to get audio into your organisation

For organisations looking to bring audio content into their business, Brian says evaluating the current asynchronous communication methods being deployed is a good place to start. Furthermore, organisations should look at which voices they are looking to elevate.

He stresses that those who are delivering these internal communications are not editors of content, instead they should operate as moderators. Brian explains to Craig how most large companies will have a number of willing voices who would love to help create and deliver content. Coaching these people can be helpful to some extent, but authenticity is crucial here.

On the technical side of creating audio content, Brian recommends software like Zencastr when it comes to recordings. However, using familiar tools such as Zoom can often have its benefits as there is not a huge amount of technical expertise that needs to be put into making this content.

When it comes to production this is also just as simple according to Brian. He states he learned how to do it in around six hours, saying how it can be a ‘creative release’ and fun exploring how to do this. Seeing these podcasts as ‘shows’ rather than communication channels can allow it to become more engaging and get people from other parts of an organisation to get involved.

What to expect from using audio as an internal comms channel

Brian turns to discussing his own company’s uses when looking at the impact of audio content. He mentions how his Vennly software provides a huge range of analytics which can be useful for internal communicators. This includes how much the audio content is being engaged with linked to which channel it is being shared on. Other data such as how long it is being listened too can also help shape a communication strategy.

Useful links

LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/brianlandau/

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