The Value of Podcasts in an Era of Zoom Fatigue
In the time of social distancing, audio is more valuable than ever for businesses of all sizes. Over the past two months, we've seen that Zoom fatigue is real. And while we still need some digital face-to-face interaction with our colleagues and clients, audio presents a unique opportunity to engage with each other in a meaningful, conversational way without needing to be on video calls for hours on end.
The beauty of the podcast format is its intimacy. Unlike other traditional forms of digital media, podcasting allows the audience to feel a level of closeness and trust with the host. That's what keeps people coming back week after week. It's also what makes host recommendations, or brand endorsements, such valuable real estate. While many brands know the value of podcasts as a B2C tool, I wish more brands could see how valuable podcasts are as a B2B and internal-facing resource.
Privately streamed podcasts let employees exercise, make breakfast or give their eyes a rest from screens while consuming relevant information. Podcasts can be engaging, approved ahead of time and edited to distill only what's really required. You can streamline existing communication channels in a new, disruptive way. The host on a podcast also needs to be conversational in a way that will differ from most corporate newsletter copy. Shaking up traditional forms of communications renews purpose and lifts spirits during this time.
Anecdotally, we've heard from clients that private podcasts have allowed them to problem solve in a new way since the pandemic shook up their businesses. A great podcast can and will feel like a conversation among friends with whom you might otherwise not get the chance to engage. At Wonder Media Network, we've done this for branded podcasts—i.e., external communications—since we launched our company and as a marketing tool for a huge range of partners.
For internal comms, podcasts can help break down silos across teams and encourage honest conversations. Internal podcasts often lead to more productive meetings, as teams are able to jump into the meat right at the top and get straight into problem solving.
While we're seeing that podcasts increase productivity, they also give employees a moment to rest and contemplate. Because we are all moving so quickly, when people take a few moments to answer some questions into a recording device, we're given a moment to breathe, and the personality of each team member really shines through. This brings a certain level of openness and honesty to each podcast episode—something we could all use these days.
Ultimately, what this time has shown us is that podcasting isn't very difficult. Almost everyone has a smartphone or recording function on their laptop, and with some guidance, quite a bit of quick-turn crowdsourcing of employee voices can be integrated into each episode.
Beyond being used internally, audio can also be an effective tool for businesses to use for their clients. Private podcasts could replace webinars, email newsletters no one's reading, and other forms of communication that are missing the mark. For instance, large banks could host an invite-only podcast for their private wealth clients, updating families each week about ebbs and flows in the market and providing much needed information they can't get anywhere else. Any member-based organization could use podcasts as a more effective and intimate way to communicate. We're in conversations with several large insurance companies about sharing premium updates, tips and PSAs with their members.
Whether being used for B2C, B2B or as a tool for internal communications, podcasts remain a valuable medium that will transcend the Covid-19 era. We're hoping more brands can open up their traditional channels and take a chance on something new. After all, there's no better time than now to experiment with new forms of communication.