One afternoon, I was sitting chatting to a good friend of mine (and EACD member too), Philippe Borremans, about his (then) recent exploits into podcast production following the launch of his excellent podcast for the communications fraternity, WagTheDogFM.
"What's stopping me doing something similar for the manufacturing community?" I said.
"Nothing" he said.
I pondered some more and raised the issue during a weekly comms meeting with my director general, Adrian Harris (Orgalime, the European engineering industries association). Whilst it wasn't our primary role, improving the image of the manufacturing sector and building a community around manufacturing in general could only do good, couldn't it? Not being entirely convinced, Adrian agreed to allow me to produce some trial episodes and attach it to the recently launched campaign website, Manufacturing at Heart, which had been primarily designed to assist Members of the European Parliament candidates and European Commission officials ahead of the 2014 elections, to understand the importance of the manufacturing sector in relation to the overall European economy. Thus the Manufacturing at Heart podcast was born, hosted on manufacturing.fm - the overarching URL available to purchase at just a few Euros! Own the space, or someone else will fill it!
After a further session with Philippe - really getting down to the nitty gritty of podcast production - I started to purchase the few items 'really necessary' to make as professional job of producing a podcast as possible.
As with all new projects that end up with the communications team, one must first ask why are we embarking on this journey? Well, without doubt, you must add value - otherwise it's a waste of time.
Philippe told me about his thought leadership strategy which should be "a sustained stream of education and advisory content that helps your organisation open doors, differentiate itself against competitors and deliver trusted advice". Storytellling in the form of a podcast delivers on all those points. Stories told by those who know best - the CEOs, Ops directors etc - telling us what makes it exciting for them to get out of bed each morning with so much enthusiasm! Indeed, very often these manufacturing people are so busy doing what it is they know best, they have little or no time to tell anyone else.
As a podcaster, you are a medium! It's not about you, it's about them!
So what is a podcast?
- A podcast is a digital audio file made available on the Internet for downloading to a computer, portable media player, a smartphone.
- The audio file is typically available as a series, new instalments of which can be received by subscribers automatically via iTunes and other online libraries - I use Stitcher and Acast too!
- A podcast comes in different formats; solo speaker, interviews, news items, conference coverage, e-learning format etc...
So why a podcast?
Podcasts make information personal: In a podcast, the content is communicated directly to you, the listener, either verbally or through video. That’s a much more intimate way of getting information than reading it from an e-mail or document.
Podcasts are convenient and easy to consume: Once you subscribe to a podcast feed, new podcasts are automatically downloaded to your computer or mobile device (smartphones & soon embedded in car radios) as soon as they are available. You can listen to them at your convenience.
Podcasts cut costs: Because podcasts are delivered digitally, they eliminate many costs associated with other forms of communication including postage, printing, and paper. They are easy to archive and updating them is quick and easy.
Podcasting is a time-efficient form of communication: You can listen to podcasts while you do other things at work or at home, or during your commute. Some types of meetings can be eliminated in favour of podcasts, saving time and improving productivity.
Podcasts are portable: Once a podcast resides on your computer or smart device, you can take the podcast with you and listen whenever or wherever you want.
Podcasting is an on-demand technology: Listeners decide what they want to hear, and when they want to hear it. On one hand, this means you’re competing for their eyes and ears. On the other hand, this means that if they are subscribing to your podcasts, there’s an excellent chance they’re actually getting the information you’re providing to them.
Podcasts are one way to deliver on a social networking strategy.
• Your podcast subscribers are the core of your community and over time, they will be your best prospects for deepening the relationship through cross-sell and loyalty tactics.
• In the UK 3.7 million adults listen to podcasts, and 62% of all podcasts downloaded are listened to.
• 57% of people listen to podcasts on their smartphone.
• 16% listen on desktops/laptops, 15% listen to podcasts on digital music players, and 8% listen on tablets.
• 42% of people listen to podcast in the car, 34% of people listen to podcasts whilst relaxing, 12% listen whilst exercising, and 10% whilst cooking.
• 65% of people that listen to podcasts are male, although the recent Edison research from the US saw an uptick of female listeners in 2016.
And what do I need?
The rest is up to you!
For each episode, consider your target audience. You should never consider that your podcast will go viral! Forget it! Once you've accepted this point, keep the research dedicated to the goal - keep it niche, keep it quality. Tell stories – remember you’re a medium! Create, record and source the best stories inside and outside the company and collect them. Curate and adapt where needed.
Use that one podcast recording and transcribe it into a 600 word SEO optimised blogpost. Use the same insight to create an infographic that you can promote on your social channels and direct visitors to your optimised landing page.
Automate non added value processes and hack operational set ups and activities in order to optimise them for all teams.
- Research topic
- Research influencer
- Record (and edit) podcast
- Sit back! Noooooooo!
It doesn't need to stop there. Your material is recorded for eternity!
You can then:
- Copy edit into 3-4 articles
- Publish in sequence on Blog, LinkedIn etc
There are so many stories out there to be told…most unfortunately don’t see that – that’s where you step in:
- Go niche
- Own the space – i got manufacturing.fm!
- Then…..fill it!
- Practice, practice, practice (have fun too!)
- Use third party service providers that will do the difficult bits for you – Fiverr etc.
- Don’t ask confrontational questions – formulate them so the guest tells the story he or she wants to!
- Actually, people love being guests
- Your ‘real’ audience is a much smaller ‘universe’!