From left: Shel Holtz and Neville Hobson, co-hosts of the ‘For Immediate Release’ podcast, with John Cass, during a live recording of their show ‘The Hobson & Holtz Report’ in Palo Alto, California, March 2006. (Photo by Philip Young.)

Of all the social media tools that have emerged since the turn of the century, one of the most exciting is podcasting.

Podcasting first started in 2004 with audio; in much less than a decade, it’s become a medium of communication used by individuals and organizations of all types and sizes – Fortune 100 companies in the US, FTSE 100 in the UK, non-profits, governments, small- to medium-size businesses, the mainstream media… you name it, today they’re podcasting in one form or another.

Such growth has been driven primarily by these factors:

  • Because it is easy: to create a podcast, all you need is a PC, a microphone, a network connection, some free recording/editing software, a place online to deliver your recordings from, and a bit of imagination. If you’re doing video, you’ll also need a camera. Today, though, you don’t even need to have a computer with a microphone and recording software to make a podcast. Instead, with just an iPhone, Android or other mobile device, you can record your words (and moving images) and publish that content online instantly, shareable with the world, via services like Audioboo, ipadio. and YouTube.
  • It enables you to create and publish content that, before, would have needed to be done in a recording studio with professional skills and equipment and often complex and expensive production processes.
  • The explosive growth in ownership and use of digital music players (notably the iPod and then the iPhone and the explosion of smartphones on the Android platform) and mobile devices generally, most today also with video-recording capability, and more places online where you can easily find content, and which enables that content to come to you automatically via the internet when it’s available.

From concepts to final audio production, I can help you produce your business podcast. Whether in support of a campaign, for a special event or the start of an ongoing series, I can work with you on scripting, recording and production.

What would you use a podcast for? Here are four simple ideas:

  • Employee Engagement: A weekly 15-minute business update for employees delivered by the CEO or president; employees worldwide subscribe to the podcast via the company intranet or directly from the CEO’s blog and listen on their device of choice: computer, smartphone, tablet, etc.
  • General news of interest to everyone: The HR department produces a monthly 30-minute podcast that is a round-up of news and information on issues of interest and relevance to every employee including, for example, news about changes in employee health benefits, updates on training courses, expansion at the factory in a particular city, and a summary of company-wide job openings and where to get more information; the podcast is made available for subscription from the HR site on the company intranet and is promoted and shared in the internal company digital magazine or newsletter and by employees via Chatter, Yammer, etc.
  • Training and Education: A series of short 5-minute podcasts produced by the marketing department on key aspects about a new product that’s being launched, to help employees understand the features and benefits of that new product; the podcast series supports and complements other communication channels. Depending on communication objectives and specific content, the series could also easily be integrated in external communication planning.
  • Skills-Sharing and Team Building: The sales director records an occasional 10-minute podcast for her geographically-dispersed sales team with tips and tricks on, say, how to close deals with certain types of customers; her podcast is available from the sales intranet as a complement to formal sales materials and as one of the means through which she builds a sense of community and engagement with her team.

Hearing the voice of a CEO, or a subject-matter expert, or the sales director adds a human and informal touch to what’s too often the starched formality of organizational communication. This can be a powerful emotional influencer on internal and external audiences alike. And emotional influence is a key factor in employee engagement.

I have earned some credentials with podcasting:

  • Co-host of the For Immediate Release series of business podcasts, on the air (so to speak) since January 2005 with over 1,000 regular episodes, interviews and reviews. The anchor podcast is the Hobson and Holtz Report published weekly on Mondays. [More about FIR]
  • Co-author of How to Do Everything with Podcasting, the book from McGraw-Hill published in June 2007.
  • Co-producer and -interviewer of the IABC Cafe2Go podcast, 2009-2012; and ConferenceCast, the official podcast for the IABC international conferences, 2006-2007.
  • Business podcasts I’ve produced for clients that I can talk about – for example: for Speedo (2006) and for (2007 – 2009).
  • Presenter of the WCG ThoughtLeaders podcast, which I created and started, 2009-2011.

If you would like to discuss a specific project, or just talk through some ideas or concepts, I’d welcome a discussion. Here’s how to get in touch with me: