Planning a podcast? Here are three to inspire.

Do you love podcasts? At the-thread, we’re big fans, and have been delighted that over lockdown, podcasting has really come into its own. In fact, a recent report by Ofcom stated that around 7.1 million people in the UK – one in eight of us – now listen to podcasts each week. Podcasts are being used by all kinds of people, brands and communities of interest, to share their take on the world and create a closer relationship with their audiences.

As we all know, helping employees to continue to feel connected to the leaders and culture of their organisations has become ever more important. The main vehicle for this has been via webinars and video calls; but many people report suffering from Zoom fatigue, which is only worsened by that feeling of being tied to your desk, staring at the same four walls every day.

Podcasts are a great alternative to video calls for internal communicators, because you can listen to them anywhere – so you’re free to jump on that exercise bike or go for a walk and still be ‘at work’. They also don’t require a lot of technical equipment to produce; can be recorded remotely, and can create an intense feeling of intimacy and connection with the listener.

That being said, lots are being launched right now and it’s fair to say there are some stinkers out there. If you’re not really a podcast or radio person, it can be difficult to think through the kind of format that will work best for your presenters, guests and audience. The answer isn’t to simply translate what you would have produced as a corporate video and create an audio-only version. It’s a different medium and there are a plethora of approaches, depending on the subject matter and needs of the audience.

Our founder, Laura is a proud podcast addict, so here are three of her favourite non-business focused podcasts and her thoughts on how you could apply the tone and format in your organisation, depending on your challenge.

The Adam Buxton Podcast

Format: One of the originators of the celebrity interview podcast, Adam has what he terms ‘ramble-chats’ with his guests, where he allows the conversation to go where it will.

Why it’s great: Unlike many interviews where you sense the interviewee is tensely waiting for the cue to plug their latest book, movie, TV show etc., Adam’s style means the guest relaxes, which usually produces some surprising, funny or emotional moments.

Useful if you….need to build the profile of a leader who is engaging in conversation but who freezes up when a camera is turned on. Try blocking out more time than usual and practice your open question technique to get them chatting – and be prepared to wander off the ‘official’ topic; it’s all good, don’t edit it out.

You’re Wrong About

Format: Journalists Sarah Marshall and Michael Hobbes take it in turns to research a misunderstood event or person from history and….tell us why we’re wrong about it. It’s all delivered with humour, personality and passion for their subject.

Why it’s great: Despite the amazing depth and detail of their knowledge, YWA is relatable because while one is the expert for that week, the other one asks the silly and serious questions that we’re all thinking. Plus, when Michael gets excited, he speeds up so much that sometimes I think I’ve accidentally put my phone on fast forward which is ADORABLE.

Useful if you….need to challenge the cultural norms of your business or do some serious myth-busting, but don’t want to come across as preachy. This format allows you to put yourself in employees’ shoes to explore a subject in detail.

This Week In Virology

Format: An engaging and discursive chat with various scientists in the field of virology, this podcast, which is hosted by Vincent Racaniello has been going since 2008, but has recently gained a significant audience during the pandemic.

Why it’s great: Another example of allowing time and space to explore a subject in depth, the TWIV team are never afraid to admit the limits of their own areas of expertise and bring in other professionals for their point of view.

Useful if you….have a technical-minded function who are missing the usual opportunities to collaborate and learn together. This format would suit an occasional podcast which brings together subject-matter experts from around the business to debate a critical issue, or could also be used to increase trust and transparency around decision-making.

If you’re planning a podcast and need help brainstorming tone, theme or format, get in touch with the-thread via hello@the-thread.com. We’d love to partner on the perfect podcast for you.



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