Improving the Company Newsletter Experience: Podcasts for Employee Communications and Engagement

Published: September 28, 2022

A company newsletter is a common way to share important updates and keep your workforce informed of wider company directives, events, celebrate success and more. Often, the information sent out in a company newsletter is quite essential. So, companies should be continually analyzing how well their newsletters are performing. This includes looking at open rates, click rates, and how effectively the newsletter is getting information communicated to the most people.

Fortunately, company newsletter open rates are pretty high. Several large scale studies show around a 60% open rate. Makes sense, right? It is different than a marketing email–employees should see this as essential content.

However, click rates in a company newsletter only tend to be around 14% and how much employees read and retain may vary widely. And, many companies are not measuring the engagement with the content from company newsletters (up to 60% don’t use tracking tools).

Challenges to Employee Engagement with a Company Newsletter

  1. Email and “screentime” overload: A Carleton University study found high levels of work overload and stress, much of which was associated with spending so much time on email. Microsoft’s recent data shows increases in time spent on email and online meetings, which leads to many employees feeling overwhelmed and being less productive. (Brain studies show increased screen time leads to stress build up and decreased focus and engagement.) You don’t need the numbers to tell you though, your inbox is probably indication enough!
  2. Accessibility for a diverse workforce: 80% of today’s workforce are non-desk workers for whom a company newsletter and email communications may be less accessible or require additional time. Due to both the nature of their jobs and learning preferences (and the need to give the eyes a break!), some employees may do better with information being provided in a different format.
  3. Engagement: Words are only a small part of communication. Hearing tone of voice and conveying emotion through spoken word can build interest, excitement, and otherwise provide more meaningful context.

Podcast as Companion Media: Improve Internal Communications

Enter podcasts! A podcast might be an ideal way to improve engagement and address such challenges that accompany a typical company newsletter.

How can you use company newsletter podcasts?

  • Record an audio version of the newsletter so people can choose to read or listen. You could send the usual email out and link directly to the podcast version/include the audio player and you can also push the podcast out with notifications in a podcast app (Podbean Pro podcast app for businesses, for example!) and embed players where they’re easy to access on your internal site.
  • Expand on certain newsletter topics or cover a highlight each week in your “company newsletter podcast”. For example, you might make the podcast a short interview with a relevant team member, such as with the CEO when there is a large company initiative they can discuss or with the Product Team when a new product is being rolled out. If you have a big event coming up, you could get audio snippets from different members working on the event or share the story of an event afterwards with audio clips.
  • Have a theme each week, covering a different topic or aspect of the company by bringing on guests or getting different teams within the company to collaborate on making that week’s podcast.
  • Focus the internal podcast specifically on employee engagement or initiatives. For example, interview employees to share their stories. This could be a key part of learning and development and employee culture. It can also integrate with DEI efforts, onboarding, and more.
  • Use the podcast for “deeper dives”. For example, cover important news and topics in brief written form in the newsletter. Link to podcasts covering more on those topics for those who want to learn more or need more details.
  • Use the company newsletter and podcasts (and other channels) as ways of cross promoting and ensuring everyone gets all the information they need, when and where they need it.

Case Studies: Improved Employee Comms with Company Newsletter Podcasts

Getting Even More Engaging

A fast-paced biotech company had a strong internal comms strategy, including a popular company newsletter. They also have an emphasis on company culture and try to include a lot of fun events and build excitement about company wins through the regular newsletters. However, being so fast-paced and employee-oriented, they understand the importance of efficiency in communications. Additionally, they have some particular groups of employees who have time (such as lab and drive time) when they could listen but perhaps not read easily.

They turned their company newsletter into podcasts in two ways. First, they did a simple audio version that they made available for those who wanted to listen. Using the Podbean Pro app, employees can listen securely no matter where they are. Second, they made a separate companion podcast that was more interactive. This covered the major initiatives or topics, with interviews or discussions. They kept these short and sweet and these soon became quite popular.

Their analytics show a high listen rate. More importantly, they have found employees who had not read the company newsletter now listen. And, the granular episode data shows listeners consumed 90-100% of the episodes. This was data they didn’t even have before! Plus, more employees now contribute to the podcast.

Employee Stories

A large educational institution delivers a campus-wide email covering everything relevant to employees, with a companion intranet blog. One initiative they started was featuring employees from  a wide swath of positions, often with non-traditional career paths or less known roles. They realized these stories could be better communicated in audio. Now, the employee voices their own story for a richer experience. They got so much positive feedback that they decided to repurpose interviews for external branding and recruitment.

Learn more and get help getting started.

Check out more corporate podcast case studies here.

The post Improving the Company Newsletter Experience: Podcasts for Employee Communications and Engagement appeared first on Podbean Blog.

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