The Learning & Development Podcast: Podcasts For Learning with Shannon Martin from Podbean

March 16, 2021

Written by Kiren Kahlon

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The Learning & Development podcast is hosted by our Chief Learning Officer David James. Featuring L&D leaders from across the globe, each conversation focuses on hot topics in the profession. This transcript is from the conversation between David and Shannon Martin on podcasts for learning.

Listen to episode 65 of the Learning & Development podcast here.

David James: Welcome to ‎The Learning & Development Podcast. I’m David James from Looop. In each episode, I chat with guests about what lights them up in the world of people development. In this episode, I’m speaking with Shannon Martin, who is director of communications and internal podcast specialists at Podbean, which is a podcast-hosted platform about L&D getting involved in podcasting. Before we get into it, if you’re enjoying this podcast, please do give us a five-star rating on your podcast app of choice to help others to find us. Thank you if you’ve already done so. Now, let’s get into it.

Shannon, welcome to the Learning & Development podcast.

Shannon Martin: Glad to join you today.

Podcasting and Listening Has Continued to Expand Over the Past Three Years

David: Shannon, this is just one of a growing number of podcasts in the field of Learning & Development. Whilst the medium isn’t new, it really is boom time for podcasts right now, isn’t it?

Shannon: It definitely is. Last year at Podbean alone, we saw over 100,000 new podcasts start. I think a lot of people found their creative vibe during lockdown and such. Even listening has really continued to expand. I think it’s been up about 40% in the past three years in the US, and then we’re also seeing a lot of global expansion. There’s an interesting stat that I read that said that more Americans listen to a podcast every week than those who attend religious services. I think that was not related to COVID and things being closed down. That was just normal patterns.

The numbers are really growing. I think you can just tell by the pop culture factor that you hear podcasts brought up in TV shows and things and that’s when you know a medium is something that’s pervasive in society

David: A good barometer for that is, when was the last time you had to describe to someone what a podcast was? I think it really has entered at the pantheon of everyday language. Shannon, what is it about podcasting that makes them so popular, say compare them to– I’m not saying that it’s more popular than, but you certainly can compare it to say radio and audiobooks because it’s on that level now, isn’t it?

Shannon: Yes. I think there’s a couple of things about it. The on-demand nature of it is one of the things that makes it particularly appealing, especially versus something like radio. There’s a lot of podcasts that come out of radio that are actually radio shows repurposed, but the big difference is people have that mentality really more than ever right now about things being on-demand, being able to binge things if they want, or have their weekly podcast when they want to have it.

I think that’s a huge part of it, the convenience. It’s also the nature of it because there’s never been a meet the gatekeeper. To create an audiobook is a process and there’s expenses and things to create a radio show. Someone’s going to decide whether your radio show is something that they want to put out. Podcasts really foster this independent creation of, “This is something I’m passionate about,” and there’s every little niche area that people podcast about, things I didn’t even know existed. Then you find there’s already 35 guests.

I think it allows for a lot of creativity, and that is the creator side, but also the listener side because then the listeners have a similar passion for something, that they’re seeking out a real specific topic.

David: You mentioned there about niche, to geek out a little bit on podcasts, it’s following a path that inbound marketing has. I think that inbound marketing capitalised on something that was already there. You mentioned that there’s this DIY nature of podcasts right now that your podcast app is a search engine in itself, isn’t it? That you can follow a particular niche and whether you have a need because you’re going through something in your life, whether you have an interest, or whether you’re exploring alternative podcasts to those that you enjoy.

There’s always the case of somebody’s made a podcast about it. It’s a search engine and an avenue in itself.

Shannon: Yes, it’s very true. I’m one of those that have some regular podcasts, but I love to just search for a topic. Whenever I travel somewhere, I always look for podcasts, either from there about the area and stuff and there’s always some interesting stuff out there. I really use it that way and I think more people are doing that and poking around finding different stuff, and not just finding the big mainstream things either.

David: What I find interesting is when you hear radio DJs have a podcast. Initially, I thought, surely it’s the same. Then you realise, it’s the off-road nature of podcasts, they seem to be far less scripted. It is like listening in on a private conversation between two people who are passionate, who can be experts. That’s just a bit more insight than you do on a particular topic where radio shows represent a brand so they’re likely to stay on brand and stay on topic or in terms of playing the music that the listener is expecting.

Of course, audiobooks, well, they’re not all all interactive, it is the sharing of ideas and pulling together ideas but it’s a fundamentally different medium that I think the value of it is that that you are listening in. I wonder whether there is this nosiness, a national nosiness that we have that we want to listen in or we recognise the real value of– can I say the English term? I hope it translates, earwigging on two people perhaps that you don’t know.

Shannon: There’s a funny meme that I love and it’s this old-school 1980s billboard with people socialising and then there’s a kid sitting on the ground next to it, and it says that’s what’s like listening to podcasts.

You’re part of the group, but you’re not. People feel a lot of times like, “If I listen to your podcast on a regular basis, I start to feel like I know you even though I don’t.” That definitely is a part of the magic of it, I think.

Podcasts Bring a New Spin to Internal Communications

David: Can you just imagine going and trying to tell somebody in the 1980s that this is what we listen to. I think that you’ll be met with bafflement that you probably have, having been on the journey for a while. Now, I’m a podcast addict, I’m sure you are too, Shannon. I have been for many years. I also host two podcasts, so I might be the first to give a plug to my Great Music Debate podcast. Podcasts seem to be increasingly moving from general interest and public into organisations, aren’t they?

Shannon: Yes, certainly. I would say, I liked your reference earlier to inbound marketing because I think of it a lot like a blog, or maybe even a website for a company. Those are essential things now, and a given that that’s something you’re going to have. Even a tiny one-person company, it’s like immediately, website, blog. Now, it’s getting that way with podcasts. We’re seeing a lot of those organisations doing stories that are for marketing, an external purpose, of course.

Really, over the last couple of years what we’ve seen is a lot more organisations saying, wait a minute, our employees and our internal constituents, and maybe some of our customers, these are all also people that we need to be marketing to all the time, and we need to be training and developing. There’s so many different things we need to do, and a podcast could really fit some of those needs. The past couple of years we’ve just seen a huge expansion in that aspect of our podcast platform.

David: Well, when you think about some of the goals of brand marketing, there’s something around brand loyalty, which of course, doesn’t just mean for a consumer. You do want brand loyalty from employees. There is broader awareness, there’s an educational element as well. We’re very much used to brands educating us in their buying cycles. Of course, you can see that similar channels benefiting employees and employees at the right time wanting to engage. What departments seem to be embracing podcasts the most that you’re working with, and you’re aware of, Shannon, and for what purposes?

Shannon: We’re seeing a quite diverse usage. I would say the main areas we see are internal communications. Again, bringing a new spin, a new life to internal communications. There’s some stats that I learned about in doing research on this initially about how much information we actually take in when we read something. I’m a huge reader, and I write for a living, but it’s not very good. It’s like 7% that we decode. When you use audio-visual medium, it goes up to 38%, 40%.

Listen to episode 65 of the Learning & Development podcast here.

You can see immediately if you’re doing communications of important information, why it makes a lot of sense, besides the fact it’s appealing to the employees. We’re all sick of looking at screens all day, meetings and Zooms, and all that but also– Especially reading on our screens. A lot of internal comms people are saying, “Okay, a podcast makes a lot of sense to compliment what we already do. Maybe to replace some bits of it. To better communicate with a workforce that’s scattered all around the world. Remote working from home, that kind of stuff.” That’s a big use for sure, then we also see a lot of training and Learning & Development usages and those vary a lot. Some of that is really people development. I would say talent development where it’s stories of customer success stories, wins for the employees. One of the companies we work with that I’m so impressed by what they do, we just interviewed them the other day. They are Slalom. It’s a consulting firm. They use the Podbeanapp.

It’s branded, it’s called Slalom On Air and they have now numerous podcast channels. A lot of what they do is tell stories of employees. If you look at their website, you can imagine immediately how podcasting, how they would have thought it was a good fit because they are all about people-first culture. Really taking the knowledge from within that they have. These consultants that really gain tonnes of knowledge and sharing all of that. We did this interview with them and we shared it. Then it just goes to show the proof is in the pudding for sure because their employees, 12 of them, immediately commented on our post on LinkedIn. “We love the podcast. This has been one of the greatest channels, and blah, blah, blah.” 

When you have employees actually saying they enjoy your L&D stuff and your training and your communications, that’s huge. We’re seeing some interesting uses with even more concrete training pieces. One of the ones lately that struck me is– We see a lot of sales enablement podcasts doing all kinds of different things with it. One in particular that I find interesting is doing role plays because of course, it’s a verbal medium.

Those interactions are verbal. Going through sales calls, what makes the successful sales call? You hear it, you are able to model it, you are able to listen on the fly. Go back in, “I’m really struggling.” Or, “I’m running into this objection all the time. Oh, here’s a podcast where someone else was dealing with the same thing.” I can really get that message verbally, and continue to hear that and figure out ways to use that. Similarly, I think that that is the same concept for support staff.

For people that are taking those problematic phone calls. Angry customers and all of that. We all know that they have a lot of scripts about how they deal with different things and stuff. That’s a written script, but they are taking in a phone call. If they can hear it, it can really sink in. Then it gives them something, okay, “Now I have some downtime. We have this podcast that I can pull up, listen to on either specific topic, or just continually just get that reinforced.” I think we are going to see more of that. I think that’s a niche use. From the training and the development perspective, we’re seeing a lot of uses where it would be considered a microlearning piece. Where it can be any of a number of things.

It can be “listen to this pre-going into a more extensive training course to warm you up for it”, and it can be a reinforcement bet piece. It can be ongoing, learning new updates and things. Some of the organisations that we work with really, they are first-paced in terms of what’s happening. I think pharmaceutical and medical has been one of our big areas the last couple of years. Of course, they have just a tonne of detailed stuff that they have to communicate to people.

It’s changing and they have to be able to always have access to the latest information. They may, of course, it’s not going to all be communicated by a podcast. They need a sheet to go back and read and that kind of thing. The podcast is that stuff you usually have to see and hear a couple different ways. Again, especially, some of these types of jobs where you are also on the go a lot. It’s very practical from that perspective.

The Opportunity to Connect People Around Ideas and Stories Can be Incredibly Powerful

Remote worker listening to podcast

David: Yes, there is so much to pull out there, and when you consider the situation that many people find themselves in. They might be remote working. There are some of us that are still in lockdown, and don’t have a lot of interaction with as many people as before. The opportunity to connect people around ideas and stories can be incredibly powerful. You mentioned there, with sales forces, there might be people on the road, so it would be a great idea. Initially, before I suppose the mass consumption of podcasts. Talk about some kind of radio station where you just bring people along.

You are just talking about the stuff that really matters to people. Now you have got this very personal medium. Where you can speak with people about some of the most important stuff. What I like about it as well is that you can encourage people to get away from the desk. We are all sick of Zoom calls, aren’t we? To encourage people to go and take a walk around the block, or go and have a coffee and have a listen to some important conversations, it’s going to be useful for anybody.

I could certainly see how podcasts would be useful in providing insights. It could be incredibly valuable to hear the conversations between leaders, and core decision-makers within an organisation. You could see how that might not just appeal to all employees. You can actually be quite targeted with this as well, can’t you? With trying to focus on a distinct group or a distinct level. A particular cohort around the information that they need. You hear it, well before so many people were working from home.

There is always a massive complaint in organisations about not being there where decisions are made. Learning & Development say that a lot of the time as well. We always talk about wanting a seat at the table, but you might not need a seat at the table if you do have access to those decision-makers and those leaders. Have you seen senior leadership in organisations embrace this as a way of bringing their people along with their ideas and their thinking?

Shannon: Yes, I think that’s one of the favorite uses. There’s CEO fireside chats. I think it’s one thing we’ve seen and leadership at all different levels. Then a lot of people I’ve talked to lately, they’ve said it’s about leadership development at all levels. That’s where we want to get different employees involved and different departments and sharing so that people understand more of the rationale behind what the company is doing and the direction they are moving. Especially if we are working remotely and we are not all together.

We can be very fragmented, but the last thing we all really want is to have a meeting with every different department to hear about– Basically have our whole day full of meetings to get that stuff, but to be able to hear the stories and understand straight from that. That intimate factor, that voice. Yes, I have so many CEO, like I said fireside chat or CEO updates. That’s a really popular one for sure. Then a big one has also been that we’ve seen these picking out of specific leadership examples and interviewing the employee and doing that.

I think there are so many good ways that you can really tap into so much that’s going on there. It fits so well because again the story– I think someone shared that personal makes it universal or something. It’s very personal, but that makes you feel that universal. “Here’s what we are doing, here’s why.” That makes a lot of sense, and you mentioned about content segmentation. I think that’s really a key thing also. You may have the CEO update. Maybe something everybody gets, everybody wants.

Then you can have really targeted podcasts. I mentioned sales enablement that other employees don’t need or want and it goes out. We use a concept called groups in our platform so people can be segmented into groups to get the content that’s relevant for their needs. There’s so many different things that can be done with it then to make sure it’s applicable.

Digital is Playing Much More of a Leading Role in L&D

David: We talk in Learning & Development about blended learning. What we mean there is different forms of which content or experiences may be made available. The core of Learning & Development for as long as we’ve been a function has been the classroom. There’s going to be a classroom event which is supplemented by some elearning, which may then be followed up with an interactive website or a PDF. We talk about the blend as a way of making the most– Getting the most value from that face-to-face experience. Then creating something that’s more continuous that helps to remind people and pull out some of those key areas. That’s flipping because of course, in the same way as digital marketing has become the forefront of marketing, we’re seeing that digital is playing much more of a leading role. Now I don’t need to tell you, Shannon, this because we’re all used to Googling, we’re all used to YouTube. We’re all used to getting what it is we need when we need it, in service of our personal and professional goals. Digital is providing an opportunity to do that.

You can see that blending podcast as an element of a programme can be incredibly powerful and not to shoehorn another channel or another medium into a programme, or to enhance the face-to-face. A lot of the time, to replace what could have been wasted effort in bringing people together to deliver content, which you said earlier about. I suddenly remember 7% of perhaps what we read in a blog. We’re talking fractions of that, people who experience on two, three, or four or five-day programmes that we as humans we’re just not designed to remember that stuff. You just imagine that we’re creating these opportunities to share insights and conversations.

Some of the stuff that comes to me on this was, imagine you’ve got podcasts for new starters, where you are speaking with recent new starters talking about what was useful for them when they joined the company. Now, no one’s ever said, “It was really helpful because I learned Microsoft Word.” No one talks about the technical stuff. What they talk about, it’s all culturally nuance.

Everybody’s talking about how the organisation works, how to get the right stuff done, how to be shown to be doing the right stuff, who are the most important people. It’s so rich in the context of the organisation. As you said before, you’ve got that person element of people talking about what it really means to assimilate within an organisation. Have you seen any of that?

Shannon: Yes. I’m glad that you brought that up because that was actually a piece that I was just going through with that interview with the one company I mentioned earlier, Slalom. They specifically mentioned that they hand-select. They have different podcasts now on tons of different channels, but they hand-select episodes for their new joiners, and send them those that they think are some real key things when coming into the company they need to know. They’re really representative and will give them a leg-up getting started.

They said, not only does it bring them in with a real sense of the company, with much more than they could gain from looking at the website and stuff, but they found over the time of doing that, that they’re at a different level coming in as far as being able to just hit the ground running. That’s really interesting now that they have some data over time of doing it to see that it really has resulted in what they hoped. One important point is not to just shoehorn something in, because I think podcasting is cool, it doesn’t mean you should do it necessarily. You shouldn’t force it where maybe it doesn’t fit.

You don’t want employees to think, “Oh, it’s another thing. It’s so irritating.” I think most companies find that it’s not the case. It can replace other things. It can be more convenient. It is about thinking what the goal is and how it fits and is it the right medium for a particular piece? I think no matter what it is, it’s probably that underlying storytelling bit to it that is the magic, that maybe makes it a particularly good choice for a podcast or again, something that you really need to hear some with those role plays and that kind of thing.

David: I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. You’ve always got to come back to, especially within the profession of Learning & Development, if not, everything, what is it that you’re looking to affect? Trying to just do podcasts because you think it’s fresh and it’s the thing to be done, you’re just going to be creating noise. If you recognise that your new starters are getting a great deal from having a coffee with other new starters on day one, but then they’re left alone to figure out the rest. You probably realise that there’s something you could do with podcasts to share those stories around.

Another example could be with new managers. I’ve heard it said before and experienced it, it’s like a career change. What happens in our professional learning development is that we offer so few leadership or management development programmes that it can often take months if not years, to actually attend. Of course, by that time, you’ve already done the hard bit. You’ve already faced all of the unfamiliar situations and challenges that you’re going to face.

Then you go along to be told that, “This is what you should have done all along.” Imagine there is just a podcast series where the host is talking with one or a panel of recently promoted managers, which all comes down to, what does a manager actually do here? What I love about that is it doesn’t just have to mean within that organisation. Although it’s said that being a manager in one organisation is very different from another, but you can get down to departments because being a sales manager is going to be very different to being a facilities manager.

You wouldn’t necessarily group them all in. There might be benefit if that’s the problem you’re trying to solve by bringing different cohorts or groups together. There are challenges that people face that they would love to understand and open up what it actually means to be successful within that given organisation. Again, are you seeing this working at different levels for different types of skill-building?

Shannon: Definitely. Yes. One of the organisations that comes to mind with the management piece, I mentioned sales enablement before, and I’ve seen that with sales managers. Again, as you said, you go from being a salesperson, you’re wildly successful at selling, now you’re promoted to sales manager. You have certain skills that you can help coach people if you don’t necessarily have the manager’s skills and you run into a different set of challenges.

I think that’s a great use. Just generally, sharing stories from leadership or from anyone throughout the organisation about overcoming different challenges and adversities, I think right now this could be perfect for so many industries where people are feeling very uncertain about things. This time of uncertainty is a perfect time to be, of course, maximising what you’re communicating. Giving people as much support as possible. Also, it does a lot for their morale and confidence and all that kind of stuff, by arming them with the tools that they need and helping to overcome what those challenges are.

The more leaders and different people can be transparent with some of that with what has gone on. You always hear great leaders in TED Talks and stuff, podcasts, sharing about their 18 failures before they ever had success with a company. You know that’s out there, but I think people don’t often relate that to the person that’s directly in front of them. They don’t think that’s happened to that person. They don’t know any personal stories. It can make a huge difference even in employees wanting to strive for developing themselves and growing, knowing that it’s possible. Diversity and inclusion is another area that we’re seeing some really cool stuff happening with.

You Don’t Have to Include Every Department When You Start Podcasting And You Don’t Have to Throw Your Budget at it

Podcasting desk setup

David: Some really good points there. I think that the public face of a leader can be a lot more accessible than the employee-facing one. What better way to bring a message alive than to hear the person speaking off-script. If I come to your role and what you do, Shannon, how do you advise organisations and teams such as Learning & Development, if they want to get started with podcasts?

Shannon: We do a lot of educational pieces on this. I’m actually working on a big article right now for the Association of Talent Development. I did a smaller article, but now we’re really getting into the weeds of things about podcasting. It’s a little challenging at times because what I might advise you versus a different company because your resources might be different, your goals might be different. I sometimes have a little bit of a hard time with some of the questions like, what length should the podcast be? How often should we do them? I don’t know.

Is it a series or is it a weekly CEO chat? It varies. I hate that it depends, the answer, but it is. Of course, we also consult very much one-on-one with our clients that use our platform. We’re really the tech platform. That’s really our role, but we’re working with so many companies that we can also serve in an advisory role and connect people with other resources too. If they don’t have in-house resources for production and things like that, we find that a lot do. If they don’t, we have people that we work with that can help them at whatever level, if it’s simply editing, and that kind of stuff, we’re really having someone that helps them to really think out, “We’re going to do a series, what’s it going to be about? What are the goals, bringing in voice talent. Maybe it can go to all kinds of extremes. We’ve done a lot of articles, and some webinars and things like that too that help people to lay out the planning process.

I think the most important bit, as we talked about before, is thinking about the goals, and then we tell people, “Here’s the different considerations when you’re approaching it.” We suggest things like perhaps doing a pilot project. What we find is, the couple of examples I’ve brought up, both started with a podcast, and now they have 13 podcasts down the road because it became very popular. They saw the success of it, but you don’t have to start with 13, you don’t have to start with every department doing it. You don’t have to throw your budget at it.

We recommend a lot of people do the pilot piece, and then they tend to see the success and then it grows from there. That’s one thing that we recommend. We have a lot of pointers that we found from different companies’ successes and challenges. Like anything in a Learning & Development programme, there’s certain elements and thinking of what the goals are, and how it fits, putting together a decent plan for it. Not every podcast has to be thoroughly scripted, it’s actually the beauty that they’re not.

Some planning behind it, some thoughts as to an editorial calendar for whatever it may be. Then the other piece that sometimes, we found can be an issue, is you put out a podcast, but not every company thinks as well about the delivery and the promotion of it. That’s the reason a lot of people come to us, because the convenience, and the user-friendliness of the experience of the app that we’ve created makes it really convenient for the employee. It does push notifications, and it’s like their normal podcast experience so it makes it really nice.

You also can’t just have that and not– Employees have to know, where did they get that. They have to get the notifications. You have to build some excitement around it. The ones that have been most successful, that’s been part of the thought process. We have one example, where they made their own commercial for their podcast app and it’s really some cool music behind it and it goes through and explains why and why you’d want to listen to that. You can see then there’s that excitement for the employees because that is part of the value of the podcast is that it can be a little more appealing and exciting than maybe some other than reading a PDF or something. You want to take advantage of that while you can.

Listen to episode 65 of the Learning & Development podcast here.

Sell the Value to the Employee, Don’t Sell the Podcast

David: You’ve hit the nail on the head, sell the value to the employee, don’t sell the podcast. Learning & Development can be guilty of trying to push a new suite of elearning or trying to push a new programme. What you’ve got to do is recognise what it is that individuals are struggling with or aspire to and make sure that you’ve got the solution to their problem, rather than trying to create a problem for yourself, which is, how do I get listeners to the podcast?

Going back to your point four, we’ve got to recognise this is a digital medium and these two approaches will say, “Do something small, run an experiment, get something out there, learn from it, because the first time you do it will probably be the worst time you do it. The second time will be better,” then to move on, Shannon, there may be some anxiety about podcasts being more hassle than they’re worth. You might have to book guests. You might have to plan topics. There’s some editing, perhaps, there’s the logistics of where and when to record.

These need not be reasons to not get involved. How do you generally allay concerns of people who perhaps have some reservations?

Shannon: I think that it is part of the appeal potentially to podcast for a lot of organisations, in that it actually can be a pretty easy medium in terms of production. Now when I say that, and you’re a podcaster, you know there’s a lot of work behind it. What I mean is relative to creating a huge course. Now, podcasts can be audio or video. We have both in our app, but a lot of times when we’re talking about it, we’re thinking audio. Of course, audio has some simplicity over video in terms of equipment and bandwidth, and everything, so that can be a huge value.

There’s also a lot of talent potentially within your organisation that you can tap into. One thing that I think is another benefit, or something to consider, is the collaboration aspect of getting– This doesn’t have to be just the learning department solely doing this, and we’re in a silo, and we’re going to put this out and we can get employees involved, we can get different people doing different pieces. Then it spreads throughout the organisation.

There’s different kinds of podcasts out there so it really depends on how you break down the responsibilities. We’re recording with Zoom. You can repurpose other things you did on Zoom. Now, I think podcasts, of course, you want to be careful how you’re doing, and not just repurposing something that maybe isn’t a good fit, and not editing at all, or these things. It can really be as simple as it’s another distribution method. We have a Zoom discussion about something, and then we want employees to be able to quickly listen on their app.

It can be that, and that can be relatively simple, and the equipment. Nowadays, comparatively with podcasting, in general, there’s so many tools out there, and it’s so easy. Our app actually has a recorder built-in, it has for quite a few years. We have a lot of churches that do that, and that’s the way they record their sermon, and that’s what they do. The audio is not bad with your earbuds into the phone. I’m not suggesting not to consider audio quality but I’m suggesting it’s much easier nowadays to get decent audio quality.

If the content is good– I’m a content person. I’m going to always say, if the content is good, if there’s some entertainment value to it, some inspiration, then I think people aren’t going to mind if it’s not produced as the best radio broadcast that they ever listened to. They’re not expecting that.

David: I always say that it doesn’t have to be professional, it just can’t be unprofessional. I think there’s a lot of space there to be working with. A good friend of mine recorded 150 episodes of a podcast over several months and years, speaking into the handset, and you’d never know. I’d say that poor sound quality does actually put me off podcasts sometimes. When you know that speaking into a handset can sound great, then I think that that’s onto a win.

Even some mics, it really doesn’t take much. You mentioned mine, I record on Zoom, I split the audio, I drop it into GarageBand. When I’m doing that last quality check, I can really do it in real-time. You’re cutting chunks out, you’re muting a little bit, you’re top and tailing it. You might have some music that your brand department wants to include. Once you’ve got it set up once, it really is a case of drop and go and it really shouldn’t be a barrier to creating valuable content.

I think that’s probably what it comes down to as well, does your time in producing that equate to more than or less than the value that the individuals are going to take? Again, learning a development build elearning that can take 10s of hours, programmes that can take months to schedule. This could be real-time valuable conversation into people’s ears in just a matter of minutes. If the listener is thinking, Shannon, that podcasts are something that they’d like to experiment with, how would you advise that they start?

Shannon: They’re welcome to reach out to me if they have questions, of course. We have lots of resources. Our blog is blog.podbean.com. What I would definitely recommend is we actually have a LinkedIn group and it’s called Podcasting for Learning & Development and Internal Communications. It’s very easy to find. I’d say join that. We post resources pretty regularly but it’s also, of course, it’s a group so it’s meant to be interactive.

If it’s something you’re thinking about, you can post a question and find out if there are other people doing what you’re planning on doing, what their advice is, getting that kind of stuff. If you don’t already listen to podcasts but you think you want to do a podcast, I would say start by listening to podcasts.

David: Yeah, geek out on podcasts first.

Shannon: Because I think it’s like I’m a writer, and that started from a passion for reading. I think I can’t imagine being a writer without reading. I think you might think, “Oh, well, the podcasts I listen to are so different than what I would do for Learning & Development”, but you might borrow elements. You might find cool things that they do, little tricks. Oh, it is nice that they always have a consistent intro. I like how they ask certain questions that are kind of– That’s one of the things we’ve seen with a couple of our L&D podcasts is that when they’re doing employee interviews and stories, they have this common question that they ask and then everybody kind of knows now, and they kind of plan out their answer and start to– they make discussions and things like that. You hear that in probably a lot of podcasts that you enjoy personally. That’s always a good starting point. We have a lot of resources about approaches and different things. Start with what your goals are, why are you thinking about doing it? If you are at that point of thinking about it, you probably have a good reason. It probably makes sense to do a pilot and get going on it.

The resources are out there if you’ve never recorded or edited. There’s so much good information. We just did one about Zoom, about how you make that into a podcast. We’d go step by step. We did a video and a little blog post about it and that kind of stuff is readily out there for quickly learning and being able to put it into place without having to feel like it’s going to be a major endeavor for the next six months.

David: Fabulous. I’ll just add in there as well, give it a go. It’s seriously one of those things you don’t know whether you can do it until you’re actually doing it and you’ll never get good at it unless you’re a bit persistent. I think that what you just explained there is some great tips, Shannon. As we wrap up, if people wish to connect with you, how can they do so?

Shannon: Any Podbean social media, you can find me. I’m shannonm@podbean.com. I’m also on LinkedIn, my handle or whatever you want to call is Shannonmartinwrites. That’s pretty easy to find. If you can’t find the LinkedIn group by searching, you can send me a message on LinkedIn, and I can send you the invite to that as well. I really am always glad to chat with people and answer questions. It’s fun connecting with podcasters, creators, and people that are– I love the learning space because I’ve always been a learner at heart since birth and will always continue. I love being able to support people in that space.

David: Fabulous. Thanks, Shannon. We’ll put some links into the resources to your social media in the show notes as well. All that’s left for me to say, Shannon, is thank you very much for being a guest on the Learning & Development podcast.

Shannon: I really enjoyed it.

David: Digital Content development of any kind is now a core capability for L&D today. Podcasting is an emerging area of content development. Of course, as we discussed this episode, podcasts can be quick and easy to deploy in service of a defined need. If you want to have a go, remember to experiment rather than to launch it as a new commitment or millstone around your neck. See if it gets you the results you seek and not just some attention. If you’d like to get in touch with me, perhaps to suggest topics you’d like to hear discussed, you can tweet me @DavidInLearning and connect on LinkedIn for which you’ll find the links in the show notes. Goodbye for now.

Listen to episode 65 of the Learning & Development podcast here or book a free demo to find out more about transforming your learning strategy with digital.

About Shannon Martin

Shannon works with podcasters and organisations running internal communications and training podcasts, to support their efforts and address their needs. In addition Shannon run community outreach: interviews, social media, events, collaborations, and sponsorships. She also speaks at podcasting and employee development/training/HR conferences on various aspects of podcasting.

Connect with Shannon on LinkedIn

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