Skills modern podcast producers should have


Modern podcaster skills

Since I last wrote about private podcasting for internal communications (in 2018), the podcast and technology industries have evolved, and new business trends have emerged. When I wrote extensively about digital transformation in financial technology in 2015-17, I didn't expect the theme to equally impact internal communications. Yet, it has because of factors such as the pandemic, remote working, increased emphasis on mental health, and the inevitable explosion of automation and machine learning in the hands of everyday professionals.

When I began podcasting in 2009, I tried to convince Blackberry-powered senior leaders that audio as a content medium was worth exploring. It was a hard sell, but I persevered. Since then, podcast consumption has steadily grown, and at least 50% of British people are now familiar with podcasting. It lasted the course, not unlike QR codes. Good ideas tend to stick around.

Businesses continue to “digitally transform”, a vague phrase that means anything from replacing a fleet of fax machines to overhauling operations with AI. Despite its vagueness, I believe digital transformation as a movement has helped podcasts thrive. As the importance of multi-channel approaches to marketing and communications has been emphasised, businesses have explored different avenues, including podcasting.

Has remote working helped, too? Perhaps it has. I wrote an enormous amount of copy for Indeed in 2022, mostly around employee experience, and what I really wanted to do was turn some of these important internal topics into sound. I was unable to convince the client, but I think the argument for audio is now stronger and easier to sell. The pull of being able to reach and engage with employees wherever they’re productive is compelling, and I believe internal comms pros can really see and understand the benefits of doing so with audio.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. These are broad themes that indicate slow but steady corporate adoption of podcasting as a viable comms channel. Let’s explore the trends that may have kicked this transformation into gear.


I know, it’s a horrible word that sticks in your front teeth. Despite this, it’s a real thing, combining two popular podcast benefits. When people were asked by Ofcom in 2021 why they listen to podcasts, 61% said for entertainment and 52% said “to learn something new or improve”. If that doesn't make your ears prick up as an internal comms specialist, you've probably stopped reading.

The influence of AI

Forget ChatGPT for a moment. It’s not the only horse galloping around the tech track. There are many ways AI has been implemented into corporate life, with podcast production and content marketing two of them. I should know, as I’ve added AI to my workflow as a podcast producer. It has saved time and energy, and it’s made me more efficient and productive. I’ve had so many new ideas since I clawed back the thinking time stolen by laborious, mundane tasks. I’ve passed these new ideas and efficiencies on to my clients, because that’s a nice thing to do and helps strengthen relationships.

The advent of mental health

No, it’s not new. Mental health issues have been around since T-Rex chased us. Yet, this is a huge theme under a giant spotlight, and mental health podcasts have supported those who need it. As internal communications go, podcasts are a great way to increase focus on employee well-being in the workplace.

What is a professional recruiter to do?

With all of these forces merging to create a perfect storm, what should recruitment, comms and marketing pros look for? Here’s a list of skills I think modern podcast producers should have:

  1. Expertise in current trends. It's good to know your beans when it comes to podcasting trends and how they connect to the everyday demands of internal communications. If your podcaster knows what you mean when you say “employee engagement” or “employee experience”, they may be a good hire.

  2. Experience with remote teams. Some of the most popular podcasts in the world have fancy studios and enormous microphones. Some of the best podcasts simply don't have the budget or the brand heft to bother. This is why many podcast producers work remotely, so they understand what it's like to be a remote employee. They should be able to answer your questions about strategies for producing podcasts that engage remote teams, while fostering a sense of belonging among employees.

  3. Focus on edutainment. That word comes back to haunt this article, but it's worth noting that a producer who can create entertaining educational content is rare. (But ask for proof!)

  4. An understanding of AI applications. Many podcast producers are bona fide, ex-broadcast audio experts, but some don’t know how AI tools are used in corporate settings. I recommend you ask for examples of what they use and how they've seen it used for previous business clients or employers. You can then capitalise on their knowledge and experience when putting podcasts together for employees, such as aiding the onboarding process by being part of an automated workflow, and employee personalisation.

  5. Commitment to mental health. Does your potential podcast producer care about mental health? They may not need to if they're required to simply press 'record’. If that's all you need them for, why bother hiring them? A 21st century podcaster should be able to merge technical ability with empathy, so that scripts are aligned with specific business values, with people at the heart of engagement campaigns.

Modern podcast producers may need to do more than press the record button. As with many professional roles, skills overlap, and the more we know and understand what other departments do, the better we can be in our respective roles. It’s what I’ve seen since those early days of producing podcasts: simple reporting has morphed into relatable, engaging, thoughtful and entertaining audio content.

Up until now, podcasts have thrived in public squares. I believe modern podcasters should have management skills, great research abilities and editing wizardry. If they can provide examples of how they apply these to their work, hire them, and let them prove that podcasts have power in private circles too.