There was a span of about a month-and-a-half this past winter when I looked forward to long car rides. Multi-hour drives home for Thanksgiving – awesome, traffic jam – yes! Why was I suddenly thrilled by the idea of sitting in my car? Because, like many of you, I was completely addicted to the NPR podcast, Serial.

I feel like I can include the caveat “like many of you” because, during those couple months, it seemed that I couldn’t have a conversation that lasted more than 15 minutes without someone bringing up Serial. Like a good book or movie, we analyzed it, sought commentary on it, and, upon meeting someone who was not yet listening, had our 2 minute elevator pitch as to why it was the best thing ever ready to go.

Done well, podcasts are conversation starters and a way to build a community around an idea. The ability to use voices, music, and other sound effects allows the producer to connect with his/her audience on a more intimate level than a passive article or blog.  Incorporating podcasts into your LMS offerings adds another level of depth to the ways your community can feel connected and remain engaged.

Provide a “Human Moment”

A podcast can serve as a complement to a larger event or course offered to your community. More and more, businesses are employing podcasts as a strategy to engage this customer base in a non-salesy way by telling human interest stories or providing expert tips on topics tangential to their product. This type of “human moment,” is designed to draw the audience in and build loyalty as they feel they are getting a glimpse behind the curtain.

Tell a Story

The most effective podcasts tell a story or seek to provide advice on a particular topic, and they don’t have to be long to have an impact. A quick 5-10 minute clip is the perfect amount of time for a quick story or a list of 3 best practices around a particular topic. The important part is that listeners leave recognizing they just received new insights or information. In our fast-paced lives, a 10 minute audio clip can sometimes deliver a lot more bang than a 1,000 word article.

Build a Community

As noted above, in addition to helping to build organizational and product loyalty, podcasts also help to build a community. Because podcasts are designed to be intriguing and current, they intrinsically spark conversation. Popular podcast series like Serial became popular nearly entirely by word-of-mouth. It seems to be part of the human experience that when we find value or appreciation in something, we seek to share it with others – in the same way that we also recommend movies, books, and restaurants.

So the next time you’re seeking to build momentum and conversation around a new training series or conference, consider incorporating a podcast as a great way to create enthusiasm for your product.

Eve is an Elevate project manager with CommPartners. If you’d like more information about this topic or Elevate, you can reach Eve at

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