A recent study of EY Germany would answer a resounding YES. Recently, the podcast hosting company Podbean spoke with Marius and Jessica of EY Germany to hear about their experience of the first two years of producing company branded podcasts.

When did EY decide to implement podcasting?

EY’s commitment to podcasting was stimulated by the pandemic. For example, the first episode of EY’s “FinTech Beyond Borders” was released in May 2020 and now boasts approximately 40 episodes.

Marius and Jessica suggest that the disruptions created by the pandemic primed EY’s audience to listen to podcasts. EY’s experience is a good illustration of how podcast engagement has exploded over the last couple of years.

How is EY using company branded podcasting?

EY uses company branded podcasting to build its brand both internally and externally. EY operates as a network partnership that boasts over 700 offices in more than 150 countries. With a spread across so many cultures and languages, internal brand building is central to retaining the knowledge base, philosophy, and ethos of EY.

Externally, EY uses company branded podcasting to establish itself as a thought leader in the transformation space. To this end, a broad range of topics are covered. A common strategy applied to EY’s podcasting is to bring in guests who offer different perspectives and add serious expertise to the discussion.

Listener participation and engagement are key to EY’s podcasting strategy. In fact, EY engages with its audience on a deep level. EY is learning what interests their listeners by inviting them in. Listeners engage by actively expressing opinions, suggesting topics, and giving feedback. If they have an interesting topic, they can bring the topic and even offer themselves as the subject matter experts.

The outcome of this strategy is that the target group is both driving the conversation and raising brand awareness.

How are your podcasts produced?

Each podcast is run by different EY offices. A common strategy is to hold weekly creative brainstorming sessions where anyone on the team is welcome to pitch new ideas. Once a concept for an episode is agreed on, typically the person who pitched the idea writes the script or outline and invites the subject matter expert.

The podcast lead schedules a pre-meet with the subject matter expert to determine what will be covered and, if the format applies, agree on a script.

EY uses a production company to manage the recording and post-production to ensure the highest-quality final product. EY manages all the marketing once the podcast is ready.

How do you create awareness?

The strategy EY uses to promote the podcasts to build awareness and engagement depends on whether the audience is internal to EY or external and in the customer or potential customer base.

Internally, podcasts are announced via the intranet. The banner or news burst promoting the podcast will often also link users to related materials, even if those are external sources of information. In this way, employees are encouraged to go deeper into a topic and further educate themselves.

Also, such news bursts are targeted according to their geography, ensuring that relevant materials are targeted appropriately. For example, in Germany, EY produces the popular Transformation Tacheles podcast, which covers topics such as consulting, strategy and current affairs in transformation. This is targeted toward EY’s German speakers working in consulting.

Externally, they apply a range of promotional strategies. Awareness is raised via EY’s newsletter and on the EY website. Teasers are passed to team members who have a strong standing in the subject area for them to promote on social media to increase traction. EY reports that LinkedIn is an effective platform for driving traffic.

A particularly useful strategy is that EY’s agents are encouraged to share the episode with their target audience and are allowed to do this under their own branding. This is an easy win for such agents, as they are passing an item of value for free. It is an easy win for EY as the traffic is pushed to them, further strengthening their brand.

EY loves the podcasting medium, as podcasts are so much more sophisticated and attractive than a “newsletter” format. Instead of linking to just one item of value-added material, once they reach the platform, the EY audience has access to all the podcasts produced. Their results show that this drives the audience to consume more content than what they found with other mediums.

What hurdles did you have to overcome?

Jessica and Marius agree that the biggest hurdle is finding a balance for the production pipeline. Producing ahead makes the production pipeline more robust. However, you also want to take into account current affairs and timely topics. For example, when producing a podcast that looks at major hacks and their effect on businesses, you simply can’t produce too far ahead and still be current.

Finding this balance is especially challenging for EY because they often host debate formats that require up to four speakers per episode and up to two moderators. With this many people gathering, it takes just one person to drop out of the meeting to make the planned collaboration fall apart.

Do you have any take-home advice?

Marius and Jessica both agree that to be successful in podcasting, you need an enthusiastic team with people who are willing to bring and drive their ideas. An engaged team with a diverse range of expertise who can grow the podcast is vital in creating an engaged audience.

Also, from their lessons learned: have a robust release pipeline with backup evergreen material ready to go in case of those unpredictable scheduling conflicts.