MarketingPodcasts

Why You Should Create An Internal Podcast: The Yelpcast Case Study

By April 8, 2019 No Comments
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Have you ever thought about creating an internal podcast at your company? If not you should.

To show why creating an internal podcast is a great idea that can produce massive results, I recorded a podcast episode with Greg Hunter, Senior Sales Manager at Yelp and host of the Yelpcast. On it we talk about the execution of the Yelpcast, our process for getting it launched & produced, and the results we delivered.

Let’s go next level and break down the process of how the Yelpcast was created and the results that were delivered.

What is the Yelpcast:

An internal podcast at Yelp where senior executives have conversations about their success mindset, excellence, and lessons learned along their journey from working at the company.

Goal for the Yelpcast:

The goal of the Yelpcast was multi faceted. For Greg Hunter, who was new to Yelp, he wanted to raise his profile internally and build relationships with senior executives at the company. By creating and hosting the Yelpcast, it gave others an incentive to talk to him because he had a platform of value. This is something that isn’t as likely to happen if you are just another person in a company of 4000+ employees cold emailing someone to chat.

The next goal was to increase Greg’s knowledge of what it takes to be successful at Yelp. What has worked for other senior executives at Yelp that can help with his development? By going straight to the source it shortened his learning curve and allowed him to execute faster.

Problems the Yelpcast solved:

There were several problems we solved by creating an internal podcast at Yelp.

People who have the most information at a company, it’s usually all in their head or not easily obtained. It’s also not realistic for senior executives who fly in town for a day to host a company wide meeting to share information they know. By creating the Yelpcast we gave all employees at Yelp the ability to learn from the most successful and knowledgable people at the company on demand.

For sales organizations who are constantly onboarding new employees, training is vital. By creating the Yelpcast we created an evergreen content catalogue that can be used for training and ramping up the knowledge of new employees. This helps immensely as the senior executives on the podcast share tips for how they have succeeded at the company as well as overcome obstacles.

Taking this one step further, by creating an evergreen content catalogue we gave the training department the ability to create a curriculum around it. They are able to do this by chopping up the podcast into micro episodes that address specific topics (since the Yelpcast covers a wide range of topics each episode), which then creates a higher volume of content. With more content comes the ability to have a greater impact on the development of employees, plus at a faster rate.

As Greg shared when I asked, “What did you discover as you went thru the podcast process?”

We discovered that the majority of the top people at Yelp really struggled in the beginning of their careers. I think this is something that the majority of sales people can relate to and it provides a sense of hope and relief they are not alone. It allows them to relieve some of the pressure and adopt the mentality of “It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when.”

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Becoming a Podcast Host:

The Yelpcast was hosted by Greg Hunter and Billy Anthony (a Junior Sales Manager at Yelp) and neither of them had any podcast hosting experience. My goal as producer was to ramp up their podcast hosting knowledge, and help them get into a rhythm. The way I did this was by setting a foundation from the very beginning of what it takes to be a good podcast host. This is something that happened in many ways.

The first was as they were building out the structure of the Yelpcast. I created a blueprint for them to follow that made executing the podcast easy. This included creating an intro and outro that was said the same way every single time, a structure for asking questions, plus an emphasis on action items and takeaways (that way every episode delivered value). The reason this is important is because with consistency comes confidence. As you become more confident as a podcast host you sound better, the interview is better, and ultimately the final product becomes better.

As Greg and Billy were becoming more comfortable with the structure of the show I made sure to coach them after every episode. This included giving candid thoughts on what each of them did well, plus what they could improve on (both individually and as a team). To do this I would take notes on their performance as they were hosting the podcast, that way I could give them real time feedback when the show was complete.

Having Greg and Billy become great hosts was very important to the success of the Yelpcast because our goal was to deliver a high quality podcast. One that is representative of their personal brands, the Yelp brand, as well as the guests on the podcast.

Recording the podcast:

Time is valuable so it was important for us to be efficient with our process (which is why I am such a stickler about process and building a foundation for a podcast). Greg and Billy would record the podcasts in my studio at 1871 during their lunch break. From start to finish we had everything recorded in less than 40 minutes. This was a benefit to all parties involved as it allowed Greg & Billy to execute the show without missing any work, and the podcast guests to be in and out quickly.

As they were recording I would write down the show notes containing the best nuggets of wisdom and resources talked about on the podcast. This allowed valuable information to also appear in written form, which further added to the value of the show.

Launching the Yelpcast:

The way we launched the Yelpcast was by first creating a catalogue of episodes, that way we were always working from a position of strength. Before the Yelpcast ever launched we already had six episodes recorded.

What helped the momentum of the podcast was landing the first guest immediately gave the Yelpcast credibility. That made landing future guests easier. As more senior executives came on the podcast, a buzz started to happen across Yelp. Greg and Billy started having other people ask them if they could be on the show. No one had the ability to listen to the podcast yet, but people were curious (both listeners and potential guests).

By the time we launched the podcast there was already a captivated audience.

Where did the podcast live?:

Unlike a traditional podcast that is hosted by a third party and can be accessed on iTunes or Spotify, the Yelpcast was an internal podcast for Yelp employees only. Because of this the podcast lived on the internal Yelp Wiki.

Results & Testimonial:

“It was a home run right when we launched it. Without Rob’s expertise and guidance this would not have been possible. Before every recording he would give great direction and pointers to the guest to make them feel at ease and comfortable. During the process he would record the show notes and give us queues to stay on time/topic. Once completed he would provide feedback, edit the podcast, and send a recap email in a very timely manner. If you want to save yourself a lot of time, money, and headaches you found your guy!”

– Greg Hunter, Senior Sales Manger at Yelp.

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Would you recommend this to someone and why?

I would highly recommend every company, no matter the size, create an internal podcast for employees. The insights and transparency it provides is invaluable and with a company of Yelp’s size it really allows us to connect with employees on a genuine and intimate level.

What was the feedback you received internally?

MORE! The feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Much of the content is timeless and can be repurposed for training new employees and veteran employees alike. We have everyone from reps to other executives asking when they can come on! We handed the Yelpcast over to our training department and they are now in the process of integrating it into their Learning Management System.

Conclusion:

Creating an internal podcast was new to Yelp, and hosting a podcast was new to Greg and Billy. Despite this everyone was committed to the process and because of it the Yelpcast was a success. Brands that succeed now are the ones who are willing to be forward thinking, embrace content, and have a brand heartbeat. An internal podcast is a great way to take knowledge from one person, and distribute it to many, in a value driven and engaging way. When that happens, everyone wins.

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Talk to me ASAP about how we can create an internal podcast for your brand. Contact Rob Cressy at rob@baconsports.com.

Rob Cressy

Rob Cressy

Sports loving free throw specialist and yinzer living in Chicago who is awesome most of the time, has run with the bulls in Spain, and is a graduate of Second City's Improv program.