Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Lessons from Microsoft in Using Podcasts

It’s no surprise that our colleagues in Redmond are tapping new media in smart and engaging ways for employees. At the June PRSA breakfast program, Microsoft New Media Business Manager Paolo Tosolini shared how the software giant has turned to podcasting to mobilize its workforce and provide updates on key issues, products and services.
Tosolini became enamored with podcasts several years ago as he commuted to work each day and realized he could use the time to listen to downloaded content on his iPod. He soon became the number one advocate for the communications vehicle at Microsoft.
While the company’s sales team was the first to share information via video and audio files, it’s now permeated throughout the organization. Finance, HR, virtually every workgroup at the company now produces content. In the past two years, employees have created nearly 8,000 podcasts. During the past 12 months, there’ve been 200,000 file downloads.
Making content production easy for employees has been a key to success. Employees use flip cams for quick video segments. A recording studio is available for executives who want to produce slightly more polished pieces. Microsoft even uses a special voicemail box to collect messages that can be posted.
An editorial team manages the main podcast page using a platform called Academy Mobile. Special “channels” provide podcasts geared to specific departments and work groups. Filters are also used to help sort different podcasts by subject, by the workgroup that produced it, etc. Content creators select a series of tags before they post their podcasts.
Tosolini shared several examples of podcasts that illustrate how video can be used in creative, fun and quirky ways. The video segments can help sell the personality of a product, make company executives more accessible to employees and build greater connections among the workforce.
Other companies have also used podcasts successfully with their employees for several years, including Deloitte, IBM and Delta Airlines.
More about Paolo Tosolini’s work is available on YouTube, Seattle Social Media and other sites (see links below).

Posted by VP of Administration Neil Neroutsos
6/23/09, 4:45 p.m.

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