Podcasts are Agile Storytelling

About Author Graham Brown

Graham Brown is the founder of Pikkal & Co – performance communication agency responsible for producing Award Winning Podcasts for business brands. Clients including McKinsey, Julius Baer, IBM and the Singapore Government. Investors and Advisors from Netflix, Intel, Apple and iQiYi. He is a published Amazon author covering human communication technologies, marketing and branding. He has produced over 1,000 podcast episodes and webinar shows with notable shows including the Tony Fernandes Podcast. Graham is a graduate in Artificial Intelligence and is currently leading Pikkal & Co to use Machine Learning and Conversation Analytics to automate the heavy lifting of communication to elevate the human touch.

What is Agile Storytelling?

Agile Storytelling is a technique to develop and evolve a narrative that positions you as a thought leader and authority without having either a perfect game plan or all the answers in advance.

Agile Storytelling is a process you can follow to evolve and ultimate consolidate your narrative:

Define: Agile Storytelling

Agile Storytelling – you don’t need a finished book to have a story worth telling. The best stories are journeys which engage and invite the audience to take part, evolving as they add key talking points and refine their thought architecture. agile storytelling

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Traditional vs Agile Storytelling for Corporate Leadership

In the Traditional Storytelling approach you need to complete a published body of work to have a coherent thought architecture through which to lead conversations. In the Agile Approach, the focus is on constant evolution of the narrative – the optimal as opposed to perfect pathway.

A Podcast for a Corporate Leader is an optimal platform for Agile Storytelling:

  • She doesn’t have the time to write a book
  • Most of her value is store in experience and relationships with partners and clients as opposed to domain expertise
  • Her value is often locked in conversations that happen behind closed doors (and will never air for the greater benefit of the ecosystem

Comparison: Traditional vs Agile Storytelling

Here is an outline of what Agile Storytelling is:

“X” is your topic area.

“X” defines how people will remember you. And if you occupy a small space in people’s memories in the modern attention starved world, you are winning, because Attention is the New Currency of Leadership.

My friend Anthony Russell from Facebook sent me a Whatsapp message doing the rounds in Australia containing a spoof video that, to paraphrase, said something like “Whatever you do during this Pandemic, please, please, please, don’t start a podcast.”

I found it hilarious.

Obviously I know that in the Pandemic, podcasts are one of the few ways people can connect meaningfully, especially businesses. So now, business is good. But, what was reassuring was that I was the “X” guy for him, with “X” being podcasts. We get a good proportion of business from word of mouth simply because people ask my friends, “you know anyone who knows anything about podcasts?” and these conversations more often than not come our way.

Evolving the Narrative Through the Podcast

In my case, I use Podcasts to evolve the Agile Storytelling narrative. Business Leaders like McKinsey and IBM seek my podcast agency Pikkal & Co out to help them create award winning conversations. This was never the plan, it evolved.

Most business leaders come to me with an idea. It’s never a complete game plan. They want to elevate their profile; they want to build a tribe of fans; they want to get their thoughts out into what is a very noisy media marketplace.

Podcasts: Get our Guide for Corporates

podcast planning guide

Thought Leadership in a Noisy Media Marketplace

What are the options to build thought leadership today?

– Twitter: the noisy social media firehose
– Linkedin: great for business but it’s very hard to build an asset when your posts last for a maximum of 2 or 3 days
– Blogs: nobody has time to read them anymore and it’s becoming harder to get discovered
– Books: not enough time to read them and it could take you months or years to finally publish
– Events/Webinars: a good start but, again, it’s very noisy and there is no past-event discoverability of your ideas. Many speakers will invest hours in a single event to get a handful of business cards.

Find Your Start

Being the “X” guy doesn’t come easily. It took me 2 or 3 years of constant publishing, as you’ll read in the next section about Asia Tech Podcast. There were days when I recorded 5,6 or even 7 episodes! (Yes it was possible with a good system). This kind of experience makes you hone in on the skill you need to become a better podcast host:

– listening
– empathy
– storytelling
– how to ask better questions

Nobody starts out with this on their resume. So it takes practise. Lots of practise.

I remember reading the story of how Ed Sheeran became one of the most successful artists of our time. He started out selling CDs from his backpack outside gigs, town squares and on university campuses. He performed 1000s of shows in crappy pubs and bars before he filled Wembley Stadium. This was Agile Storytelling in its essence and we understand the “how to get to Carnegie Hall” joke that underpins the mythical “overnight success” of everybody who occupies “X” in our mind.

The started small, without an album/book/podcast.

They practised.

They faced the “moment of truth” regularly (see following chapters).

And they improved.

But, what defines all their success is in the first line. They started.

The 5 Stages of Agile Storytelling

the 5 stages of agile storytelling

The good news is that you can practise Agile Storytelling following a simple 5 stage process, each stage representing the waypoints in your evolving narrative.

IDEATION STAGES 1-2

Step 1 is the starting point where most people get stuck. Everybody has an idea but getting to steps 2 and 3 are where the idea is born into the world and faces the “Moment of Truth”.

When podcast clients come to us at Pikkal & Co, they are often at step 1 or 2. They know what they want and want to get started but often haven’t validated the concept with data. This is our concept of “data driven conversation”, where we use VoiceDynamics to apply data to create more effective conversations. I’ll show you to do this in the following chapters, and in the absence of being able to access our Voicedx data, you can use a public service like BuzzSumo to fine tune your narratives.

MINIMUM VIABLE PODCAST STAGES 3-5

Now we are taking your data driven ideas and putting them out into the wild. Your MVP is a series of 4-6 episodes to validate the strength of your concepts, identify believers and grow your tribe. See the following sections on Minimum Viable Podcasts.

THOUGHT LEADERSHIP STAGE 5

Your ultimate goal is to establish Thought Leadership. To be a Thought Leader you need 3 assets:

1) A Narrative Framework – this is your idea architecture that is clearly identifiable as yours.

2) Conversation Assets – a body of work that is free and easily discoverable digitally. This is your MVP and will serve to indulge the believers and convert awareness into attention and attention into authority.

3) A Tribe – 100 True Fans will be enough. You are not in the business of B2C. In B2B Podcasts, you can achieve great things with small, highly focused groups of followers.

Looking for Podcast Case Study Examples?

10 business podcast case studies

Podcasts: Get our Guide for Corporates

podcast planning guide

About Author Graham Brown

Graham Brown is the founder of Pikkal & Co – performance communication agency responsible for producing Award Winning Podcasts for business brands. Clients including McKinsey, Julius Baer, IBM and the Singapore Government. Investors and Advisors from Netflix, Intel, Apple and iQiYi. He is a published Amazon author covering human communication technologies, marketing and branding. He has produced over 1,000 podcast episodes and webinar shows with notable shows including the Tony Fernandes Podcast. Graham is a graduate in Artificial Intelligence and is currently leading Pikkal & Co to use Machine Learning and Conversation Analytics to automate the heavy lifting of communication to elevate the human touch.
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