The Grey Lit Café

What makes a good podcast? What makes good comms?

May 31, 2023 Anthony Haynes Season 4 Episode 34
The Grey Lit Café
What makes a good podcast? What makes good comms?
Show Notes Transcript

Anthony Haynes writes: I like listening to good podcasts about communications because I can learn in two ways simultaneously - from what the podcast says about communication and also from what they show through the good practice they embody.

Frankly, I haven't found as many good podcasts on the topic as I'd hoped or expected. But there are some. And, in our occasional series dedicated to reviews of grey literature products, we like to analyse the best.

Our first such episode reviewed Redefining Communications. Now, here, we review Emma Drakes' Communication Strategy That Works. We seek to identify some of the factors that make it a rewarding listen.


Communication Strategy That Works is available here:

Further listening

If you enjoyed this episode, you might also enjoy:


  • Sound production: Bart Hallmark
  • Music: from Handel's Water Music, courtesy of the United States Marine Band and Marine Chamber Orchestra
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About the publisher

This episode is published by Frontinus Ltd. We're a communications consultancy that helps organisations and individuals to communicate scientific, professional, and technical content to non-specialist audiences.

We provide

  • consultancy
  • mentoring
  • editing and writing
  • training

and work on presentations, bids and proposals, and publications (for example, reports and papers).

To learn more about services or explore ways of working together, please contact us via our website,

Speaker 1:

Welcome. This is Anthony Haynes . I'm creative director of Front Limited. Welcome to the Gray Lit Cafe Podcast. Brought to you by Front Limited Front is Communications consultancy focused on engineering, infrastructure, sustainability, and research. Now, one of the functions we use this podcast for is to provide reviews of , uh, examples of gray literature. For example, we recently published a review of a podcast called Redefining Comms, and that's the kind of thing that we have , uh, uh, in mind today. So today's episode provides a review of another podcast on communication. It's called Communications Strategy that works. So podcast made by Emma Drake , and it's very long running podcast. She , Emma's done well over a hundred episodes. Often it consists most , mostly of shortage episodes, often round about the , uh, the 10 minute mark. And it has some of the virtues, I would say, of redefining comms. So one of the reasons we decided to publish a review of redefining communications was, we think it's good to learn from good practice. So when we publish that episode, that review, we actually preface a title with a question, what makes a good podcast? Well , the same applies to our review of Emma Drake's Communication Strategy That works. Uh , we're calling the , the episode What Makes a Good P Podcast, followed by the name of her podcast. So what we'll do here is focus on what we think are the, some of the virtues of that podcast. I would say the first virtue that strikes me is one that it definitely shares with redefining communications, which is, it feels very composed and it feels carefully structured. The , the episode's habitually , uh, well thought through, and I would describe them as essayistic. They sound rather like the way that good essays read. And that interests me because with the thought of , um, cultural and communicative forms tend not to just come out of nowhere. They tend to grow outta other things. And I'm interested in what it is that podcasts go outta . What are the antecedents of podcasts since me ? There are several different antecedents , uh, sermons is what is one antecedent , uh, journals is another, interviews, letters. All of these things , uh, form antecedents. And I think what I find in communication strategy it works is it feels very much like it's grown primarily outta the genre of essays. And so part of the virtue, the , the podcast is this fact that it feels composed. And as I say , uh, carefully structured. I think another virtue , and I again, I think it shares this with Redefining Comms podcast, is it's consistent. I think you know what you're getting once you've listened to a few episodes of each podcast, when you listen to the next one, you , you kind of know the kind of thing you're going to get and the quality is gonna be pretty consistent and reliable as well. I like that very much. There's a lot of hard work that's gone into that. I think another impressive aspect of communication and strategy that works, I , in my opinion, is that it's always well illustrated or the points that Emma Drake makes always , uh, backed up with examples. You never go very far in the podcast without hearing an example or an illustration. And I think what Emma Drake does is kind of avoid , you know, airy , uh, generalizations or, or vague uh , generalizations. Another aspect of the podcast that I like and I in fact try to model my own podcast on to some extent, is the fact that Uhr tends to feature what I would call evergreen content, evergreen material. What I mean by that is things that don't go outta date very quickly, that aren't very topical. I mean, ob obviously pretty well every bit of content goes outta date eventually, but some things perish much more quickly than others. And I think with , um, communication strategy that works, I would say that the content remains fresh for quite a time. And what that means is it's worth giving the back list a listen . So whenever it is that you first came across a podcast, and it might be, you know, it might be on episode a hundred , it , it's worth then delving back into the back list cuz the material won't be sort of , uh, tired and won't have become irrelevant. Overall, I would describe a treatment that this podcast gives , uh, as levelheaded and grounded, which can't always be said of , um, people discussing communication on social media. So I , I think it's an admirable podcast and I, if you dunno it so far, I hope this review might, might wet your appetite. Thank you everyone for listening. Gray Lit Cafe is edited by Dr. Bart Hallmark and produced by Fontina Limited. Fontina specializes in gray lit to forms such as proposals, publications, papers, and reports. The music is from Handel's Water Music courtesy for United States Marine Band and Marine Chamber Orchestra.

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