Your Morning Serial

By Kelsey Albina

If you haven’t listened to the nine available episodes of Serial – a podcast that examines a 1999 murder case in Baltimore County, Md. – I urge you to start downloading the first episode before you even finish this post. Serial is the brainchild of the producers of “This American Life” and is a production of WBEZ Chicago.

As a PR and marketing professional, I like to think of myself as pretty aware of new technologies and best practices. And yes, I was aware podcasts existed. But if you’ve read anything in the industry lately, images and videos are the key to getting your message across. But audio? I didn’t even know my iPhone 5s came with the “Podcasts” app. That’s because I had strategically placed it in the “not needed” folder on my phone.

Serial has opened the door to the use of audio – showing us that video isn’t the only way to reach your audience. I can list every sponsor the show has, the name of the reporter and every character involved – just by listening each week.

Somehow, I have consumed more than six hours of dialogue on a murder case that happened more than 900 miles from my home when I was 8 years old. Before I came across an article on his current court appeal, I had no clue where convicted murder suspect Adnan Syed stood in the legal process. And there’s no guarantee this podcast will end in a way that will satisfy its millions of listeners (we all want Adnan’s charges to be overturned, of course). But every Thursday I tune out the rest of the world, and tune in to host Sarah Koenig as she dissects the facts.

The lesson here is obvious. No matter what technology comes out or how many characters you’re given to craft the perfect tweet, it all goes back to the basics. If you have compelling content and can present it in a digestible way across your medium of choice, you will be heard.

Kelsey Albina is an Account Executive who listened to episode 10 on the way into work this morning.


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