Meet Debbie Aurelius, Co Founder and Director of Peppermint Fish, a communications and employee engagement consultancy specializing in leadership communication. Debbie founded Peppermint Fish in 2017, but before that she worked in internal communications roles and has previously done professional work in learning and development. She has combined these skills of teaching and internal communication to create her career at Peppermint Fish, where she focuses on the creation of podcast and video content, along with online courses for her clients.

On her own podcast, Be A Bigger Fish, Debbie interviews many business leaders and entrepreneurs, asking about their experiences in podcasting and internal communications to find out about the true business value of audio content. But this time, Debbie wasn’t the one doing the interviewing. We asked her many questions to unpack all of the knowledge she has acquired throughout her career on how to leverage audio and video content in your internal communications strategy, and when to do so. Here is what we learned!

“There is a lot of noise in internal communications now because we have so many channels to use.”

One of the first things we wanted to dive into with Debbie was her take on internal communicators’ difficulties with engaging with workers and getting them to become active participants in the communications strategy of an organization. Debbie noted that one of the biggest struggles is that “there is a lot of noise in internal communications now because we have so many channels to use.” Many IC professionals have trouble deciding which channel is best to engage their workforce, but Debbie simply believes that “the more collaborative your communications, the better, so the more dialogue you can encourage around the messages that you’re communicating, the more effective it will be as more people will absorb that knowledge into their own experience,” no matter which channel you use. 

As internal communicators decide which channel is best to engage their people, they can often be turned away from video and audio content, simply because it tends to intimidate those who do not have professional equipment or experience with these channels. Regarding how to overcome those fears and embrace the power of video and audio content, Debbie told us that “you’re not going to create a Hollywood standard movie on your first outing, so let’s accept that.” She noted that the best thing you can do is just pull out your smartphone and film something, and even though it might not be great, next time it will be better. 

“It’s about reinforcing and experimenting and trying and failing and learning from those experiences until you get to a place where you’re confident and comfortable. Every piece of work you do is not necessarily a pass of fail, so the things that you do can be part of your learning journey, and that’s okay.”

“Video is very powerful for many reasons, but there are occasions when audio can win out… We had a very large sales force in an organization I worked in once and we shared information mostly through video.”

This advice is great for those who may have little experience with video content and fear that what they produce will not be good enough to be appreciated by its audience. Debbie stressed that this is not the case at all, as your employees will care much more about the actual content of the video than they will about the production quality and editing of it. This led into Debbie’s technical advice for beginners working with video content, where she emphasized to “begin with what you already have and what you’re familiar with… I have found from a client perspective that it is so much less intimidating to talk to a smartphone than a big camera, so smartphones are brilliant for capturing content. Particularly for audio, one small investment would be a Lavalier microphone. You can get some really good quality microphone equipment like that for a very low cost.” Using low cost equipment, you can create effective and engaging video and audio content for your employees that is just as useful as professional content, as long as it gets the message across!

So we’ve established that anyone can create video and audio content, but how do you know who you should involve in the process, who will advocate for your work throughout the company, who is a leader with influence in the workplace? We asked Debbie how she finds these champions in the workplace or “internal influencers” and how she approaches them, especially if they are at the senior level and thus are not as comfortable with video and audio content as younger employees might be.

“Try to make the process easy for people, particularly senior people. Take away the technology friction for them.”

Debbie noted that “we have to realize that these people are really passionate, and it’s their genuine passion that attracts the attention of the people around them and gives them that leadership role, so tap into that passion because what they’re passionate about is likely to be what’s driving the success of the organization or teams around them… Try to make the process easy for people, particularly senior people. Take away the technology friction for them.”

“Every piece of work you do is not necessarily a pass or fail piece of work…”

By focusing on what it is that drives these internal influencers to success and attracts the attention of others, you can create content that highlights these passions and thus attracts the advocacy of these internal influencers. For those senior level leaders, it is important to break down the technology barrier and introduce them to the simplicity of your production equipment so that they feel comfortable and less intimidated by the process. Once you have these people on your side, you can gain the trust of the rest of your organization with your work, so it is important to choose these people carefully. 

Focusing on the difference between audio and video content, we were curious which one Debbie prefers, and when each is more effective as a channel for communication. It seems that for the most part, video is more effective because people respond positively to visuals, but Debbie noted that at times, audio content can be more accessible and thus more effective. She shared with us the following story: 

“Video is very powerful for many reasons, but there are occasions when audio can win out… We had a very large sales force in an organization I worked in once and we shared information mostly through video. We tried to see if the same kind of information would work on a podcast. It was mostly company data so at first it seemed hard to convey that through audio, but almost all of the feedback that came in came from the sales force who said that it was genius because as they were driving to clients’ premises they were listening to the figures, which helped reinforce the important things they needed to convey to the client… It just takes a bit of thought. It’s about what’s most appropriate for your organization, they way its distributed and the kinds of roles that people do and the information they need to absorb.”

For organizations with employees that travel a lot, work in the transportation industry, or even just have a long commute in the morning, audio content can be highly useful in distributing important company information, safety instructions, recordings of meetings, and more. These kinds of mobile employees are constantly on the go, and video content can often be too restricting for them to absorb the information they need to do their job. It is up to each organization to decide how their employees will best be able to receive and engage with the information given to them, and the decision between audio and video can play a large part in how it is done.

Focusing a little more on what Debbie does at Peppermint Fish and her experience with video and audio content, we asked Debbie about her podcast, the driving force behind it, and what she thinks the true business value of doing it is. She told us that for her, podcasts are about “connection… For me, the true value of a podcast is the human to human connection that you can really capture, and it transmits so well in audio… We learn so much more from stories than we do from data, whether we like that fact or not.” Debbie’s focus on the human voice and its power to transmit so well in audio is what drives her to create her podcast content, and she has greatly enjoyed connecting with many business leaders and reaching so many people through her podcast. Her advice to others who are considering starting a podcast is to “Put your heart in the right place. What do you really want your podcast to do? If you genuinely believe it’s the best way for you to create more connection within your organization, you almost can’t go wrong. So work out for yourself what is the ‘why?’ of your podcast endeavour.” 

Debbie puts her heart into Be A Bigger Fish, and she’s seen great results in engaging her listeners and getting out her message. She hopes to continue her podcast this way and encourages others to do the same thing!

We concluded the interview with Debbie by asking her if she is working on anything fun at the moment that she wanted to share. Debbie passionately responded that “what’s really joyful this week is I’ve got a work experience student working with me, and looking at the work that I do through a fresh pair of eyes has been amazing. It’s wonderful to mentor somebody and talk about all the things that I love to do and see how that lands with somebody who’s totally fresh to it.” Debbie is excited to take what she has learned from her years of experience and share it with the next generation, encouraging all questions and feedback so she can look at her work through a new lens and continue to improve as an internal communicator.

Thanks for the great interview, Debbie! We look forward to seeing how your podcast and consultancy grows in the future. Be sure to listen to the full interview on our podcast! If you enjoyed this article, check out our other podcast episodes with internal communicators Katie Macaulay and Kristin Hancock, and browse through our other articles about video content, “Let Video Star in Your Internal Communications Strategy” and “7 DIY Video Ideas for Internal Communication.”

Want to see the whole episode?


  • 2:50 What are your thoughts on internal communicators’ struggles today to engage workers to become active participants in the communications strategy of an organization?
  • 3:19 Debbie: “There is a lot of noise in internal communications now because we have so many channels to use… I really believe that the more collaborative your communications, the better, so the more dialogue you can encourage around the messages that you’re communicating, the more effective it will be as more people will absorb that knowledge into their own experience.”
  • 6:11 How do you help people overcome their fears of embracing audio and video content?
  • 6:32 Debbie: “You’re not going to create a Hollywood standard movie on your first outing, so let’s accept that. It’s about getting going with what you’ve got and seeing what you can achieve… It’s about reinforcing and experimenting and trying and failing and learning from those experiences until you get to a place where you’re confident and comfortable. Every piece of work you do is not necessarily a pass of fail, so the things that you do can be part of your learning journey, and that’s okay.”
  • 9:54 What is your advice on approaching “champions” or “internal influencers” in the workplace, especially if they are on the senior level?
  • 10:19 Debbie: “We have to realize that these people are really passionate, and it’s their genuine passion that attracts the attention of the people around them and gives them that leadership role, so tap into that passion because what they’re passionate about is likely to be what’s driving the success of the organization or teams around them… Try to make the process easy for people, particularly senior people. Take away the technology friction for them… You might have to be persistent, gently persistent.”
  • 14:49 Do you have any success stories when audio ended up being better than video?
  • 15:07 Debbie: “Video is very powerful for many reasons, but there are occasions when audio can win out… We had a very large sales force in an organization I worked in once and we shared information mostly through video. We tried to see if the same kind of information would work on a podcast. It was mostly company data so at first it seemed hard to convey that through audio, but almost all of the feedback that came in came from the sales force who said that it was genius because as they were driving to clients’ premises they were listening to the figures, which helped reinforce the important things they needed to convey to the client… It just takes a bit of thought. It’s about what’s most appropriate for your organization, they way its distributed and the kinds of roles that people do and the information they need to absorb.”
  • 20:16 If you’re a beginning using audio and video as an internal communicator, where do you begin?
  • 20:45 Debbie: “Begin with what you already have and what you’re familiar with… I have found from a client perspective that it is so much less intimidating to talk to a smartphone than a big camera, so smartphones are brilliant for capturing content. Particularly for audio, one small investment would be a Lavalier microphone. You can get some really good quality microphone equipment like that for a very low cost… Have that kind of ear for a really good sound bite or a good opportunity to share good news and share people when they’re at their highest, when they’re feeling great, when they’ve achieved something really good, when they’ve got that positivity that you want to capture and share with other people.”
  • 24:47 How do you respond to people who wonder what the value of doing a podcast is?
  • 25:45 Debbie: “In one word: connection… For me, the true value of a podcast is the human to human connection that you can really capture, and it transmits so well in audio… We learn so much more from stories than we do from data, whether we like that fact or not.”
  • 32:36 If you wanted to give a person who is starting a podcast one piece of advice before they begin this journey, what would it be?
  • 32:58 Debbie: “Put your heart in the right place. What do you really want your podcast to do? If you genuinely believe it’s the best way for you to create more connection within your organization, you almost can’t go wrong. So work out for yourself what is the “why?” of my podcast endeavor.”
  • 34:24 Is there anything fun that you’re working on today that you’d love to talk about?
  • 34:36 Debbie: “What’s really joyful this week is I’ve got a work experience student working with me, and looking at the work that I do through a fresh pair of eyes has been amazing. It’s wonderful to mentor somebody and talk about all the things that I love to do and see how that lands with somebody who’s totally fresh to it.”

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We collected the best ideas for internal communication in 2019 here.