Among the changes prompted by the pandemic and the way consumers choose to receive healthcare information has been the growth of podcasts. In lockdown, they began tuning in to podcasts while trying to maneuver through conflicting information.
As many as 32% of Americans listen to podcasts on a monthly basis. That’s 150 million people listening to experts—often self-professed—crime sleuths, business leaders and celebrities talking about everything from decades-old murder cases and financial advice to politics and advances in medicine.
Since 2020, the interest in everything healthcare has created a growing market for health and wellness podcasts offering helpful information to consumers. As many as 17% of podcasts are devoted to health, wellness and fitness topics. Listed among the best podcasts of 2022, “Sleep With Me” entices listeners to do just that—hop in bed, close their eyes and listen to a story that gets progressively boring until they fall asleep.
Podcasts give physicians and healthcare leaders forums to share their experiences and expertise with patients and peers alike. Healthcare organizations can use podcasts to inform consumers and clear up misinformation.
Inside Pediatrics from Children’s of Alabama is a free monthly podcast that explores topics relating to childhood health and wellness as well as research and treatment at the academic medical center. It can be downloaded from the hospital website or from a number of other platforms.
The popular TEDTalks also offers TED Health with doctors and researchers discussing breakthroughs in their fields as well as daily habits to leading healthier lives.
How to Start a Podcast for Your Hospital
The pandemic pressured healthcare organizations to find new innovations and digital tools to meet consumer demand. Gen Zs, in particular, turned to podcasts while isolated. More than one-third of American 18-to-24 year olds listen to podcasts at least weekly, with mental health being the top podcast genre among the age group.
When considering starting your own podcast, determine the purpose. It can help build brand awareness, deliver on the patient experience or even generate revenue with clear calls to action. The top goal for 24% of all podcasts is awareness/education.
Podcast episodes typically run 20 to 40 minutes long. Carefully evaluate the hosts and guests to determine if they can hold an audience’s attention for that length of time.
Other things you need to start your own podcast include:
- Storage and distribution. You can code your own podcast or upload audio files to a service such as Soundcloud, Buzzsprout, Podbean or SimpleCast. These publishing platforms provide storage and distribution for a fee. Some offer audio editing capabilities.
- Cadence. Decide whether to publish daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly. Listeners want consistency, so stick with the decision. The most common cadence is weekly for podcasts.
- Software. Use quality audio recording software. For Mac users, GarageBand is free and easy to use, as is QuickTime. If recording and editing on a PC, download Audacity, which is also free. You can also record and edit in Zoom.
- Microphone. Even though you can record from a laptop mic, phone or ear buds with built-in mics, invest in a quality microphone. A good one costs less than $100.
- Interview setups. Interviews recorded in a studio produce the best audio quality. But it’s easy to interview guests remotely through Zoom, Skype, Zencastr or even by phone. When interviewing online, the hosts and guests should be in quiet rooms. Wear headphones and speak directly into the microphone. Remind guests to mute notifications on their computers and phones.
How to Promote a Podcast
Once the podcast is “on the air,” you want to build listeners. First, decide on the target audience—patients, peers or general consumers. As you do for websites and blogs, remember SEO and create topics and titles that draw the targeted audiences’ attention.
Amplify the podcast on all channels—blogs, websites and social media. Consider creating a dedicated Facebook group so listeners can discuss episodes and receive updates. Facebook and Instagram are the leading channels for cross promoting.
When recording audio, record video at the same time and upload it to YouTube and shorts from the podcast to Reels.
Pitching to podcasters
Even if you’re not ready to launch your own podcast, include popular and relevant podcasters in your earned and paid media strategy.
Of podcasters who feature guests, 61% prioritize organic over paid guests. When pitching healthcare experts or leadership from your organization, remember:
Personalize the pitch; do your homework first.
- Avoid confusing subject lines and large attachments.
- Keep pitches to 200 words or less.
- Most podcasters prefer receiving pitches early in the week.
- Don’t call.
With 150 million people listening, you can build your brand and deliver relevant and accurate information through podcasts to consumers interested in staying healthy.