How to Make a Healthcare Podcast That Stands Out
Health podcasts have been seeing a growth surge in recent years. Listenership is up 44% since 2019, propelling health to the fourth most popular podcast genre in the US (tied with sports).
An increasing amount of healthcare brands from all sectors have been trying to harness this growth by introducing podcasts into their own organic and paid marketing strategies. And it’s paying off.
In our 2023 State of Healthcare Podcasts research report, Grippi Media found that healthcare brands with a podcast saw averages of 48% greater share of voice online and 25% greater share of organic search traffic compared to podcast-less competitors.
But with so many new brand-owned podcasts popping up, how can newcomers produce a show that will stand out?
The answer is simple: be different.
But in a world where 5 million podcasts exist, being different can be a challenge. Here are four strategies marketers can use to create a more impactful podcast that stands out from the pack.
Mix Up The Format
In our report, we found that 79% percent of healthcare podcasts follow the “host interviews a guest” format.
Creating a new podcast in this format is kind of like regifting a birthday present. Sure, the wrapping is different, but beneath it is something that you either own already or simply don’t want.
Instead of opting for one-on-one interviews, try mixing it up. When we were laying the groundwork for what would become CareTalk: Healthcare. Unfiltered., we differentiated our format by combining ideas from other media properties we enjoyed. We borrowed the playful back-and-forth horn-locking of shows like First Take and blended it with the focused debate stylings of shows like Left, Right & Center. We even borrowed inspiration from game shows by integrating a “lightning round” into all of our episodes.
In Hollywood, a common practice for pitching new screenplays is to use a “reference hook.” For instance, a reference hook for Speed would be “Die-Hard on a bus.” For Avatar, a reference hook would be “Dances with Wolves in Space.”
Use this approach when creating the format for your own podcast. Draw inspiration from other places and fit the concept into a simple reference hook that will keep your show’s format interesting and consistent.
Explore Different Perspectives
There is a common trend in brand-owned healthcare podcasts where the host will invite a guest from a third-party company to discuss a topic that is aligned with his/her business interests. What’s worse is that most shows with this format rely on the guest to do the majority of the talking. The host is merely present to ask pre-determined questions and appear engaged.
With 55% of listeners turning to podcasts for learning and 30% to hear expert opinions, podcasting is ripe with opportunities for a complex industry like healthcare. So, why do so many healthcare podcasts lean solely on business guests to satisfy these listener needs?
It’s because they’re easy to enlist. Business guests will never turn down an opportunity to talk about their business!
To be clear, it’s not bad to have business guests on your show. My point is that you have to ask yourself when is a business guest appropriate vs. a clinician (or other SME’s). You’d be surprised how often a podcast invites a business guest onto a show to talk about a topic that would be much more engaging if examined from the perspective of a clinician, scientist, or even patients and caregivers.
When you're lining up guests, consider reaching out to folks who haven't already exhausted the podcast circuit. If you do have a guest who has appeared on many other shows, don't hesitate to throw them a challenge. Try to get something unique and engaging out of these guests by aiming for meatier questions that tap into their own personal experiences. This knack for diving deep is what sets podcasters like Marc Maron apart as a top-notch interviewer.
Storytelling is essential in marketing and it should be no different when it comes to podcasts.
Let Your Listeners In on the Fun
The biggest marketing opportunity of the digital age is interactivity. While this may seem like a no-brainer, I still witness a disappointing amount of healthcare brand marketing that is a one-way conversation in which brands are talking at their audience, and not with them.
Podcasts are a great opportunity to engage with your audience and invite them to play a bigger role in a show’s experience.
This can be accomplished in a variety of creative ways. Have users submit questions for the mailbag Q&A segment in every episode. Designate a question of the month around a particular topic and invite your listeners to submit their own answers via email then read select submissions in each episode. You can even host merch giveaways for your listeners, which is always a hit.
Stacey Richter, host of Relentless Health Value Podcast asks her listeners questions and prompts them to share their thoughts by leaving her a voice message via her website. Occasionally, she'll share snippets of the voice messages she receives on the show itself.
With 57% of healthcare podcasts being available in video formats you can also consider hosting live episode tapings on platforms like YouTube and LinkedIn. You can use these live-streaming events to take real-time questions for the guest from your audience and even give shout out to people who are tuning in.
According to Trustradius, 88% of marketers report, that interactive content is effective in helping them differentiate themselves. Remember, you’re hosting a Podcast, not a fireside chat. Use the interactive nature of the web to your advantage.
Experiment, Experiment, Experiment
When it comes to marketing, we don’t make the rules. Our audience does. It’s our job to understand the needs of our audience and find effective ways to deliver on them. We do this through research and experimentation.
Our research research into healthcare podcasts identified three key rules for engaging and retaining your audience:
Podcasts should release a minimum of one episode per week
Podcasts should aim to maximize touchpoints with listeners (social channels, newsletters, blogs etc.)
Podcasts cannot afford to ignore video
New and existing healthcare podcasts should not only aim to meet these three rules but experiment with them as well.
Try publishing more than one episode a week. You can consider breaking longer episodes into several shorter episodes that are spread out across the week. Alternatively, you can experiment with encore episodes or produce a recurring series of themed episodes that cover different topics and play around with formats that stand out from your show’s primary content.
Experiment with different social channels to explore creative new ways to engage your audience. With YouTube emerging as the most popular podcast streaming platform in the US, it’s essential that marketers incorporate video into their podcast offerings. These videos can be repurposed across other social channels as well, helping you reach new listeners and keep existing ones engaged. 91% of web users want to see more video content from brands they follow. Use your podcast as a way to give the people what they want.
The rise of healthcare podcasts offers a multitude of opportunities for healthcare brand marketers. With advancements in technology and AI, podcast production has gotten easier than ever. Consequently, making a successful show that stands out has gotten much harder.
By following the practices we’ve highlighted, you’ll be able to craft a show that is not only different from the rest but also holds greater strategic and meaningful significance. Success in podcasting takes time, so be sure to enjoy the journey and never stop experimenting along the way. Your audience will love you for it!