Why Use Podcasts to Boost Physician Relations?

Podcasts are where it’s at. With more than 700,000 active podcasts (up 150,000 from 2018!) and nearly half of Americans listening to them (144 million people), the stats are impressive… and the healthcare industry has taken notice. In fact, podcasting is one of its hottest new trends.

So, how can you cash in and use podcasts to boost physician relations? Follow these tips based on presentations from the 2019 HMPSS and AAPL conferences.

 

Meeting the Condition of More

Chances are, you’ve heard of the “Condition of More”—the escalating need for more revenue, more growth, more engagement across health systems today. Unfortunately, while the demands for “more” are rising, so are the barriers to effective physician relations. Providers have less time. They get too many emails (suffer from email fatigue). And they don’t like being “sold” to or engaging with traditional marketing materials.

Thankfully, podcasts are proving to be a great tool for hurdling these obstacles. They(’re):

  • Convenient—physicians can listen to them when they have time; easy to access/mobile friendly
  • Provide valuable education that physicians are interested in—the content’s often unique, compelling & direct from doctors
  • Not considered traditional marketing—so providers are more receptive to them
  • Can be used as a branding tool—great for showcasing your physicians & hospital

 

Getting Physicians Onboard

Getting your physicians to record a podcast can be as easy as sending an email. Marissa Keppley, the Physician Marketing Manager at UAB Medicine, said she created an email campaign that explained what the UAB MedCast was, what the podcast series would accomplish and how it would be produced—requiring just 30 minutes of a physician’s time, recorded from their desk.

“All it takes is just one episode, then doctors are usually excited about the podcast and have more topics they’d like to do,” explained Keppley in her HMPSS presentation.

Keppley’s co-presenter, Jill Edgeworth, the Program Manager of Media Relations at Northwestern Medicine, agreed saying: “Physicians are receptive to podcasting because they want to showcase their areas of expertise. Podcasting also helps them grow their professional profile with the additional exposure.”

Edgeworth gets her physicians to participate by emphasizing how easy and convenient podcasts are to do (just a phone call). And that they’re not live. They’ll get all of their questions in advance, they can record it when it suits their schedule and their answers are completely editable. So, they won’t be on the spot, nor have to be “media savvy”.

 

Your Podcasts for Physician Relations Checklist

If you’ve never created a podcast before, there are several affordable production companies that can do all of the backend work for you (which can be very time-consuming). Once you’ve selected a partner, here’s a checklist to ensure your podcasts are timely/of value and capture the largest audience possible.

How to Generate Podcast Topics
Ask physicians:

  • What differentiates their institution or practice?
  • What’s the “hot topic” in their specialty?
  • What would you listen to or be interested in?

Also, include non-strategic service lines so they feel heard and valued. They’re usually happy to participate and have unique viewpoints.

How to Get Buy-In & Add Value

  • Pitch your podcast to department, division & administrative leaders to get buy-in & episode leads
  • Offer more than 1 podcast to interested physicians; batch record 2 or 3 episodes in 1 setting
  • Work with your service line managers to identify which doctors are best suited for podcasts & what their passions are (what they’d love talking about); track their participation with prm software
  • Pick topics that have a long shelf life

How to Get Subscribers

  • Include a call to action—for each episode, such as a free CME
  • Add links in internal & external e-newsletters—highlight each physician & upcoming topics
  • Give physicians a media kit—make it easy for them to promote the podcast on their own
  • Place video ads on Twitter & advertise on Facebook
  • Do table tents or giveaways (like earbuds) at community events
  • Send e-blasts/email campaigns

Ways to Measure Success

  • Track the podcast’s total engagement; note topics/physicians of most interest
  • Measure the cost per interaction
  • Cross-reference referral growth with each physician’s podcast participation
  • Combat feelings of burnout or marketing neglect by including disgruntled doctors

 

Join the Discussion

Whether your goal is to strengthen physician relations or boost your health system’s reputation, podcasts are an excellent tool to add to your arsenal. If you have any other podcasting tips you’d like to share, please let me know at: joychurch.millard@marketware.com.