Capitalising on the rise of medical podcasts among HCPs

💡 A podcast is a digital audio programme that you can listen to whenever you like. Podcasts are mostly accessed through apps like Spotify or Deezer, but can also be listened to directly on the internet. You can usually subscribe to a podcast to be notified of all new episodes directly. Imagine a Netflix TV programme, but for audio only.

Are you listening in?

You’re not alone. According to a recent report from eMarketer there are now in excess of 400 million podcast listeners across the globe, and the number of listeners is projected to grow by 10% per year for the foreseeable future.

And there is clearly a lot to listen to, with an estimated 2.5 million podcasts worldwide currently.

Every single industry is now producing high-quality audio content in the form of podcasts, and this is just as true for the healthcare and medical sector.

Key Takeaways

The popularity of podcasts among HCPs is exploding, with thousands of active podcasts and more than 1/3 of HCPs listening
This popularity can be explained by 3 key benefits: the convenience of this channel, the personalisation and interactivity it offers, as well as the professional community it strengthens
Podcasts definitely have their place in your omnichannel marketing strategy, as this highly engaging channel offers several opportunities to leverage

What about HCPs and medical podcasts?

Creation.co, a UK-based healthcare strategy consulting firm analysed the number of discussions from HCPs on social media (Twitter specifically) mentioning or referencing a medical podcast.

Podcast mentions have more than doubled over the past 7 years, to about 25000 mentions per month in 2022.

chart showing podcast mentions volume

This reinforces data from a 2019 Kantar healthcare Digital Insights survey which established that 36% of polled healthcare professionals had listened to a medical podcast in the past 30 days.

And there is clearly no shortage of medical podcast content.

A study from 2020 published on the professional medical social network Cureus titled: “Podcasting in medicine: a review of the current content by specialty” identified 1000s of active podcast episodes across 19 specialties, including neurology, emergency medicine, radiology or internal medicine.

So what explains this exploding popularity of podcasts among HCPs?

The journal Academic Medicine published a research report on the “Qualitative Exploration of Residents’ Experiences With Educational Podcasts” and found the following insights:

…residents found podcasts to be an accessible and engaging learning platform that offered them broad exposure to core content and personalized learning, concurrently fostering their sense of connection to local and national professional communities.

Why are podcasts so popular?

Convenience

One of the key benefits of medical podcasts is that they offer a convenient and flexible way for HCPs to access important information. Unlike traditional forms of communication and marketing such as print ads or sales rep visits, podcasts can be listened to at any time and from any location, making them perfect for busy healthcare professionals who may not have time to sit down and read a journal article or attend a conference.

Personalized and interactive learning 

Additionally, medical podcasts allow for a more conversational and interactive format, allowing HCPs to feel like they are having a one-on-one conversation with an expert in their field. This can be especially valuable for complex or technical subjects, as it allows HCPs to have their questions answered by a trusted expert and gain a deeper understanding of the topic at hand.

Community

Finally, podcasts can reinforce HCPs’ closeness with peers as well as the broader professional community. According to the Journal of Continued Education in Healthcare Professions, “listening to podcasts helped [doctors] to acculturate to the norms and values of their professional community by signposting shared language connections and exploring common challenges.”

Should you include Podcasts in your omnichannel marketing strategy?

There is no doubt that medical podcasts are becoming an integral part of the content consumption habits of HCPs across all specialties.

This in turn also represents a great new opportunity for the pharmaceutical industry to reach its professional target audience through a highly engaging channel.

As always, however, consider the specificities of the channel and adapt your communication strategies to it.

While it is entirely possible to simply buy advertising space in a relevant medical podcast, there are many other ways to leverage this unique channel. 

Get your “Digital Opinion Leader” invited on a leading medical podcast to talk about RWE from a recent study

The Twitter-based Nephrology Journal Club (NephJC) hosts a regular podcast called Freely filtered which regularly invites prestigious guests to discuss the latest nephrology topics and study results

Or consider project oncology, a leading oncology podcast showcasing major breakthroughs in cancer care from worldwide clinical trials, through the participation of the best specialists in the field

Co-create and sponsor a series of podcasts together with a medical society

In the kidney disease therapy area, KDIGO has fairly recently launched its Conversations in Nephrology podcast series to great success

Work with a distribution platform for medical education

ReachMD, for example, broadcasts content about every possible specialty and topic and also develops features specifically with the industry.

Their cardiology section, for example, offers a range of podcasts across all aspects of cardiology and cardiovascular diseases…

You’ll find pure editorial content, with a series called Heart Matters. This recent episode about the results of the DELIVER trial is an example of such content

They also offer a broad range of CME content, such as this episode from their Cardiology CME podcast, together with the Global Heart Failure Academy, on treating iron deficiency in patients with HFrEF

They even publish industry-sponsored features. This Heart Matters podcast episode on CV Risk reduction in Type 2 diabetes, is sponsored by Novo Nordisk, for example

So what are you waiting for? Make 2023 the year where Podcasts and audio content become an integral part of your marketing and communication strategy.

We, and the wider healthcare community, can’t wait to listen to what you have to say!


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Stephan Samson

Senior consultant, with 30 years of digital marketing experience acquired across 7 countries, as many sectors of activity and a few successful entrepreneurial ventures. Stephan holds a french passport, is fluent in 5 languages, and currently lives in Spain with his wife, 3 children and 2 dogs.