To podcast or not to podcast?
22nd June 2022
Katie Corbin, Head of Business Development

To podcast or not to podcast?

I love a podcast. The convenience of sticking it on in the background while unpacking the shopping, listening in the car, or having one earbud in while watching Peppa Pig for the millionth time next to a cranky toddler (don’t judge me please!) has made a big difference to how often I can engage with content that interests me.

It’s a brilliant way of getting information to people in their busy lives. But is pharma a bit behind the times? While some clients are embracing podcasts as a key format in a multi- or omni-channel marketing campaign, others are reluctant. The main barrier seems to be concerns about access; for podcasts developed by brand teams, the need for Prescribing Information (PI) means they can’t be available through the usual consumer channels like Spotify and Castbox. But does that matter? An audio file on a mobile-friendly HCP website isn’t a lot more effort for HCPs to access. And if the content is right - engaging, addresses an unmet need, educates - having to go to a pharma-specific website or app shouldn’t matter. For medical teams it’s even easier; there is no need for PI, so it can be hosted in all the usual podcast places.

The marketing benefits of podcasts are clear; experts, including researchers at BBC Global News’ branded content division, think podcasts offer unique advantages. In a recent study, the content division found that because 94% of listeners are doing something else while listening they’re actually more engaged1. For HCPs specifically, podcasts are seen as a key educational tool, particularly to help with patient interactions2. Many podcasts discuss real patient and clinician experiences, describing the context and how the situation was handled, in a way that’s easy to understand and engage with. 

There’s a real opportunity for pharma here; providing education to HCPs on how to handle difficult conversations, encourage shared decision making and overcome adherence challenges that come up again and again in market research responses. To this end, podcasts supply pharma with an excellent opportunity to provide added-value education. 

They allow us to increase likelihood of HCP uptake by providing an opportunity to engage with our audience at times outside of a busy work environment: 

  • 64% listen in the car2
  • 49% listen while walking2
  • 40% listen at the gym2
  • 61% while doing household chores2
  • 75% of healthcare professionals use their smartphones to listen, 44% use a computer, 20% use a tablet1

We all know how challenging it can be to get time for pharma engagement during the busy clinic schedules of HCPs, so rather than making life harder for ourselves and trying to get them to attend a lunchtime webinar or event during their hectic work schedule, let them slot it into their day at a time that works for them. Even if that is while doing the hoovering… 

  1. Wolters Kluwer. Why today’s healthcare workers love podcasts. May 2020. Available at: https://www.wolterskluwer.com/en/expert-insights/why-todays-healthcare-workers-love-podcasts (accessed June 2022).
  2. https://conveymd.com/do-physicians-listen-to-podcasts/nt.