Welcome to part 11 in this special blog series on Crisis Management, Marketing and Communications through the COVID19 outbreak. Many thanks to all of the IVF clinics around the world who tuned in for the first seminar! The seminar covered the first 4 blogs in this series. There was also an update on where we are as an industry 11 weeks on. If you didn’t catch it then please click here.
Part two of this seminar series will take place on June 30th at 5pm UK time, please click here to register.
Increase in podcast listeners
This week I am looking at the use of podcasts as an inexpensive, yet highly effective marketing tool. Firstly, let’s look at why podcasts continue to grow in popularity and why they can help your clinic during the current crisis. The nature of COVID19 means that IVF patients, along with everyone else are socially distancing and spending a lot more time at home. This provides the perfect platform for a captive audience.
Marketing data has shown how the trend of podcast listening has changed during the pandemic globally. Not surprisingly, there has been an upsurge in listeners and prior to lockdown podcasts were largely listened to in the morning. This can be attributed to the daily commute, however since the start of lockdown in most parts of the world, podcasts are now listened to throughout the day.
Generally, people are taking more exercise as their only means of escaping the same four walls! So, a podcast is the ideal company on a long walk or run. As we know IVF patients are information hungry and a podcast is the ideal way to deliver education in a bite size format.
Plan your content
Assisted reproduction as a subject matter is content rich. There are so many subjects to cover from the causes of infertility to treatment options. All of these things an infertility patient is keen to learn about! Plan a podcast series, as research also shows that listeners tune for every episode. Jot down every topic your podcast could cover, if you’ve got 12 ideas then you have a monthly podcast! If you have 52, then that’s a weekly one!
Realistic time frame
Podcast content and production time needs to be factored in. Then depending on the platform that you are using to share your podcast, it can take up to three weeks to be reviewed and published. This is a big-time commitment if you want to produce a new episode on a regular basis. Then there is the marketing of the podcast itself. The podcast provides content for your web site and for your social media pages, so is worth the investment. But you must to factor in that time for planning and development.
Who will host the series?
Your podcast needs a host that patients can relate to and enjoy listening to in every episode. The host can introduce the guest speaker, probably one of the doctors and this can take an interview format. The host can also chat in the middle and talk about other relevant content planned in the series. Again, time must be factored in for the recordings and staff taking time out of their day.
Naming the podcast series
The podcast itself needs a brand identity. In the IVF market this should be quite easy, the patients themselves lead new catchphrases and hashtags. See what is popular and work around that theme. Think like a patient, what are they interested in? IVF units have a tendency to come across as clinical, this is the downside for patients. Infertility becomes a lifestyle for patients, so try to focus on the emotional and support aspects through your podcast series. By getting the right name and content, you can reach your niche of patients and make your brand stand out from other IVF clinics. When you have decided on a name for your series, don’t forget to do a name check! You don’t want to find out a competitor has a similar name already trademarked!
At any stage during your series you can pick up new listeners and then they are likely to go back and listen to previous episodes. This means your time and investment in podcast productions can see engagement with your brand for weeks, months and years to come. At this time of uncertainty, gaining trust in your brand is crucial. There are also big SEO benefits to producing a podcast. If your podcast is available on iTunes, this has ongoing impact on how your site is ranking with links to iTunes and vice versa iTunes linking to your site. This launches your clinic to an international market of IVF patients.
Podcasts are personal
When recording your podcast, make it conversational. I have spoken a few times in this blog series about how isolated patients feel at this time. They are keen to get to know your clinic and its staff. When listening to your podcast, they want to feel that you are speaking to them directly. This is of course branded and has many aspects to build your brand. But the actual content must be on a personal level. The host must come across as approachable and show their true personality in the recording.
Artwork for the series
The podcast needs its own branding. You want a visual image with the name of the podcast to catch the patient’s eye. The artwork alone should make them click play! This can tie in with the clinic branding so it adds to your main brand – the clinic!
Use of music
If you are going to have intro or outro music on your podcast, then ensure you have paid a licence fee to use it! There are a number of websites where you can download royalty free music, such as:
Recording your podcast
There are a number of ways to do this. Essentially, all you need is a computer and a microphone to achieve good audio quality. But there are also a number of free software applications that allow you to edit and make a professional production. Look at Audacity as this should cover most of your podcasting needs.
How long should each episode be?
That is entirely up to you! You just need to make sure that you have covered the topic without the podcast going stale. Remember you want the listener to stay engaged and hear the full podcast and coming back for more. Podcasts can be as short as 15 mins and as long as an hour. Ideally somewhere in between means your listener will have time to hear the full episode.
Using a podcast host
The easiest way to get your podcast out to your audience is to subscribe to a podcast hosting service. Here you will upload your podcast episodes and then these are streamed to all the main podcast services like Apple, Google etc. The beauty of this is that you only submit your series to the main providers once. They then check back in for each new episode and make it available to listeners. You can either have all the show description listed on your hosting service or you can have all that content on your own site. It all depends how much control you want over it. Check out Buzzsprout.
In next week’s blog I am going to recap on all marketing methods that we can use in the current climate. I will look in more detail on how we can use the inexpensive marketing tools to communicate with patients and keep your finance director happy!
Veronica Montgomery, Clinic & Patient Liaison Consultant
The Fertility Hub
Previous blogs in this series
Part one – COVID19 Crisis Management for IVF Clinics
Part two – Marketing and Communications During COVID19
Part three – Financial Implications of COVID19
Part four – The use of PR during the COVID19 pandemic
Part five – Protecting your brand during COVID19
Part six – Online marketing during COVID19
Part seven – Using online seminars to build trust.
Part eight – The power of newsletters during the COVID19 crisis.
Part nine – Video marketing tips during COVID19.
Part ten – Covid19 – The Indian Perspective.