I’ve been a long-time listener, evangelist, and creator of podcasts. Apple spurred the first wave of widespread adoption with the introduction of their Podcast application over 14 years ago. Podcasts where still relatively niche, subject matter not very varied, and it was hard for new audiences to discover new content.
The future of recorded voices
The next wave of change has arrived for podcasts with the streaming audio juggernaut Spotify’s purchasing of podcast network Gimlet and podcast creation application Anchor. Gimlet is the seed of original, high-quality content like Homecoming that can draw audiences toward Spotify. Spotify has also been working with many of the existing podcast networks like TWIT, 5by5, and CNET aggregate content and make it more accessible and discoverable for new audiences.
The impact of easy
The sleeper acquisition for Spotify is Anchor. Anchor had been an independent podcast network that provided an intuitive app and set of production tools that automates the podcast production process through thoughtful prompts, tutorials, and even adding introduction music and credits. This platform is free for users to create short-format podcasts, have them hosted, and distributed by Anchor on their website and network.
One of the many challenges inside of healthcare is helping patients realize their journey. For many patients it can be very difficult to find a voice you can identify with, participate in strengthening their health literacy, and be able to take some enjoyment in that process. It is this gap that podcasts can fill a huge unmet need.
A platform like Anchor has such massive potential to ignite a new generation of patient and caregiver to share their story. What makes this specific window of time so interesting is that the recording process has become increasingly easy: The ability to easily discover this content is as easy as it has ever been (Spotify being only one of many aggregators), voice to text tools allow content to be indexed and discoverable via search engines, and breakaway podcasts have put a spotlight on how great podcast content is.
Hearing a first person perspective, being only one genre of content podcasts can deliver, can telegraph to a patient or caregiver the shared emotion, empathy, and testimony of journey that can change lives. Hearing someone with your own local accent, using terms you may use yourself, and hearing someone talk about their disease can encourage advocacy, and allow patients to have better dialogues with their physicians.
Aligning interests with audiences
Many podcasts and podcast networks are subsidized by advertising. It’s an effective and viable space largely untouched by most healthcare brands. As aggregators like Apple, Spotify, Anchor, SoundCloud, and Stitcher begin to attract content creators, look at the opportunity to market to these audiences: purchase highly targeted ads on networks, work with content creators and networks for pre-roll and mid-roll ad reads, and look to work with content creators themselves to amplify their voice and applaud their efforts.
We are poised at the top of the next “big thing” in user generated content. Where blogs had been 15 years ago with the introduction of moveable type, TypePad, and later WordPress, podcasts are soon to come.