// By Jane Weber Brubaker //
The growth rate of podcasting, a term coined more than 10 years ago, is accelerating today. Demand for all types of digital content is growing because mobile devices make it easy and convenient to access it. Additionally, consumers have grown to expect on-demand access to content at a time and place that suits them, using the device of their choice, and podcasts meet these criteria.
The Podcast Consumer 2016 survey reports that 57 million Americans ages 12 and up listened to a podcast within the past month, up 24 percent from 2015. As recently as 2013, only 42 percent of survey respondents who identified themselves as podcast listeners accessed podcasts from a mobile device; in 2016 that number has jumped to 71 percent. The fastest-growing age groups are 12 to 24 and 25 to 54 (Edison Research and Triton Digital).
Hospitals and health systems have learned to leverage social media channels to build audiences for their blogs and video channels. Audio podcasts are another format that lends itself to consumption and distribution on social media. A few hospitals were early adopters of podcasting, but it is a format that has often played second fiddle to blogs and video when it comes to content creation priorities. And it’s not just healthcare that has overlooked the medium. It took a podcast hit in 2014, Serial, the episodic telling of a real-life cold-case investigation, to raise the profile of podcasting and attract a large audience. The Washington Post reports that the first season of the Serial podcast had 80 million downloads.
In this article, we’ll share some examples of popular health system podcasts, and discuss the options for producing podcasts, from do-it-yourself to working with turnkey solution providers. eHST Editorial Advisory Board member Shel Holtz, Principal at Holtz Communication + Technology, and a podcaster for more than 10 years, offers his thoughts on hospital podcasts, and how, with some imagination, they can attract a loyal following. Holtz was recognized as a Platinum Fellow by Mayo Clinic Social Media Network in 2014 for his contributions to the field of social media and digital communications.
When it comes to podcasting, Holtz believes that the barriers to entry are low. “It’s still sort of an artisan craft,” he says. “There’s nothing to keep a small organization from creating a podcast that targets a niche audience and requires very little investment.”
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