What exactly is a podcast?

Podcasting has been around for a while, but it really started to take off in the early 2000s. In the past few years, podcasting has seen an explosion in popularity. Well-known podcasts like Serial became a phenomenon that was talked about as frequently and as passionately as must-see television. Today, several big podcasts have even landed TV deals.

The number of podcast fans continues to grow. – source

 

In short, podcasts are audio files available to stream or download. They are like radio, but basically, they allow anyone to create their own internet radio station.

Podcasting is unique in that it is a medium that many people enjoy while doing other things. Listening to podcasts while commuting or exercising or getting things done around the house is common. Most listeners use their smartphones or tablets to listen to podcasts, but they can be accessed from the web on a desktop computer as well. Podcasting is intimate, and it can feel like the podcast host and the listener are having a personal conversation, even if it’s one-sided.

Of interest to businesses, podcasting has proven to be a very successful advertising platform. In fact, recent data suggests that “podcast listeners really are the holy grail advertisers hoped they’d be.” In 2017, advertisers invested over $200 million in podcast advertising. Because podcast listeners are “hyper-engaged, super-supportive audiences,” this investment is likely to result in a higher return.

The average listener isn’t skipping over ads on podcasts, according to data from Apple’s Podcast Analytics feature. When a brand is a good fit for the podcast audience and when the ads are engaging and even entertaining, the advertiser is probably more likely to see a high return. This is especially true when compared to ad spend on more traditional media.

The growth of podcast advertising spend shows no signs of slowing down. – source

 

Just about every industry is represented in podcasting these days. Comedy, politics, business, and pop culture podcasts may be the most popular overall, but there is an ever-growing roster of health podcasts. Out of the 500,000+ total podcasts on Apple Podcasts, the Health category alone features tens of thousands of podcasts – and that number is growing every day.

Healthcare companies are starting to use podcasting as a way to engage with patients, but the medium has even more value for Patient Leaders. Podcasting is another way for Patient Leaders to connect, to advocate, and to share their stories. Many Patient Leaders are using podcasting as one tool in their advocacy arsenal, along with traditional blogging and social media platforms.

 

2017 WEGO Health Awards – Best in Show: Podcasts

Last fall, five Patients Leaders were selected as finalists for the “Best in Show: Podcasts” award category in the WEGO Health Awards. These Patient Leaders are truly leading the way for this growing platform, and their podcasts are having a significant impact on patients.

Here are the top five Patient Leaders in podcasting from the most recent WEGO Health Awards.

 

Top Podcast Patient Leader #1: Gabe Howard

Patient Leader Gabe Howard is an award-winning writer & speaker and the host of a podcast called The Psych Central Show, along with co-host Vincent M. Wales. This weekly podcast covers topics related to mental health and psychology.

Here is how Gabe describes his podcast:

The Psych Central Show is an award-winning, weekly podcast that approaches psychology and mental health in a casual and accessible fashion. Listen as our hosts speak candidly with experts to break down complex topics in simple and understandable ways.

As a person living with bipolar and anxiety disorders, Gabe offers unique insights. While speaking fearlessly and passionately about important topics that aren’t often discussed so openly, Gabe is an empathetic advocate for many in the mental health community.

Gabe and his podcast are tirelessly fighting to reduce stigma in a way that is having a substantial impact on many patients and caregivers. The numbers speak for themselves. The Psych Central Show is a Top 10 podcast in the Health category on iTunes, a remarkable feat for such a competitive category. The show reaches over 10,000 unique listeners per month.

Gabe, and The Psych Central Show, was the official 2017 Best in Show: Podcasts winner.

 

Top Podcast Patient Leader #2: Lisa Cypers Kamen

Lisa hosts Harvesting Happiness Talk Radio, a syndicated and internationally-broadcast radio show. Highlights from this radio show are shared on her podcast, Harvesting Happiness. Lisa works as a documentary filmmaker, positive psychology coach, author, and lecturer, in addition to hosting the show.

Here is how Lisa describes her podcast:

Harvesting Happiness with Lisa Cypers Kamen broadcasts consciously-prepared brain food from the beaches of Malibu, California. HHTR promotes happiness, well-being, and global human flourishing with a diverse and proactive collection of the greatest thought leaders and change agents who are devoting their lives to creating a better world in which to live. Each episode focuses on personal growth, human interest, self-improvement, healthy lifestyle, and positive psycho-social education.

In both her practice and the radio show and podcast, there is a focus on addiction, trauma, and life crisis recovery, but Lisa covers a wide range of topics. Examples of recent episodes include a discussion with an expert on the importance of sleep, a conversation about gut health, and a look at how stress can be harnessed for good. The overall emphasis of the show is on mental health and positive psychology, always from a stigma-free perspective.

In nominating Lisa for the award, the show was described as “incredibly interesting and educational.”

 

Top Podcast Patient Leader #3: Parijat Deshpande

On the Delivering Miracles podcast, Parijat Deshpande takes her own experiences with infertility, high-risk pregnancy and a pre-term birth and helps empower others around all things related to reproductive health and family building. In digging into and sharing the real, raw side of these often-challenging issues, Parijat is shedding light on topics that can feel isolating. By diving deep into topics like postpartum nutrition, pregnancy complications, surrogacy, and the emotional challenges of every path to parenthood, she helps others feel not so alone.

Here is how Parijat describes her podcast:

Parijat Deshpande, high-risk pregnancy expert, clinically-trained therapist and former high-risk mom, explores the real, raw side of family building. From infertility, high-risk pregnancy, bed rest and prematurity to healing after baby comes home, the Delivery Miracles Podcast with Parijat is an entertaining, inspirational, informative show that gives you the tools to have a healthy pregnancy so that you can give your baby a strong start to life.

Parijat is a great example of a Patient Leader who combines her life experiences as a patient with her work as a clinically-trained therapist to be a Patient Expert who is making a big impact on others. In addition to her podcast, Parijat has an active blog presence and her work is frequently mentioned on outlets like Psych Central, Everyday Health, and Forbes.

 

Top Podcast Patient Leader #4: Leslie Krongold, Ed.D.

Leslie Krongold has been an active Patient Advocate for nearly 20 years, ever since her myotonic dystrophy diagnosis. She began the Glass Half Full podcast in 2016 as a means of continuing and furthering that advocacy. The podcast focuses on helping others cope with chronic illnesses in a positive way.

Here is how Leslie describes her podcast:

This podcast features people with chronic health conditions as they share their positive coping tools and practitioners of mind-body and/or alternative health who have helped people with a chronic health condition.

Most of the episodes of the podcast feature an expert guest or two. Leslie and her guests generally focus on one main topic per episode. For example, recent episodes have focused on music and its therapeutic and potentially mood-elevating role, yoga and healthy aging, and the need for more rare disease research. Leslie shares pieces of her own story but she also makes a point to shine a light on other Patient Leaders and cover a wide variety of health conditions.

 

Top Podcast Patient Leader #5: Matt Pappas

Surviving My Past is a unique podcast hosted by Patient Leader Matt Pappas that focuses on supporting those who have lived through the trauma of abuse. Matt uses his experiences of being a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, narcissistic abuse, and bullying to empower and support others. Matt’s goal is to “validate and encourage” his listeners.

Here is how Matt describes his podcast:

A podcast about inspiring others through the power of sharing your story, and those who’ve dedicated their lives to helping others in the areas of mental health, anxiety, and trauma recovery.

Many episodes of Matt’s podcast feature expert guests, including therapists, writers, and other survivors. This podcast is yet another standout in mental health awareness and advocacy podcasting, but it is special in its focus on surviving abuse. That said, the show has expanded to cover other mental health topics as well, like a recent episode that focused on bipolar disorder. Matt is a Certified Life Coach and uses the podcast as an avenue to help others move forward and let go of things holding them back.

 

The Future of Health Podcasting is Bright!

The 2017 WEGO Health Awards podcast finalists happened to have a focus around mental health, but there is a podcast for just about every health condition out there. As more people learn about and fall in love with this medium, the number of health podcasts will only continue to grow. Although there was some speculation in the past that podcasting was merely a trendy fad or even a bubble, the podcast is enduring and has proven itself to be much more than a fad.

If you’re new to podcasts, or if you want to revisit the idea of listening to podcasts on a regular basis, make haste to Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, iTunes, or one of the many other podcasting platforms and start listening! The five podcasters highlighted here are certainly a good place to start. They have set a high bar for quality and have made a big difference to fellow patients as they share their stories and fiercely advocate for others.

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