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Doctors to DJs: How Audio Content Put Physicians Center Stage [Podcast]

By Stewart Gandolf, Chief Executive Officer
Scot Singpiel

Scot Singpiel

[SHSMD17 Speaker Podcast Series] Our interview today is with Scot Singpiel, Communications Manager at University of Utah Health regarding the upcoming presentation at SHSMD 2017 hospital and healthcare marketing conference. Scott, and his co-presenter Kathy Wilets, Director of Media Relations, will be talking about the unique uses of audio in their content marketing strategy.

TheScopeRadio.com is a unique tool for creating multi-purpose healthcare marketing content at the University of Utah Health. The Scope Health Sciences Radio highlights expert health advice from authoritative sources. The Scope’s mission is to educate, engage in, and lead the conversation on the latest research and trends in medicine.

Our special guest today is Scot Singpiel, Communication Manager and manager of Scope Radio. The title of the SHSMD 2017 presentation is Doctors to DJs: Using Audio to Put Your Physicians Center Stage.

SCOT SINGPIEL: Scope Radio is a website that we started about four years ago. It features audio interviews with our physicians, providers and specialists. As of right now, we have nearly 2,000 interviews that cover a broad range of topics from general health and wellness to specialists’ topics.

When we began, the original vision was to have a radio station, much like Doctor Radio at NYU Langone Medical Center on Sirius XM Radio. But, at the time, we didn’t have a studio and we didn’t have the equipment…so they told me to go buy a portable recorder, go start interviewing doctors, and that’s what I did and what I’ve been doing ever since. And it’s been wildly successful.

Evidently, there were some unexpected benefits from Scope Radio. What are some of the ideas and unexpected benefits that emerged from this project you’ll be talking about at SHSHMD?

SCOT: Our original goal was to create material for our content marketing strategy at the University of Utah Health. The initial idea is to create really good content without any expectation of a return in hope of creating a relationship with your customer. And as we started doing this we discovered some internal and external benefits as well.

For example, internally we found that we could use this as a low-stakes media training tool. And further, we have been able to refer some media requests to our interviews [with doctor experts.] And another benefit is that even doctors feel the energy of a radio interview. So, it has been a great way to engage our physicians internally and get them excited about creating content.

We also learned that audio is a way to create a lot of content very quickly. Generally, within a half-hour, we can do two, five- to seven-minute interviews with a physician. Then we can produce those interviews, and later perhaps repurpose the material for a blog post or use the content for an infographic. We have the philosophy of “produce once and use many times.”

So, not only do we have the five-minute interviews, we also do 60-second “Health Minutes” spots that are running on local radio stations. A lot of times we are able to get a clip from the five-minute interview that we can repurpose into a Health Minute. That’s just another way that we use the material as much as possible. And this was one of the unexpected benefits that we’ve found.

No doubt there are other hospitals and health systems that use this approach, but there are probably many, many more that are not yet producing audio content material. What advice would you offer others who are thinking about using audio or radio?

SCOT: One of the things we love about this is that audio is a very intimate medium. As an academic medical center, one the challenges that we have here is that, sometimes, there is a feeling of distance between our providers and some patients. But audio is more intimate…something that you put in your ears…and that people can hear another human voice. That’s a direct connection and a great medium to use

I think a lot of people don’t use it, perhaps, because they feel intimidated by audio. They think that they have to buy a lot of equipment, or they think that they need to have professional editors or DJs. And that really isn’t the case. The equipment cost today is reasonable.

And, with a few tips and pointers that I will cover in our SHSMD presentation session, I can teach you how to get great audio quality even in not-the-best of audio circumstances. You don’t have to build a huge studio. In part to promote our session, I will be bringing some of our equipment and be demonstrating how to use it. It’s less intimidating than you might think.

So I think my biggest piece of advice…the key is just to get started by recording some people. There can be a little intimidation for some people, but I’m able to work them through that. I was in radio for a long time and I know that a microphone can be scary.

I will tell you that another advantage of audio is that it is not as intimidating as video, which has some drawbacks. First of all, video has to be done very well or it doesn’t look right and can be distracting. A lot of people are not comfortable in front of a video camera but behind the microphone, it allows the physicians to relax a little.

Please tell our listeners about your co-presenter at SHSMD, and how you’ve divided your talk.

SCOT: Kathy Wilets is Director of Media Relations and Content Marketing at the University of Utah Health. She is my boss, and she will be talking about making the case to leadership. We think that there will be two types of people attending our presentation. One might be someone who is interested in doing this, but they don’t know where to begin.

So, part of our goal is to provide tips and hints on the equipment, and Kathy will be talking about making the case to leadership. She will offer some of the things that you can talk about, what we have learned here, and how this is advantageous to the organization.

The other type of person who may attend our presentation is someone who is already using audio or is going to be implementing audio in their content strategy. For these people, we will talk about some of the things from our experience, issue that we encountered and overcame them, and a couple really good tips about how to generate great web traffic.

One of the important considerations that is vital for success is having top leadership endorsement for the launch of a new idea like this.

SCOT: Yes. Our leadership was enthusiastic about this, perhaps in part because not many others were using audio. What’s more, audio is a very versatile medium. We have a full-blown website with a lot of informative interviews. Another way to use audio content is to create a podcast that can live on iTunes. And the beauty of audio—with an investment of only $500-$600 for really good equipment—you can begin inexpensively.

What would be the one “big idea” that you have for people attending your SHSMD 2017 presentation?

SCOT: It would be to consider audio for content marketing at your institution. Audio can be a versatile, useful and fun tool as a great way to create extra content. And, don’t be intimidated by audio. Once you get past the mythology that it’s difficult, or that you need a lot of money, or that you need a lot of space…and once you realize it’s a low-entry and high-benefit idea.

Remind the audience about the date and time of your SHSMD2017 presentation.

SCOT: The session will be on Tuesday, September 26, at 2 PM. Our title is: Doctors to DJs: Using Audio to Put Your Physicians Center Stage. We look forward to having you attend. There will be some interactive content, and I’ll bring some equipment for some demonstrations. And, hopefully, you’ll leave with some ideas for your content marketing strategy.

Our thanks to Scot Singpiel from the University of Utah Health System for joining us today. Please plan to attend their SHSMD 2017 Conference session at 2 PM, Tuesday, September 26th.

Related: 5 Best Healthcare Podcasts 2018

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