Branded Podcast Case Study: Australian Prescriber Podcast

NPS MedicineWise is a government-funded organisation to educate health professionals and the general public on using medicines appropriately, their side effects and medical tests. It produces a bi-monthly magazine, Australian Prescriber, that is accessible online with around 60,000 subscribers.

The Challenge

NPS MedicineWise wanted to engage its readers, build the brand and drive more people to its website.

The Audience

Australian Prescriber’s is aimed at health practitioners – including pharmacists, GPs, specialists, trainee doctors, students, dentists and nurses – who advise patients which medicines to use.

Key Insights

  • Publishing a magazine means NPS MedicineWise already produces a huge volume of quality content.
  • They already had a database for the magazine of 60,000 subscribers.

“Our audience are very busy people and being able to do something else whilst they’re listening to a 10-minute podcast is a bonus for them. Podcasts are a great way for people to get their information and are an increasingly popular way to consume information.”

The Format

Acknowledging the diversity of health practitioners the in the audience, the decision was made to appoint three hosts for the podcast:

  • Dr David Liew – a consultant rheumatologist and clinical pharmacology fellow at Austin Health, Melbourne.
  • Dhineli Perera – a clinical pharmacist specialising in infectious diseases at Austin Health, Melbourne
  • Dr Janine Rowse – a GP who has lectured in refugee health at the Australian National University and is currently studying for a Master of Forensic Medicine.

David is an experienced podcast host, having worked on the Purple Pain podcast for pharmacists.

Each episode includes an interview with an author of an article recently published in the magazines and the hosts have the freedom to choose from a shortlist of articles who they wish to interview.

Whilst the hosts are paid, the podcast is produced in-house.

Distribution & Amplification

“Getting yourself into iTunes is a good marketing exercise because so many podcast platforms scrape content from iTunes meaning you end up everywhere.”

The Australian Prescriber Podcast made it to the coveted iTunes New & Noteworthy Chart. This is attributed to emailing a database of over 100,000 subscribers when launching the first episode and featuring a high profile guest in their first interview.

The huge volume of downloads meant they ranked 18th in Australian podcasts overall for a few days post-launch.

They actively tweet each episode and promote it to their email list. In addition, they have also printed flyers to distribute at relevant industry conferences.

The Results

“It is fun and it’s always good to have a challenge. When people start giving you feedback and lots of people are downloading it, you feel like you’re having an impact and it’s really satisfying.”

Hosting the podcast on the Libsyn platform means NPS MedicineWise have been able to measure the number of downloads.

They hit around 3,000 downloads per episode and the Australian Prescriber Podcast has been ranking highly in the Science & Medicines podcast category in Australia.

“Anecdotally we understand it [the podcast] is driving traffic to the website as those episodes that have high downloads also seem to correspond with a high number of hits to the article on the website. For example, the episode on Fibromyalgia ended up ranking in our top 5 articles on the website after the episode was released.”

Lessons Learned

If you’re on a tight budget and want to produce it in-house, then it’s really important to have a dedicated team of podcast enthusiasts who are prepared to put in the work upfront. There needs to be passion and tenacity to get it off the ground.

Ensure you have a good setup for managing remote interviews, particularly where the interviewee isn’t very tech-savvy or used to working with microphones.

“Listen to lots of podcasts, do your research, think about what you like and even copy a format then bite the bullet and get some episodes out to find out what does and doesn’t work with incremental improvements.”

We interviewed Fiona McKinnon, producer of the Australian Prescriber Podcast on BE Podcasting. Listen here