Audio Success in Pharma
A panel discussion at Talk Health’s recent Talk Health event in Philadelphia focused on the definition of success in audio from the publisher vendors, as well as HCP viewpoints.
I had the honour of participating in a panel discussion during the Talk Health event held at Le Meridien in Philadelphia, PA, in September. 11. The panel discussion, moderated by Evan Johnson, chief of staff at Watzan, was focused on what success means in audio from the publisher vendors, the vendor, and HCP viewpoints. Participating on the panel alongside my name included Dr. Dillard Elmore, a doctor who is a practising one, as well as Robert Dougherty, president of Dougherty Media.
As panel members that we are all on, we use audio both in our personal and professional capacities. Apart from the production of podcasts like the Pharmaceutical Executive podcast and the Applied Clinical Trials podcast, My leisure listening to audio includes several different podcasts hosted by my top comedians. Dougherty, too, uses audio frequently. “It’s much easier for me to travel to listen rather than to go through specific things. However, we as a business have realized that it’s an entirely different way of consuming media that allows you to get your experts’ opinions quickly and in a new style.” It does this generally in audio segments of one to three minutes that Doherty says are “definitely highly captivating” and observing “much more interaction” than the publications his company currently creates.
Dr Elmore shared that for him, the best part about audio comes from the idea that it’s self-centred. “If you watch television, you must concentrate on all your senses. If you’re working through textbooks, you must use all your senses. When you listen to audiobooks, some of my favourite memories involve having time with my friends and family, but I love listening to music. When you’re watching either an audiobook or medical podcast, I’m cutting the lawn, doing all of my laundry, or I could be cooking…You can engage in conversation and still be doing different things.”
The biggest challenge for beginning in audio is recording high-quality audio. Confident people need headphones to connect to their laptops, much less an audio professional. A few basic guidelines to make sure that audio is usable could be to have, at minimum, headphones that have a microphone; however, if you don’t, to be in a silent space that doesn’t have an echo or has thin walls.
Beyond the audio quality, ensuring that the person being interviewed is at ease is critical to success. The way we conduct interviews is that, typically, for the podcast we run, we’ll have an initial call with the guest to discuss the subject and then discuss topics and the direction that the show will follow. Scheduling is also an issue because the higher the KOL’s C-suite will be, the more occupied their schedules are and the more challenging it is to access them. The biggest concern is not having to be incorrectly quoted or misrepresented. The ability to prepare the questions beforehand permits guests to be ready when it’s time to record the show. In turn, it helps to speed up editing. Another suggestion: Encourage using bullet points instead of writing lengthy responses to keep responses conversational and exciting.
The process of editing for audio is dependent on the guest(s) and generally can take anywhere from one to three minutes for each minute of recorded audio. A guest or host may go for minutes without uttering any filler phrases or committing an error that needs to be corrected. A more gruelling episode with an inexperienced subject can take several hours. It’s helpful to develop a routine for editing to make sure you stick to an established schedule of posting content. For instance, The Pharmaceutical Executive podcast has been posting biweekly on Thursday mornings, around 9 am EST, since the beginning of 2018. Our listeners know precisely what time and where to get content, and they can trust that it will be available whenever they want to hear it.
Between the process of preparing for an episode and the release of the KOL, The process may take several months or two weeks. Each episode will be unique.
Audio in emails
Dougherty stated that integrating audio content into emails and e-newsletters was not “too bad” for his company and said the procedure can be described as “pretty efficient.” They talk to doctors for brief time segments, and when they’re paired with static banner advertisements, the e-newsletter is distributed. The recipients will then hit to play to the audio file and then land on the landing page, which includes the identical static ads.
“They did well; we saw a high engagement rate of 18-27% and 3-5% click-through rates,” said Dougherty. “They also act almost like a resource library…great KOLs people could return to.” He added that in certain instances, audio content, which initially had 60 downloads or plays, would eventually exceed 200+ being stored in the archive. Dougherty said that even though the company’s delivery rates for emails have always been high, adding audio to its emails has improved the open rates and engagement rates dramatically.
“It’s an entirely different kind of media. We’re using thought-leaders to get details about the brand’s message that you wouldn’t be able to use in a banner advertisement.”
Engaging HCPs in audio
Dr. Elmore’s use of audio begins shortly after he gets up. “I do the audio Bible for about 15 minutes, and while getting ready, I go through a swath of podcasts.” Dr Elmore said that the average podcast he’s searching for is under 30 minutes. He also noted that even shorter listening time could be beneficial. “I need to get to that end. I do not wish for my attention to be held by only one thing. I want to get an excellent broad perspective of what’s going on. When I’m in discussion with, for instance, neurosurgeons about my patient, I am confident that I understand [what they’re discussing as well as the capability to explore more.” Another essential characteristic to draws the attention of this doctor is a lively host who provides engaging information. “They might make something basic look appealing and make you want to trip the rabbit hole. That’s beautiful.”
In all, Dr. Elmore spends about two and a half hours each day, which includes his commute, listening to audio-based content. However, not all of his audio is for business. His leisure time is reserved for sci-fi audiobooks on his commute. Elmore added that his consumption of audio, which he claims is “like a renaissance,” has become a significant aspect of his daily life. It has reduced the amount of television Elmore watches.
AI in audio
Becoming more popular everywhere. I’ve seen many pharmaceutical websites that offer the possibility to listen to an announcement in the present,” explained Dougherty. At present, a human voice or an established thought leader is still the best option as you are in complete control possible control. “Sophisticated areas of translation may be a little more difficult for artificial intelligence (AI), such as some of the generic terms and brand names…It’ll be interesting to see what AI does for that–I think it’ll be commonplace very shortly if it isn’t already.”
With AI programs improving daily, some now have the option of accents. The era of audio is set to be hard to beat.