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Health Insurers Use Podcasts to Engage with Brokers and Employer Groups

• Author: Caitlin Nicholson, Sr. Social Content Manager

HC insights - podcasts

For over a decade, podcasts have surged in popularity as a storytelling medium filling virtually every niche from sports to true crime to music to healthcare (and more!). According to Edison Research, 51% of Americans over the age of 12 have listened to a podcast, with 22% having listened to one in the past week. The fastest growing podcast demographic are Americans ages 12-24, showing that this particular medium is popular within the increasingly important Generation Z cohort.

With these numbers in mind, healthcare marketers are wondering if this form of audio content can enhance their marketing efforts. Podcasts help reach audiences who prefer audio consumption, and they are also better for those who consume media in transit on commutes or business travel. They are fairly easy to create and easy to access for consumers on smart phones. In the health insurance space, a few insurers are producing podcasts and marketing them to agents, brokers, consumers and employers. With some help* from Mintel, we’ve provided a few examples of health insurers who are using podcasts to engage with brokers and employer groups.

Podcasts provide a channel for health insurers to connect with agents and prospects who are constantly on the go. We know that agents and brokers play a significant role in decision-making and enrollment. Podcasts can help reach and educate these key influencers. The examples below from UnitedHealthcare, BlueCross BlueShield of Texas and Cigna show how they use email newsletters to update agents and brokers on the latest podcasts covering topics such as health plan enrollment, new healthcare solutions and more.

Podcasts - United HealthCare, BCBS Texas, Cigna

UnitedHealthcare also promoted its podcast directly to small business groups via email. Their goal in doing so was to encourage employers to connect with employees or educate employers to get the most out of their health plan. The Health Plan Edge podcast brings in small business owners who converse with the host, Steve Strauss, a small business columnist for USA Today, about the best ways to be smart about topics such as implementing wellness programs, health plan options and utilization.

Podcasts - United HealthCare, BCBS Texas, Cigna

Health plans have been prioritizing wellness communications in the workplace with the goal of improving employee health and productivity, and in turn, potentially lowering healthcare costs. Anthem BlueCross BlueShield is just one example. The plan has a FitLife podcast series with 10-15 minute episodes that provide advice on everyday wellness topics such as exercise and injury, healthy meal prep and sugar and carbs. Through email marketing channels such as monthly wellness newsletters, they encourage employers to share these podcasts with their employees.

Podcasts - BCBS

Final notes

When thinking about incorporating a podcast into a content strategy, it’s quality over quantity. Chose a theme and focus on reaching a targeted audience whether it is small business employers or wellness enthusiasts. Avoid overselling your product or service – information offered should be educational or entertaining, focused on the interests, trends or pain points your target audience. For example, small business owners may be concerned over the rising costs of health care or educating their employees during open enrollment.

It’s also worth pointing out that Edison Research’s report says that over half (54%) of all podcast listeners would consider brands that they hear advertised on podcasts. This is something for healthcare marketers to think about when choosing mediums for paid media.

Overall, podcasts can be added to your content marketing strategy to build thought leadership and reach key influencers including brokers and benefit managers. Head over to iTunes, Spotify or Google Podcasts and listen to a few podcasts to get the feel for the type of content out there. You’ll be sure to be entertained and educated!

 *Screenshots sourced from Mintel – a leading market intelligence agency.

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