If you're looking for a new and effective way to grow your dental practice, you might want to consider a podcast. Millions of Americans listen to podcasts every week, and dentists are no exception. There's definitely a time commitment if you want to start your own podcast. But even if you just listen, the networking opportunities are significant.
Just how popular are podcasts?
Consider that 42 million Americans, or 15% of the entire U.S. population, listen to podcasts weekly. To put that in perspective, that’s five times more than those who go to the movies. And overall, 112 million Americans have listened to a podcast at some point in 2017 — an 11% increase over 2016.
And dental podcasts are part of this growth.
“Last time I looked, there are about 50 podcast stations just in the dental category,” says Jordon Comstock, the founder of BoomCloud Apps, and co-host of a podcast about navigating dental insurance. “Just this year I’ve seen a dozen or so new podcasts pop up in the industry.”
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Comstock and his co-host, Ben Tuinei, launched The Navigating Dental Insurance podcast about a year ago. They cover topics ranging from in-house membership programs to how to reduce dependence on dental insurance. They bring in industry experts who provide advice to dentists on various subjects.
But dental consultants like Comstock aren’t the only ones developing industry-specific podcasts. Many dentists are developing their own podcasts as well. For example, Mark Costes, D.D.S., founder of the Dental Success Institute, has built and sold several dental practices. His podcast, The Dentalpreneur podcast, shares the strategies he used when building his own practices.
Some dentists develop podcasts, Comstock explains, simply to help out colleagues in the industry by sharing their experiences. Others take it to another level and create conferences such as the Voices of Dentistry Podcast Summit, considered the biggest dental podcasting event of the year.
“Some dentists want to have a voice in the industry,” Comstock says.
But dental podcasts don’t have to be serious. Some dentists doing their own podcasts share the humorous side of dentistry. Comstock says he and his co-host always have a good time recording their podcasts and sharing funny stories.
“It’s different content than dentist are used to consuming, and I think it can be more enjoyable if you add some humor,” he says. “That’s definitely the fun part of doing a podcast.”
RULES OF THUMB
So, how difficult is it to create and market a dental podcast? Comstock says it all depends on who you talk to. Most podcasters, he says, start off using programs like Skype. They purchase a USB microphone off Amazon, obtain a recording software that integrates with Skype, and publish the podcast on places like iTunes.
“Sound Cloud is a great free option to host your content,” Comstock says. “And every time you post a new episode it automatically updates in iTunes.”
It’s also not expensive, but it is time consuming. Comstock says that if dentists want to start and grow a podcast, there’s definitely a time commitment.
“My co-host and I, we’ve recorded podcasts every day this week,” he says. “That’s the hardest part of starting a podcast—having the commitment, and then creating the content.”
Comstock says there are dentists and dental consultants who record and publish podcasts on a daily basis. The key is being consistent.
“If anyone out there wants to start a podcast, they have to realize it’s going to take a good amount of time from their schedule, whether they’re a dentist or a consultant,” he says. “But it’s definitely a great help to the industry.”
Comstock says that most dental podcasts run from 30 minutes to an hour, though he has seen shorter ones that last only 15-20 minutes. That gives dentists a lot of flexibility, because they often listen during their commute to and from the practice, and for those with a shorter commute or less time to listen, they can still hear great content.
Podcasts also provide dentists with the added benefit of networking. They can serve as a platform for dentists to become influential within the industry, but also serve to bring in vendors who may want to offer discounts or advertise on podcasts, which can help generate revenue. Comstock says he has advertised his consulting business on podcasts hosted by dentists with whom he has become friends. He calls it a great benefit for him as a vendor, as well as for the podcast owner.
“There are a ton of benefits, and networking is one of the best benefits of doing a podcast,” Comstock says. “Networking is one of the best skills you can develop in growing your business relationships. I think that’s why podcasts have been so beneficial.”