Fitness | This Girl Can

When your marketing goal is to get people out to exercise, and then Covid forces everyone to stay indoors, what do you do?

The team at VicHealth added a podcast to their ‘This Girl Can’ campaign, which successfully connected and motivated women using authentic stories of encouragement. How did they do this during a most extraordinary lockdown?

Our guest Alex Dandanis, VicHealth’s Strategic Communications Manager, walks us through why they used a podcast, how they created it professionally while keeping it authentic, and why it’s success has encouraged them to get deeper into podcasting.


  • How and why the podcast added to the overall marketing campaign
  • Behind the scenes on production and how they kept it authentic
  • Restructuring helped them include podcasts in future projects
  • Promotion used to attract audience
  • Measuring KPI’s and ROI
  • Key advice for marketers considering podcasts in a campaign

Alex Dandanis is a digital native focused on driving behaviour change for good. For five years she has acted as Stratigic Communications Manager for VicHealth Austrialia specialising in strategic communications, content marketing and social media.

Find her on Linkedin:
Listen to the podcast here:


The problem was research showed a lot of women were even less active than men. We wanted a way to connect to these women in their homes, give them inspiration and other women to connect to. – Alex Dandanis

It was really raw, we didn’t want to over edit it, it was very much authentic in giving women the microphone and letting them kind of share their own stories and connecting on that deeper level with listens. – Alex Dandanis

It’s evergreen content that we keep going back to. Our marketing team are well across the podcast as a solid asset which is a gift that keeps on giving. – Alex Dandanis


podcast # awardwinners, #evergreen #content #vichealth #melbourne #dustpod #brands


For your convenience, we include an automated AI transcription

Dusty Rhodes 0:00
Right now and award winners were about to discover how a public service health department used podcasts to get people active.

Intro 0:08
Worldwide brands are engaging with customers through podcasts. These are the stories behind outstanding brand podcasts, so you can listen, learn and to be inspired by the best. These are the Award Winners from

Dusty Rhodes 0:26
VicHealth in Melbourne, Australia has a mission to promote good health for everyone in the state of Victoria and a key part of their activity is their campaign “This Girl Can”. Their Strategic Communications Manager is Alex Dandanis.

Alex Dandanis 0:39
It’s evergreen content that we keep going back to. Our marketing team as well across the podcast as a solid asset of ours and it’s the gift that keeps on giving.

Dusty Rhodes 0:51
Alex joins us now to share why they added a podcast element as part of a bigger campaign, why authenticity was important to its success and how they use social and other platforms to promote it.

First, I started by asking Alex about how the podcast, which encouraged exercise, began at a time when we were all told not to go outdoors.

Alex Dandanis 1:18
So “This Girl Can” is a physical activity campaign that VicHealth had been working on for a few years, it’s been around since 2018. We’d not yet delved into the podcast world. But were quickly in an ever changing environment in early 2020. When the pandemic hit, I don’t need to explain too much more on that one. But our research was telling us that a lot of women were at home in lockdown. And they were not getting active. In fact, they were even less active than than men. And we wanted to try to find a way to connect to these women in their homes, and give them some inspiration, and some some women to connect to. So they could keep getting active in their own environments. So the podcast was really born out of this idea of giving women, some other women to connect with and hear about their stories about physical activity, and hope to inspire them to get a little bit more active themselves.

Dusty Rhodes 2:14
So as well as the podcast then what other ideas were floating around?

Alex Dandanis 2:19
Quite a few actually, it was a really exciting time. Strangely enough as the beginning of the pandemic really looked at how what when we’re doing, how they weren’t feeling, what they weren’t and weren’t getting involved in. And we developed a Get active at home section of our website and a whole series of content where we worked with women that were connected with our campaign and created a collection of videos that women could use to get active at anytime they wanted in their home environment safely. It was all meant to be a bit of fun. And we also ran a number of live workouts as well through social media and working with different partners to connect women together during that time when everybody was at home. But knowing how important it was to keep active at the same time.

Dusty Rhodes 3:05
And what was missing that led you to a podcast? Really great

Alex Dandanis 3:09
question. We’ve never really delved into audio. And I think for us, we played around a lot with video, it was a tricky time for us to get data into video, we’d started toying with using, you know, Zoom interviews for content. But we felt that to really connect with women, we just wanted them to hear from other women, just like them almost like it was a bit of a chat with a friend where they could connect with them in that really personal way in their ears and tell them their own stories and, and help break down some of those fears and barriers that other women might be facing.

Dusty Rhodes 3:45
And what kind of ideas then where you Molly over when you kind of thought of podcast what what what form was the podcast taking your head.

Alex Dandanis 3:52
For as the podcast was where we were, where we hoped it would go would be really where it landed in terms of almost throwing it over to some of our ambassadors. So our campaign we have 45 incredible women, everyday women across the state. They’re not actors, they’re not fits by models, that women that look like they look like me that look like my neighbor, my mom, women that others could relate to. And we really just wanted to hand over that platform to women to get them to tell their own story in their own right to connect with other women and for women to realize that there were lots of people experiencing similar situations. And whilst everybody has a different physical activity journey, you know, a lot of women are connected by this idea that physical activity can be quite tough, and they face a lot of barriers, barriers that men don’t necessarily face. So for us, we really wanted to platform women’s stories and felt that a podcast series a little bit more of that longer format and all the episodes to really let them dive into that journey, in their own words was a really great way to do that. So

Dusty Rhodes 4:59
When it came to the actual production of it, you went for outside help. What was the thinking behind that decision?

Alex Dandanis 5:07
It was our first foray into podcasting. And we wanted to make sure we did it properly. So our team worked really closely with producers. So in terms of getting the technical aspects, spot on, but we are working really closely with that producer and pulling it all together. If

Dusty Rhodes 5:26
you were to do another podcast, would you get outside help again? Or would you do it internally?

Alex Dandanis 5:31
Well, funny, you asked, because it definitely got the podcast bug flowing. We got bitten by that, that bug. And we have delved deeper into podcasts. Since we’ve actually restructured our marketing team to improve our in house capabilities. We were lucky enough to move office and snuck a little podcast studio into the new office. So we now have full internal capabilities in terms of strategic direction production, and technical expertise to roll out focus. So we’ve been working on the in good health podcast with our CEO, Dr. Sandra DeMaio. We did that internally last year. And this year, we were working with an external agency to give us a little bit of additional support. But we’ve certainly taken the podcast production in house and realized our capabilities.

Dusty Rhodes 6:26
Do you have particular favorite of your own

Alex Dandanis 6:29
or we’re not allowed to have favorites. Now we do have a few favorites. So jagriti, one of our wonderful ambassadors talked about her love for Bollywood dancing. So when she was growing up, she was told that she was too fat to be a dancer, which is not a great thing for a young woman to hear. But she realized how wonderful it made her feel. So she stuck with it. So in the podcast episode, Jack really talks about the ups and downs that she’s faced in getting active, and overcoming those barriers and those fears of judgment. And most of all inspired women to have a little bit of fun in their living rooms. We put the episode out in the world, popped a little video out alongside it and got wonderful comments back on social media, from women getting active with their moms with their daughters at home in their living rooms, putting on the dads video and dancing around. Like nobody was watching because nobody was and that’s just a really wonderful episode for me.

Speaker 2 7:30
I think that I’ve always felt like the odd one in my life. Like I’ve just always felt like I’m a bit off center, not here nor there. And people can’t quite figure out what pigeon hole to put me in. And I’ve actually enjoyed that, you know, being unique and different. At the same time, it presents its challenges of feeling like you don’t belong. You don’t quite belong anywhere in a particular group or framework. And I guess it’s sifted through in the way I teach dances. I knew why I’m teaching dance. That was very clear to me. It was to light people up. That message was always clear. I wasn’t interested in necessarily promoting how great you look on stage or vanity and those type of things. Although the Bollywood film industry is notorious for that.

Dusty Rhodes 8:28
So you’ve done the you’ve got the whole podcast together, you’ve got all the episodes together, it’s ready to go out into the world. How did you tell the world about this girl can podcast with

Alex Dandanis 8:39
this girl can because it was an existing integrated social marketing campaign. We had existing channels we had existing social media communities are really connected women that we were engaging with, you know, for two years straight on a regular basis. So we launched a podcast through our social media platforms,

Dusty Rhodes 8:58
what kind of other channels then outside of social media, were you able to promote the podcast, we

Alex Dandanis 9:03
have a very wonderful public relations team at the health and had Media Relations around the podcast as well. So a lot of local media in Victoria. And through our social media channels through big health wide stakeholder networks. It was very digital focused. We have since put some paid advertising behind it as well as the podcast episodes were all pretty evergreen. They’ve been something that we’ve it wasn’t just get it out there. And forget about it. Two weeks after the final episode. It’s been evergreen content for us that we can keep coming back to and keep bringing it up every year as we enter into our campaign period, which has a flurry of other activity around it. So it sits within a suite of this girl can activities and materials which is why it’s worked really well because it’s completely integrated. It wasn’t a separate idea outside of our other marketing objectives. It was nestled right in there.

Dusty Rhodes 9:57
So from the Different channels you had the social and the PR, and the paid advertising. Was there any that particularly worked worked? Well.

Alex Dandanis 10:07
I think it’s really hard that to prove attribution these days, social media has been a really big driver for us, particularly at the time of release because women were at home on their devices a lot. So social media was definitely the largest driver of traffic. But when you package it all up into their their campaign, they all work really neatly together. I don’t think we could have done one without the other.

Dusty Rhodes 10:32
GM Alex tells us how the podcast performed for Vic health, how they were able to measure its success. And here’s a little advice that she’s learned from this experience, which will be useful for all the marketers.

Speaker 1 10:43
If you feel a brand podcast work for you. Here are three simple things you can do today to get started. One, visit our websites to get more information and guides on how podcasts work specifically for brands, along with lots more examples of award winning brands, podcasts to inspire you to you can call us with your questions, and we’re happy to help. Three, you could consider working with us. So you do all the fun stuff. And we do everything else. Find that information on our website as DustPod does I

Dusty Rhodes 11:22
were chatting with Alex Dunn Danna, Strategic Communications Manager with Vic health in Melbourne, Australia. On the podcast campaign, this girl can I continue the conversation by asking Alex about the all important KPIs and return on investment? How did we can measure the success of the podcast? It

Alex Dandanis 11:41
was really our first foray into podcasting. So we were going in pretty wide eyed and optimistic. We didn’t set heavy KPIs in terms of a balance. We were doing it as a bit of it, let’s see what happens. For us the real metric of success was around that engagement with the episodes themselves with their traction on social media with the conversations that it was generating amongst communities of women. Because for us, it was really about how will we inspiring more women to actually get out there and get moving and get active. So for us, it was all about those conversations. And we were saying, another

Dusty Rhodes 12:16
measure of success is the Australian podcast award what you got for this girl, Ken, would you put that success down to any one thing like authenticity or connection, or maybe because the podcast was built into a bigger campaign? I

Alex Dandanis 12:30
think for us, it was just, it was really raw, we didn’t want to over edit it, it was very much authentic in giving women the microphone and letting them kind of share their own stories and connecting on that deeper level with listens. I think why it was so successful and why it might have been seen as an award winner, thank you to the judges was it was really part of an integrated campaign as I spoken about. So it wasn’t just a podcast in isolation. It was a podcast as part of a broader marketing campaign, broader paid campaign, working within communities on raising awareness and building demand, helping on the supply side of it as well. So it wasn’t a podcast done in isolation, it was very much part of a broader campaign, which meant that it linked in really nicely and had really strong outcomes for us and has helped lead to stronger outcomes in terms of the actual physical activity campaign and getting more women active.

Dusty Rhodes 13:27
This girl can was a series of nine podcasts and it was done a little while ago. Is the podcast still working for you as time goes on? The

Alex Dandanis 13:38
podcast is absolutely still working for us. I had a little peek at the numbers while prepping for this interview and we’re still getting some some solid hits on it. I think that’s that’s worked for us because it was developed in a way that’s about storytelling. It’s about telling these stories of women getting active in ways that suit them. And that’s timeless. It’s evergreen content that we keep going back to our marketing team as well across the podcast as a solid asset of ours. So it’s considered when we are doing broader paid media activities across social media as it keeps popping up as content that we can just use again and again and it’s the gift that keeps on giving

Dusty Rhodes 14:20
future plans to do more definitely

Alex Dandanis 14:22
we’ve got the bug for us I think I mean this girl can it’s there’s endless possibilities in that storytelling. We know that people will love listening to podcasts to be entertained. And this podcast definitely was able to do that. And also give a little bit of inspiration but not in a Here are five tips to go and get active way but in a really authentic soft way where women could interpret that anyway they wanted Vic health is also works really closely with our CEO Dr. Sanjay DeMaio. On the in good health podcast which takes a different route as well which very much is more around unpacking what factors To affect our health, so very much a more hard hitting podcast. So having a little bit of light and shade in our podcast arsenal is fun for the team and, and shows that we do have that breadth of knowledge as well. What

Dusty Rhodes 15:12
advice would you have for marketers who are just kind of thinking about a podcast or starting a podcast and wants to make an impact?

Alex Dandanis 15:19
Really Know your audience. That’s step one. If you don’t know who your audience is, and who you’re trying to talk to, it’s going to be really hard to create something that they’re going to connect with. So definitely be really clear on that upfront, map it out, give them names, work through that process like you would in any other marketing activity that you might do.

Dusty Rhodes 15:41
Well, listen, thank you so much for taking time to tell us about the award winning podcast. You can listen to the podcast by searching for This Girl Can on Apple podcasts, or Spotify or Google right now. And of course, there’s a direct link in the Show Notes of this episode on your player right now. But for now, Alex, thank you so much. Thank you.

If you are considering a podcast for your company or brand, you’ll find some great resources on our website at If you like you can also arrange a complimentary call just to see how a podcast could work for your brand specifically, or you might consider working with us so you get to do all the fun stuff and we do everything else!

Until our next award winners podcast from myself Dusty Rhodes, thank you so much for listening.

Outro 16:28
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