This season premiere profiles the iconic Flying Doctor podcast, a world leading example of how to reach target audiences and stand out among growing media fragmentation.
Head of Communications Lana Mitchell details how she launched the podcast with the goal of educating city audiences about life in rural Australia. Through intimate storytelling of dramatic rescues, the podcast has built a loyal following while humanizing the important work of the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
Lana shares the metrics proving its impact, such as quarter-million downloads and award wins. She also offers invaluable advice for marketers considering their own branded podcast, from focusing on quality storytelling to establishing a consistent release schedule.
If you want to learn how to engage new audiences, this episode provides a case study you won’t want to miss. It offers practical tips for any marketer exploring how the podcast medium could elevate their brand.
THINGS WE SPOKE ABOUT
- 01:31 Podcasting as a marketing solution
- 04:50 Convincing your team that a podcast is worthwhile
- 05:58 Guests in remote locations
- 09:17 Getting help with the technical aspects
- 09:53 Marketing your podcast to your distinct audience
- 15:41 Using podcast content across other platforms
- 16:32 What makes an award winning podcast
- 22:11 Storytelling within your niche
Lana Mitchell is a brand and communications executive with extensive experience in internal and external communications across many different industries. She believes an organisation is only as successful as it can communicate to its customers, stakeholders, staff/board and industry.
If you are starting a podcast, you need to have a long term vision, because you’re building an audience over time. Then as you progress you’ll find it builds and builds, and if your content is good, it will grow. – Lana Mitchell
For us from the very beginning it’s about brand communication. – Lana Mitchell
A podcast is a wonderful way to be able to engage with content, whether it’s fiction, nonfiction, whatever it might be. It’s a way of engaging with content that you wouldn’t otherwise do. So I just think it brings in a new audience or a new way of reaching an audience. – Lana Mitchell
Initially, there was a little bit of disinterest. But, over time as the podcast has grown, and has been nominated twice as best branded podcast, and we’re now past a quarter of a million downloads and it just continues to grow and grow. Now, there’s a lot of interest. But I had to show my colleagues that it was worthwhile. – Lana Mitchell
I decided very early on that I don’t need to be the jack of every single trade. Somebody else who’s better at this should do it. – Lana Mitchell
I think it’s working out what is sustainable. Don’t try to put out something every day, work out what sort of sequence can actually be sustained over time. Then just steadily build up your bank of podcasts. – Lana Mitchell
Look for a niche, something that’s not being done already. And from my perspective, I think that there’s so much more room for storytelling, because this world is made up of the most amazing people who have been through the most amazing things, and you just have to ask them about it. Focus on that and you’ll find that it’s easy. – Lana Mitchell
If you would like to find out more about how a brand podcast could work for your business visit our website www.dustpod.io.
You’ll find guides on how podcasts work specifically for brands, along with lots more examples of award-winning brand podcasts to inspire you. Working with us means you do all the fun stuff, and we do everything else. Find that information on our website www.dustpod.io.
#royalflyingdoctor #australia #awardwinners #brand #audience
For your convenience, we include an automated AI transcription
Dusty Rhodes 00:04
When your doctor is so far away to have to take an airplane to come to your aid, you have a problem. For the Royal Flying Doctor Service in Australia, prevention is the best cure, and they found one in a podcast.
Worldwide brands are engaging with customers through podcasts. These are the stories behind outstanding brand podcasts. So you can listen, learn and be inspired by the best. These are the award winners from dustpod.io
Dusty Rhodes 00:36
My name is Dusty Rhodes and you’re welcome to our podcast today. The world famous Flying Doctors is an air medical service providing care for people in remote areas of Australia, who cannot get to a hospital or even find a local GP. With the vast distances involved. The greatest help that they can provide is by preventing accidents happening in the first place. Lana Mitchell The Flying Doctors Head of Communications came up with the idea of helping by using stories of dramatic rescues in a podcast. Some people just say
Lana Mitchell 01:07
I don’t want to hear about the car accident I don’t want to know about the man that fell in the boiling mud pool or I don’t want to hear about the deadly jellyfish that bit the 14 year old. But I do think that if you are starting a podcast, you need to have the long term vision. Because you’re building an audience over time. Then as you progress you’ll find you’ll build it builds and builds if your content is good, it will grow.
Dusty Rhodes 01:33
In our podcast right now, Lana shares the simple reasoning and goal behind her thinking, how she finds incredible guests and her very simple secret to growing a podcast audience. Let’s start with the most basic question of all from a brand point of view. What problem was the podcast helping with
Lana Mitchell 01:56
so it was created a couple of years ago. And for us from the very beginning. It’s just about brand communication. So it’s just letting people know about the places that we serve. So Australia’s population, about two thirds of them live around the edges of the continent on the coastline. So that’s in Sydney and Brisbane and Melbourne and Adelaide and so forth. So two thirds our population live there. 1/3 live in regional, rural and remote, it’s about 8 million people, not very many compared with other countries, which much larger populations. But about 8 million people live there. And so it is educating people that live in the city about what it’s like to work or travel or live in the bush, and about the challenges that brings. So we often from the Royal Flying Doctor Service, we often end up having to go out and do emergency aeromedical retrievals. For people who’ve gone out from the city unprepared, didn’t take enough water, didn’t have first aid kit, didn’t know how to identify a snake did something silly, you know, did something or got into a real pickle got into a mess, and didn’t know what to do. And so we end up coming out to scrape them off the road or to fix up whatever’s gone wrong or they’ve had a heart attack or whatever it might be. And so I’m hoping that the podcast enlightens people that live in metro areas on on the importance of being prepared of knowing how to be a first responder, knowing the importance of why they should know CPR how to how to assist somebody how to bring somebody back to life how to identify snakebites symptoms. So we talk about a lot of that. So I tried to use it as an educational tool with the view that hopefully, people will learn and say, Okay, well, when we’re out camping at Christmas time, why don’t we take a first aid kit this time, or, you know, our little Johnny’s got some strange symptoms, I remember listening about about that on the podcast, I think we should get this checked out. So the express purpose of it is to let people know what it’s like to live or work or travel in the bush and the challenges and the things that happen. And of course, it’s a totally different audience to, you know, those that know about us to the internet or know about us because I’ve seen a video or something. It’s just a totally different channel.
Dusty Rhodes 04:19
Why do you think it’s a different audience? Well, because I think there’s a
Lana Mitchell 04:23
lot of people like me, who just love podcasts who either jog or putter around in the garden or do long walks or go for long drives. And a podcast is a wonderful way to be able to engage with content, whether it’s fiction, nonfiction, whether it’s whatever it might be, it’s a way of engaging with content that you wouldn’t otherwise do. So I just think it brings in a new audience or a new way of reaching an audience.
Dusty Rhodes 04:50
You have a love for podcasts. Not everybody does. I’m sure there must have been some people in the organization are coming out. What What were their objections?
Lana Mitchell 05:00
No, actually, I didn’t have any objections. None at all. I think the key concern initially from an organizational perspective was a concern that it would cost too much money or resources or time or effort. But in all truth, it’s, it’s very much just been me. And so me with some assistance from producers external, but it’s really just been me. So it hasn’t been a drain. And initially, there was sort of, you know, a little bit of disinterest. But over time, as we’ve as more and more downloads have occurred, and as the podcast has grown, and has been nominated now twice as best branded podcast, and we’re now past a quarter of a million downloads, it just continues to grow and grow. Now, there’s a lot of interest. And of course, now around the country I have requests for oh, yeah, this is great. Can we use this story for a fundraising appeal? Or can we initially absolutely go for it? So it’s, it’s definitely built over time. But I had to show my colleagues that it was that it was worthwhile.
Dusty Rhodes 05:58
When you were starting it off, and you were approaching people to come on and to share their stories and things that have happened to them? What kind of reaction did you get from them?
Lana Mitchell 06:08
I look, a lot of them are quite apprehensive, by often jokingly talk about the fact that 95% of podcasters get an easy, because they do it in a city studio sitting opposite their whoever their talent or their person, and they’ve got their lattes, and chatting away about football or whatever it might be. And for me, it’s very different. Because the people I’m talking to are generally in very remote locations. So Internet access can be problematic. Just even schedules can be hard. So if I’m talking to a remote station, they’re often up at 4am. Or they’re out, you know, mustering or they’re, you know, so connectivity is hard connection is hard. Schedules are hard. So there’s a, there’s that, but then there’s another layer, and that is that I’m asking for them to tell a story that’s quite painful and often traumatic. And I do it in a way, which I hope is as tender and gentle as possible. But I’m trying to help them tell the story while not at the same time, causing them to re experience the anguish and the and the pain that they went through. When I go to find a story, I have to make sure that they’re even willing to share it. Or even still, were they even there were they conscious. So I’ve I’ve done interviews with some people where they were out from five minutes into the story. And so I actually have to piece the story together by getting them to tell the first part and then the trauma or the accidental the issue happens. And then another family member or friend tells the story moving forward and then pick it back up again when they come to in hospital. So it’s it’s a bit of a jigsaw sometimes. Those are truly my big challenges. And of course, some people are very fearful or are just worried about whether they can communicate it in a way that would communicate to a broader audience.
I’ll pop my head up and I’ll say karma, let’s go and he goes, Oh, there’s a shark. There’s a shark and we’d say plenty of sharks and we’d been swimming with plenty of sharks over the last couple of weeks for the Ningaloo Reef in Exmouth. And I put my head down and looked at it and saying a nice two meter bronze whaler swim casually past me two meters. That’s a fair size. Yeah, that was a decent sized shot, but I’ll put my hands up and sort of thumbs up and said, I might have thought that was a good one. And he turned around, he goes, nah, bit me. And I’m like, what, and then as you’re swimming friend started swimming frantically towards me. So I didn’t know what was going on at that stage. But I put my head under the water and and saying quite a lot of blood. And for holy, I’ve got to get my son in now. So I sort of grabbed him under one arm and been able to do freestyle with the other arm and I had to do what I could to get him in so God blink
Lana Mitchell 09:09
what was going through your head. I mean, I would just be freaking out if I was a parent and had had that happen.
Dusty Rhodes 09:17
What about the editing? Do you do the editing yourself?
Lana Mitchell 09:20
No, I don’t and I don’t do it because I don’t think I have the skill and I don’t also have the time or the headspace and so I have a wonderful editor at DM podcast and they edit it for me brilliantly and then upload it for me and then from there I tweaked the title and everything else and I monitor it and I and I do the marketing but the editing bit I decided very early on no I don’t need to be the jack of every single trade. Somebody else who’s better at this should do it.
Dusty Rhodes 09:53
So listen, tell me about you the you have the podcast and you’ve done your first couple of recording things, and you’re about to announce it to the world. How did you? How did you tell people about the podcast? Well,
Lana Mitchell 10:07
initially, I really didn’t do much at all I, at that time, I thought that it would just go out and would grow. And it did slowly, very slowly. And I think at first, the first six months, I was just trying to get my wits and my, I felt like I had training wheels as E training wheels, just trying to learn how to produce a decent podcast. And then once I started to have some in the bank, then I started to say, alright, let’s start marketing this. So within the Royal Flying Doctor Service we have because we have a huge footprint across the whole of Australia. We have several tourist centres. And those tourist centres, our newest one in Broken Hill is one in Darwin, there’s one in Alice Springs, and I get a huge number 1000s of people come and as they’re traveling around Australia, and so I got being pulled up banners made. And I got cards made. And I created a QR code that said, Have you heard our podcast, I have a lovely design team that I had designed a logo and artwork for it. And so we started just with Okay, let’s let’s market to the people that already come to us and already love us and will already be interested to know, they’ve already taken the time to come to a tourist center. So let’s give them something else they can listen to. And because they’re travelling around Australia in the caravan, or wherever they can download podcasts when they’ve got connectivity, and then they can listen to them for the hours that they’re driving in very remote Australia. So that was the initial way. And then we started through our website starting to build on that. And in recent times, we have actually created a map on our website. If you go to blind dr.org.au, which is our website, and just search podcast, there’s a podcast page, and it has an interactive map, which has a.on it for every single location of each podcast that we’ve recorded. And you can it’s a Google map, so you can actually click on it, and you can see what it looks like there. So it might be remote western Queensland, or it might be the Kimberley. Or it might be South Australian coast, or it might be Tasmania. So you can see what it looks like. And then you could just click on it, and you can listen to the podcast itself. And you can also then share it and of course using we use Omni and so using Omni we’re able to provide the podcast in a way that people can share it through socials or, you know, SMS or, or email or whatever. So I think that’s been the main way. And of course, as I’ve progressed, I’ve started to ask talents, though, the people I’ve interviewed to share the interview with friends and family. And so that has sort of started a bit of a groundswell to because I’ve now interviewed 60 people, and each one has their own network and their own local community. And they all want to hear the story and share it. And so each time I put out a podcast, it is sort of, you know, sort of builds that little wave.
Dusty Rhodes 13:10
What would you say to people who are starting off a podcast based on your own experience? Of they’re starting off? What what is that little wave and how does it grow?
Lana Mitchell 13:19
The Royal Flying Doctor Service is I don’t like the term, but we’re an iconic Australian charity. We’re known globally, we were voted the most reputable charity, most trusted brand charity, you know, so we’re very well known and loved in this country. But it’s a slow uptake. Because it’s a specific content, ours, I think most podcasts are quite niche. And ours is niche in that it’s about traumatic stories and about people and about the bush. And so people just say, I don’t want to hear about the car accident, or I don’t want to know about the man that fell in the boiling mud pool, or I don’t want to hear about the deadly jellyfish that bit that 14 year old. But I do think also that if you are starting a podcast, you need to have the long term vision, because you’re building an audience over time. And so I think it’s working out what is sustainable. Don’t try to put out something every day. You possibly don’t want to put out something every week, work out what sort of sequence can actually be sustained over time. And then just steadily build up your bank of podcasts. And as you progress, you’ll find you build it builds and builds and then your audience will refer and refer and refer and from there, it just builds an end it’s it really is just goodwill and and word of mouth that I think is the key thing. If your content is good, it will grow.
Dusty Rhodes 14:44
Still to come on the award winners podcast, we discover how Atlanta extended the value of the podcast using content across many platforms. What do you think’s helped the podcast win several awards? And a key piece of advice for anyone thinking of launching their Oh,
if you feel a brand podcasts work for you, here are three simple things you can do today to get started. One, visit our website to get more information and guides on how podcasts work specifically for brands, along with lots more examples of award winning brand 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 is.
Dusty Rhodes 15:41
Back to the Flying Doctors award winning podcast and their Head of Communications, Lana Mitchell. I asked him more about how he uses the podcast content across several platforms to promote the Flying Doctor Service, as well as the podcast.
Lana Mitchell 15:55
We are trying to take the podcast and embed it into what we already have. So as I said, we have the map on our podcast page. So the podcast becomes part of that map. We put up a story of that podcast each time a new podcast is released, we then take that story and promote it through our social channels. We have very broad social media reach. So we then promote it through there. We’ll get some real highlights and we’ll do some advertising in various locations. Never a huge spend, but just trying to reach new audiences tried to reach new people that maybe haven’t heard about it.
Dusty Rhodes 16:32
The podcast is a multi award winner. I like that. You can say that, again. The podcast is a multi award winner. What do you think has made it an award winning podcast?
Lana Mitchell 16:46
I think it’s just really unique. There’s nothing else really like it. We’re telling stories through a specific lens of you. So if you take the crocodile story, for example. So there was a man who was fishing up in the cape, which is very, very northern tip of Australia. And he was a ranger very experienced, and he had a wrangle with a crocodile. And his arm was de gloved, which basically means that the crocodile took all the skin off his arm from the elbow down gruesome, absolutely gruesome. And he managed to get away from the crocodile. And then because of the remoteness drove himself an hour to the closest civilization is is a very remote part of Australia. And from there, I was able to get a fellow ranger to help organize a Royal Flying Doctor Service flight, which then took another hour and a half drive. And this story was told through the eyes of the doctor who received the call saying we have. We have Craig here and he’s been he’s had a wrangle with a crocodile. He’s not in great shape, and we need help.
The crocodile had clamped its jaws around his arm and then taken all the skin and soft tissue. Very large gash on the left thigh from the groin down to the outer thigh
Lana Mitchell 18:10
to respond to the probe one. Lady Copic approach 1320 Hi, I’m Alana Mitchell from the Royal Flying Doctor Service. And this is a podcast series about mate ship, about life in the bush and about the role that the Royal Flying Doctor Service plays in servicing rural communities. This is the Flying Doctor podcast.
He had a degloving of his arm. His hand was like an anatomy lesson like there was vessels and bones and all sorts of things. It was like something out of sort of a haunted house.
Lana Mitchell 18:48
We’re traveling to another part of Australia. In today’s interview, another very remote and beautiful part of Australia, Cape York Peninsula. Katrina Starmer, a medical officer of the RFDS is going to be our guest, and she’s going to tell the story of an off duty wildlife Ranger named Craig Dyckman. 54 years old, he’d been fly fishing at Captain Billy landing when a 2.5 meter crocodile launched from the water and attacked his thigh. While trying to wrestle free from the crocodile. Craig was able to release himself by gouging the crocodile in the eye. He then drove himself for more than an hour to heathland station, where he called emergency services while being given first aid by another Ranger. Katrina, the medical officer for RFTs cans received the emergency call. So that’s where our story begins. Hi, Katrina. Hi, Lana. Before we dive further into the story of Craig, let me first ask you about the work you do for the RFDS
I started off doing retrievals and flying about the countryside to pick up people who are critically unwell and now have branched into doing clinics as well. So going out to small towns and running small GP clinics, which is also challenging
Lana Mitchell 20:01
So you’d be hard pressed to find a similar kind of story. So I think that’s, that’s part of the uniqueness. That’s part of what makes us different. Another example is I mentioned we have a deadly jellyfish. In Australia. It’s called the era kanji jellyfish. It lives in tropical waters, it’s a size of a thumbnail. It’s tiny, and it’s translucent. You can’t see it. And a young 14 year old was stung, it’s deadly, it’ll kill you. And the story is told initially through her voice, and then her mother takes over the story and tells it all the way through to when her daughter was in a Perth tertiary hospital. It’s it makes you cry. But it’s real. And so that’s the other thing that’s very different. I guess some some podcasts are a little bit cared to they’re a little bit you know, scripted. And almost like somebody has gone through and worked out what the story is in advance, whereas these really unfold as you go. And so I’ve never forgotten at the very end of that podcast story. The young 14 year old says to me, you know, I said, you know, how are you Have you Have you recovered after they go through this absolutely outrageous ordeal. And she says, are I as I said, CR asking, you know, do you go in the water anymore? Or are you like if I had been in your shoes, I would never go swimming again in the ocean. And she says I get I’m surfing again. And she said bad. You know the first time I went surfing again, after this whole accident had occurred. It took her about a year and a half to recover two years. She went surfing and she got stung by Blue Bottle jellyfish not not the deadly era kanji jellyfish. So but she laughed and she said, You know, I think I’m just jinxed. So it’s just real, a, there’s something. It’s, you know, when a child is telling you what they’ve been through and telling it from their perspective. It’s just yeah,
Dusty Rhodes 21:58
it made me laugh, the 10 year old who was bitten by the shark. And then at the end, the parents are going now he knows everything, there is no veg.
Now he’s probably go on to be a marine biologist. And
Dusty Rhodes 22:11
why did you get into marine biology? Well, funny, you should ask. Great story. Let me wrap up by asking, What advice would you have for marketers who are kind of thinking of a podcast and want to make an impact?
Lana Mitchell 22:26
I’d look for a niche, I’d look for something that’s not being done already. And would have an audience that would be interested to hear the tales. And from my perspective, I think that there’s so much more room for storytelling, because this world is made up of the most amazing people who have been through the most amazing things, and you just have to ask them about it. And they will tell you and so I think there’s huge opportunity more for storytelling. Yeah, that’s what I would suggest is focus on that. And you’ll find that’s easy.
Dusty Rhodes 22:57
Well, listen, thank you so much for telling us about your award winning podcasts, or multi award winning podcast I should say, you can listen to right now by searching for the Flying Doctors podcast on Apple podcasts, Spotify, or Google. Of course, I have a direct link in the show notes of this episode on your player right now for now, Lana, Thank you so much. Thanks, dusty. Of course if you’re considering a podcast for your company or brand, you will find some great resources on our website at dustpod.io You can arrange a call to chat with us about how a podcast could work for your brand specifically, or you could consider working with us. So you do the fun stuff. We do everything else. Until our next award winners podcast from myself Dusty Rhodes, thank you for listening.
The Award Winners is a DustPod production from dustpod.io