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Does It Matter If A Podcast Guest Has Paid to Play?

The consensus from the HITMC community is that it doesn’t matter if a guest on a podcast has paid to be there IF they are personable, provide value information and are entertaining to listen to. However, if the guest-who-paid is merely pitching their company then expect to be tuned out.

A week ago, the HITMC community gathered for the monthly #HITMC tweetchat. Joy Rios, author, Co-Founder of Chirpy Bird Health IT Consulting and Co-Host of the HIT Like a Girl podcast led the discussion on the topic of podcasts. You can read more about the chat here.

One question was particularly fascinating: T4 Does it matter to you if a podcast guest has “paid to play” Why or Why not?

In general, the community was ambivalent on whether a podcast guest paid to be on the program or were asked by the hosts. It was far more important that the guest be engaging, energetic and informative. Above all, no one wanted to listen to a sales pitch disguising itself as a podcast – which could happen regardless of whether someone paid to be there or not.

One of the comments on the “Yes it does matter” side came from Robin Roberts @RRobertseHealth, the Co-Host of HIT Like a Girl podcast. In her opinion, a guest that pays to be on a podcast will be more measured in their responses and more likely to tow the company line rather than offer candid answers. It’s not hard to imagine this to be the case where there is an overzealous PR team or corporate branding team involved.

During the #HITMC chat, Matt DiVenere @Matt_DiV brought up a very important point about disclosure. As a listener he wanted it to be obvious that the guest had paid to be on the podcast. It “doesn’t have to be slap-you-in-the-face obvious, but the podcast should address it”.

I agree with DiVenere. Podcast hosts need to be transparent, otherwise they risk alienating their audience. If a guest has paid, then a simple statement at the beginning of the podcast like: “this episode is sponsored by Company X and today on the program we have Person B from Company X as a guest” would suffice in my mind.

Once that is out of the way, the podcast host(s) and guest can focus on being energetic and engaging, which is far more important.

About the author

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Colin Hung

Colin Hung is an award-winning Marketing Executive with more than 15yrs of healthcare and HealthIT experience. He co-founded one of the most popular healthcare chats on Twitter, #hcldr and he has been recognized as one of the “Top 50 Healthcare IT Influencers”. Colin’s work has been published in the Journal of the American College of Radiology, American Society for Healthcare Risk Managers, and Infection Control Today. He writes regularly for Healthcare Scene and here at HITMC.com. Colin is a member of #pinksock #TheWalkingGallery and is proudly HITMC. His Twitter handle is: @Colin_Hung.

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