At a glance
Client: Burnet Institute
4,047 listens in first week
Ranked in Top #100 podcasts
Ranked #2 science podcast on Apple
Heard in 82 countries
Featured in Apple Podcast’s New & Noteworthy
Featured in Apple Podcast’s Coronavirus category
Featured in Apple’s Podcast’s National Science Week category
Featured in The New Daily EDM
Featured in Podnews & Great Australian Pods
Featured in B&T
8,373 webpage views
8% increase in Twitter followers
Scope of work
Production / research / interviewing /copywriting / scripting/ editing / audio editing / audio engineering / distribution / strategic advice / marketing advice / design advice / media coverage / stakeholder management / project management
Format: Narrative style podcast series
Episodes: 8 episodes
Industry: Science, Health, Public Health
How Science Matters is a podcast series that demystifies the complexities of COVID-19, at a time when the world looked to science to solve the multifaceted problem of an unprecedented pandemic. Working with the Burnet Institute (a key adviser to the Australian Government and the global pandemic response), we took a deep dive into a narrative-style podcast series. Each episode showcased the organisation’s leading scientific experts to help shape the public understanding of the coronavirus and other infectious diseases.
The Burnet Institute is an Australian medical research institute on a mission to achieve better health for vulnerable communities worldwide through research, public health and international development programs.
As the pandemic took a firm grip, misinformation and miscommunication about COVID-19 spread as quickly as the virus. The Burnet Institute wanted to throw a spotlight on key scientific facts, while making this information relatable and digestible. The task was to rise above the noise of amateur commentators and amplify Burnet’s role in advocacy and thought leadership.
Recognising that the pandemic would continue to affect many lives for years to come, and given the fast-moving nature of the virus, the Burnet Institute wanted to focus on shared insights about key lessons learned.
Through the lens of the COVID-19 response, the emphasis needed to be on the impact of stigma, poverty, and equity when it comes to setbacks and breakthroughs in public health.
As Melbourne moved in and out of lockdowns with shifting COVID-19 restrictions, we worked around these severe constraints to tell the story of Burnet’s impact in the global response to COVID-19.
Kicking off with a detailed strategy session, we followed through with focused editorial guidance, to empower the nation’s leading scientific thinkers to forensically uncover what it takes to battle a deadly virus. Working closely with these experts, we established a clear narrative for the overall series and for each individual episode.
At every step of the way we considered the audiences’ fears and possible confusion about COVID-19, and thus shaped a series that focussed on the human need for hope. Tapping into some of the best minds in infectious diseases and highlighting their personal challenges, we helped make sense of a mutating virus that continues to create uncertainty worldwide. We delivered in-depth research, crisp scriptwriting, and high-quality production values with soundbites and music that brought the subject to life.
Each episode was also accompanied with a corresponding blog and transcript to aid discoverability through SEO as well as enabling accessibility.
Working with the marketing team we also shaped a pre-launch campaign by producing a titillating audio trailer and video tease designed for social media to build awareness and to get the community to subscribe to the series. As part of this, we came up with the promotional catchphrase: ‘We want this podcast to spread like a virus – but in a good way!’
We also forged partnerships with key media outlets, including The New Daily which featured the series on their site and weekly EDM, which was sent to more than 400,000 email subscribers.
To promote listens, we further worked with the marketing team to activate a strategic multi-channel marketing campaign. We also ensured the podcast was featured in Apple’s New & Noteworthy category, as well as its Coronavirus: Stay Informed category and National Science Week category.
In its first week of launch, How Science Matters featured in the Top #100 podcasts in the Apple’s charts and reached #2 in the Science category. In the English-speaking world, the podcast was heard across Australia, New Zealand, USA, UK, and Canada. However, listeners came from across 82 countries, including places like PNG and Myanmar.
In its first week of launch, the podcast reached over 4,000 listens and the series garnered over 19,900 downloads within two months. Six months after launch, the series was still gaining new listeners in February 2022, despite a general winding down of coronavirus focused conversations.
The series was immensely successful in strengthening and expanding the Burnet Institute brand. The podcast was responsible for almost 9,000 webpage views which took browsers to a dedicated landing page with the latest releases, links, and full transcripts – and nearly 1,500 of those were new website users. Similarly, social media engagement of the brand went up – Twitter followers alone went up by 48.8%.
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