These days, everyone seems to be an expert in something, especially when it comes to healthcare. Whether it’s unsolicited advice on child rearing (to swaddle or not to swaddle?) or the never-ending debate on getting the flu shot (just Googling it provides results on both sides of the fence), everyone has an opinion that is backed by a source they swear by.
So who are these omnipotent healthcare advisers? Are they credentialed, experienced healthcare professionals, or just someone looking for fame? Patients want to cut through the noise for an opinion they trust — a thought leader, not someone looking for attention.
A thought leader is someone with extensive experience, who is trusted by others in the industry as a source of expertise and has made an impact on their industry by offering innovation. And being a thought leader is a great way to reach your customers: 50 percent of marketers use content marketing for thought leadership and education, according to a B2B Benchmark study.
But becoming a healthcare thought leader doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, it takes years to cultivate this status. Here are four steps you can take to establish yourself as an effective thought leader in healthcare, which will enhance your healthcare content marketing strategy and will have patients and professionals looking to you for information.
With time and experience comes wisdom; after so many years in the healthcare industry, you are bound to develop a foundation of knowledge about what you do. Be confident when sharing this information and believe in yourself. If you don’t believe in yourself, why should anyone else? A.A. Milne’s Christopher Robin once said, “Always remember you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." Thought leaders radiate confidence that the knowledge they have to offer is accurate and worthy of others’ consideration.
Don’t be afraid to develop ideas in an imaginative way. Visionaries and thought leaders do not just jump on a bandwagon because everyone else is doing it. They will agree if the ideas are correct, but they are also not afraid to speak their mind when their findings deviate from the norm. As long as you can support your opinions with accurate facts, you should share them with the world.
An example of a doctor using his experience to raise awareness on healthcare issues and share knowledge is Dr. Kevin Pho, MD. Dr. Kevin, as he's known on his blog, provides insight on a wide variety of healthcare-related topics on his blog, Kevin's Take.
To position yourself as a thought leader, you need to make your ideas known. Create engaging healthcare content that is relevant and encourages conversations. But don't just write to have content out there — quality still trumps quantity. Inspire audiences with your latest innovations and offer your medical advice while opening the topic up to discussion. Be sure to always back your ideas up with facts and cite sources to give your peers credit for helping to influence your reasoning.
Establish a platform for yourself to write and share your ideas. A credible place to begin is LinkedIn, which is used by professionals as an outlet for discussion and idea sharing. Philips Healthcare's Innovations in Health forum uses LinkedIn to share their latest innovations and spark conversations about current health topics.
But it doesn’t stop at blogging: If you are offered the opportunity to be interviewed by the media, go for it. Publish a book or speak at an event. Get your name out there and promote yourself and your ideas.
Patients are looking for the best place to receive care, from the best doctors in their field. Doctors are looking for remarkable places to share their talents and help those in need. When choosing a healthcare facility, whether it’s for treatment or for work, people want to know it is the best quality and has the latest technologies.
Thought leaders use their expertise to push boundaries and embrace change. Stakes are high in healthcare and competition is fierce. Positioning your healthcare facility as a thought leader and using this as part of your content marketing strategy can help you stand out and attract the best talent and improvements. With healthcare’s constantly changing landscape, it is important to promote your organization’s efforts toward new and innovative procedures and their successes. Highlight the groundbreaking procedures happening at your facility to provide examples of how your organization is cutting edge, whether it’s a new treatment technique or a new approach to existing treatment.
Each year, the Cleveland Clinic creates a list of the Top 10 most powerful medical innovations to be unveiled in the coming year. Listed in order of importance, this list includes life-saving and life-changing developments and improvements.
Whether it’s patient testimonials or feedback on Facebook, people are talking about your healthcare organization, so be part of that conversation. Increase your strategic visibility within your community—online or within your geographical location—by communicating with those who are interested in your ideas.
As a thought leader, you will not only have the power to persuade others and influence their actions by your words and ideas, your status and authority will have the power to bring about meaningful change.
Being a thought leader in the healthcare industry requires time, effort, lots of knowledge and the desire to impact change. If you have the level of expertise and the will to work at positioning yourself in this light, you can become a source of choice. Promote your new methods and research to help patients be confident you will take care of them and are the right place for treatment. Motivate other healthcare professionals to express their ideas and support the progress needed to treat and cure patients.