No company starts as a thought leader within their industry. Rather, their reputation as a forward thinking industry leader is built through time, effort and commitment to learning and sharing knowledge that helps move their field forward . In this blog post, we will be taking a look at how you can build your healthcare organization’s reputation as a thought leader in the medical industry.Create Readily Available Online Content
Thought leadership is more than just being an expert in your field. It’s also about creating value for both your patients and other medical professionals with educational, helpful content. Strong thought leadership is based in a unique point of view and a progressive, proactive approach to improving as a professional, and as an organization, in the name of better service to your patients and audience at large. There is no better place to put your thoughts and expertise than online. So, what are some ways to turn your expertise into online content?
- Write blog posts that focus on what your experts do best. For your health organization, showcase what sets you apart from your competition. This could be announcing that one of your expert doctors has won an award for their approach to patient safety, the installment of the latest technology in your operating room, or a medical approach that is unique to your staff and proven to be a viable option for potential patients.
- Participate in a webinar, or (if time permits) create your own. A thought leader doesn’t keep their knowledge to themselves; consider participating or creating an informative webinar. A webinar offers you the chance to reach a large number of people virtually, offering informative content tailored to the audience's needs. For example, if you are speaking to a group of community members or potential patients, you'll want to make sure your information is accessible, understandable and actionable to them.
- Share relevant outside expert content. A thought leader, while wanting to be the best, will always be able to acknowledge a breakthrough in the medical field by other experts. While most of your information should be original content from your organization, never hesitate to share other articles and videos that are relevant to your audience. Being a thought leader isn’t just about what you already know, but demonstrating your continued investment in educating yourself on the changes in your field.
One of the more time consuming options in practicing thought leadership is finding opportunities to present your organization's forward-thinking approaches, latest technology and newly developed practices. The key benefit of a presentation is being able to interact with your audience directly via questions and making personal connections. In the medical field, any expert is the main star, and anyone within your staff who is at the front of the pack for their research is worthy of getting an opportunity to share what they know. Even janitorial staff for the healthcare industries have speaking opportunities, and why shouldn’t they? Hospital sanitation is a topic that requires constant education and innovation.
Presentations are a means of further spreading your unique practices and research to potential patients or others in the industry. Speaking at a well-regarded industry conference can position your company as a thought leader to anyone in the audience. Consider the example of a doctor who focuses on developmental training for those with autism and has recently discovered an auditory method to help students succeed in the classroom. Providing your expert with the time to speak at a community Autism Awareness Relay or at a conference for medical professionals focused on autism can help build your organization’s reputation as a leader in Autism practices amongst patients and/or other experts.
Public Relations and Publications
'Thought leader' is a title that needs to be earned. Leveraging community news sources is one way of building that reputation amongst your community. Whether it’s via newspapers or news channels, there are options for you to show off your expertise to potential local patients.
- Did you win an award, attend a conference, hire a new expert? Press release! Besides sharing your accomplishments online, send out press releases to promote news that might help boost your reputation as a thought leader. Your community is filled with potential patients who are contemplating choosing you or your competitors. If you recently hired an expert in prenatal practices and a recently pregnant woman reads your press release in the paper, she may feel that pull towards choosing you over your competitors.
- Are you an expert on your community's health issues? Consider an article or news segment. If you are aware of some of the health issues affecting members of your community, find ways to speak about it by writing for a well-respected local newspaper or pitching a spot to a local news channel. For example, a community with kids' football teams may want to hear from experts with knowledge about the risks of concussions on young football players, especially with the recent link to C.T.E.
- Support local, relevant events. While sponsorships are a great way to promote your brand, they can also be an opportunity to identify yourself as a thought leader. Whether it’s promotion through a community health challenge or school sporting events, make your presence known as a health resource. For example, a physical therapy organization might want to donate exercise bands to local school teams along with advice on the latest stretches for preventing common sport injuries.
Trade Shows and Conferences
Staying up to date with the latest research, practices, and technology sometimes means attending trade shows or conferences. Your involvement can range from attending to tabling to presenting. Participation in any form is an opportunity to showcase that you are an active thought leader, and that you are there to learn more or to showcase what your organization has been doing to advance your field. These events are particularly useful for building professional connections with other experts. Based on what your budget allows, your efforts could involve purchasing a tabling spot, promoting your latest research and discoveries, or purchasing a ticket to the event and aiming to create some new relationships.
These opportunities can be expensive, so look for events that are very relevant to your work. Try to attend one or two a year and make the most of it. After all, these are golden moments to spread word of what you are doing to make a difference in your field, and to receive recognition and support. The more your experts connect with other attendees, are vocal through asking questions or giving their own presentations, and active in showcasing their knowledge and your organization’s name, the more your company’s reputation will flourish.
Becoming a thought leader doesn’t happen in a day or even a few months, but rather, over many years. And while getting started may seem like an uphill battle, the rewards of reaching the top (including an increase of industry experts that want to work for you, recognition in the forms of awards and publications, and a rise in new patients and overall patient satisfaction) are worth it. Choose the options that work best for your team, and start with those. As you grow, continue to include more of these practices in your thought leadership strategy.
Wondering how your company can successfully market itself as a thought leader? Request a free brand consultation and we'll help you get started.