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How To Build Credibility as a Healthcare Thought Leader

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The healthcare industry is crowded. COVID-19 sparked new advancements in science and technology and put healthcare developments at the forefront of everyone’s minds. Now, there are countless innovators trying to revolutionize the industry – in fact, the digital health market is expected to grow at an annual growth rate of 16.1% and reach over $780 billion by 2030. 

As a player in this ever-growing space, how can you cut through the noise, become well-known in the industry and demonstrate your expertise? Establishing yourself as a thought leader is an effective strategy, but it’s not an easy task and isn’t a shortcut. It takes years to build credibility, so the time to start is now. Here are my tips:


1. Build Connections Through LinkedIn

Strong connections with other thought leaders and reporters in the space are crucial, and LinkedIn is a prime tool to start those relationships. Connect with other healthcare leaders influencing the space and thoughtfully engage with their posts. You can also follow trending healthcare hashtags to see what others are posting and get involved in those conversations by responding with your thoughts on how the topic is impacting the industry.

Make sure to consistently post about industry news or trends and share articles that either support your point or make a counter argument against it. Look at this example where a health tech executive reshares Texas Pharmacy Association’s event and commends them for pushing PBM reform. Or this one from another health executive who posts an LA Times article and agrees with the author’s take. In each of these posts, the executives weren’t afraid to share their opinions about industry topics, leaving the door open for others to join the dialogue.

When it comes to reporters, engage with their articles and social posts, sharing your added insights and commentary. When you take the time to build relationships with reporters, they’ll be more apt to come to you as a subject matter expert when they need one.

We know 70% of consumers feel more connected to brands with CEOs who are active on social? But we also know maintaining an active, engaging social media presence can be exhausting, and frankly, you may not have time. Consider hiring a team to help you.


2. Comment on Trending News

You’re not the only executive hoping to get your name in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times or even healthcare trades like Modern Healthcare or STAT. It’s important to make yourself as useful to reporters as possible by following trending news and providing yourself as a source for those conversations. In healthcare, politics impact the direction of the industry, so many reporters write stories about the latest legislation. Providing comments when a new policy comes out is a good way to catch a reporter’s attention on a topic they’re likely interested in. For example, when the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee released framework for decreasing prescription drug prices, we conducted outreach for our client by sharing insights into what else the committee should be doing to help the cause. This resulted in our client’s spokesperson being quoted in Consumer Affairs.

Simply providing commentary on current news won’t always get you quoted. In fact, more often than not, if a reporter sees commentary that’s lacking a strong stance, they’ll skip right over it. Is everyone saying a new piece of healthcare legislation is good? Tell a reporter why it doesn’t go far enough and what more the legislation could include to make it better. Here’s an example of a contributed article we secured taking the stance that the health crisis in Black communities isn’t solely due to a lack of access to care, but rather, due in part to structural racism.


3. Tell a Story

Telling a compelling story is key to explaining complex issues, especially in the healthcare space, which relies heavily on patient experience. Think about how your brand can tell a story that’s not promotional. Remember: Thought leaders are built by discussing industry trends – not promotional company fodder.

Look at this example of how we used storytelling to help secure media placements for American Addiction Centers (AAC) and build credibility for its executives as thought leaders. AAC helps those struggling with addiction find support, resources and access to treatment. Instead of going to the media with information about why people should consider AAC, we helped the organization tell personal stories about addiction, mental health and sobriety. We crafted contributed articles on behalf of AAC experts featuring their experiences with addiction or treating those struggling. These stories were then placed in national, trade and regional publications, which positioned AAC spokespeople as thought leaders and industry experts, increased online conversations aimed at breaking the stigma behind addiction and drove over 3,000 users to the website, ultimately getting more Americans access to addiction treatment resources.

We know it can be difficult to come up with non-promotional, personal stories, especially as a leader who’s heavily involved in company messaging. That’s why it’s helpful to hire an external team who specializes in crafting stories to get your name into healthcare publications, increasing credibility and exposure in front of your target audience.


4. Leverage Speaking Opportunities

Securing speaking opportunities is part of a holistic approach to becoming a thought leader. If you don’t have much public speaking experience, a good place to start is by joining industry podcasts, which demonstrate your ability to speak eloquently and work out any speaking “kinks," setting you up for conference speaking success in the future. Once you’ve built your experience, you can start applying to be a speaker at industry events such as HLTH, ViVE or even SXSW.


Establishing yourself as a thought leader is a crucial step in growing your healthcare brand and increasing your industry credibility. If you’re ready to get started, reach out and we can help you boost your social presence, join media conversations, speak at industry events and ultimately, become a well-recognized thought leader in the healthcare industry.

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