There’s one thing that the Covid-19 pandemic highlighted—people need accurate, timely information to make good health care decisions. That information must be packaged in a clear, digestible format. Otherwise, it will get lost in a sea of disinformation and clickbait.
Public relations for healthcare is a highly specialized industry. A dedicated healthcare PR agency understands the unique challenges that healthcare entails.
In this article, we look at the growing healthcare PR services industry. We talk about some industry-specific challenges and which PR tactics can be used to address those challenges.
Know Your Audience
Successful healthcare PR services begin with communicating the right message to the right audience. Crafting that message well requires knowledge of the industry and its diverse audiences. While direct consumers of healthcare, think patients, might be your primary audience, additional audiences, like physicians, are equally as important.
Your wider audience includes employees, community partners, industry insiders, health insurance providers, and media outlets. Both the content and the language of your communications need to be tailored specifically to these players. Provided with appropriately targeted material, these groups can become your allies in disseminating your market position to the fullest advantage.
For example, a media outlet is rooted in the business of reporting the news to a general audience. The right content in this case is genuine news about your company. A merger announcement would be one example, and the language should be business-oriented.
A health insurance provider caters to its own customers and potential new ones. Your communications and messaging should address that need. How can an insurance provider leverage your company’s offerings to grow its customer base?
Like all industries, healthcare has its own publications that go beyond the academic medical journals. For example, health and lifestyle magazines are a popular niche. A healthcare PR agency has relationships with writers and reporters and access to market research data that can help tell a story that resonates with their target readership.
A Multichannel Approach to Healthcare PR
As medical and healthcare research advances, so does technology. Traditional print and broadcast media — such as newspapers, TV, and radio — can still be effective platforms for your PR campaigns. Sending media outlets a standard press release is appropriate, but traditional outlets are no longer enough by themselves.
We’re assuming your company already has a website, but are you using it to its full potential? Your competitors likely have a healthcare PR firm that is busy building brand awareness for them and actively monitoring competitor backlinks. These efforts are directing traffic to your competitors’ websites.
Do you already have a social media presence? If not, you are missing out on an opportunity to reach and engage with a large part of your potential audience—especially if some of that audience consists of younger generations. Social media platforms are among the most popular places for digital advertisements, which is a great starting point to reach those audiences.
Perhaps a chatbot deserves a home on your website to allow visitors to communicate via text or text-to-speech. These are gaining popularity as a customer self-service tool where questions and answers form natural interaction. And, of course, your digital presence can be positively amplified with a blog and a YouTube channel.
Not all channels are digital, though. Healthcare is one of the main industries for holding conferences, seminars, and industry association meetings. Having a dedicated thought leader from your organization speak at these events is a sure way to help make your name more recognizable.
Building a Network of Relationships
A healthcare PR firm offers the right blend of market research, communications, and brand and reputation building. Any organization looking to benefit from brand awareness and recognition must include these elements in its strategies. This is not as simple as it sounds. It requires dedicated network building.
Platforms like LinkedIn are a great place to start. But the real influencers and thought leaders in any field operate more widely. One such influencer might post daily healthcare news and tips to TikTok. Check out chiropractor Jordan Estrada — he’s gone viral for posting exercises to relieve back pain with viral TikTok songs. Another might have millions of subscribers to a YouTube channel focusing on healthcare videos.
Thought leaders are established, industry experts. In healthcare, these will be people with deep knowledge and experience in the field. They might be medical researchers, doctors, or healthcare communications experts.
Already enjoying a large following, these influencers, and thought leaders will most likely have well-established relationships with outside marketing agencies. By taking the time to build relationships with them, your healthcare PR firm can open up their marketing relationships to your organization.
They might even be able to arrange an exclusive interview with an influencer or a thought leader. COVID-19 variants and potential vaccine booster shots are hot topics at the moment. Imagine having an exclusive on this topic front-and-center on your website.
Market Research-Based PR Tactics
Analytics drive a large part of today’s business operations. The simple advertisement is being replaced by targeted content marketing. Data-based market research is the key to making that content compelling and actionable.
A healthcare PR agency can manage a successful campaign from start to finish using a market research approach. Starting with metrics-based goals, such as percentage annual revenue growth, your PR partner can help identify where the greatest opportunities lie. PR professionals can then monitor each campaign’s success by gathering and analyzing detailed performance data.
You will know your key performance indicators (KPIs) every step along the way and you will be able to make fine-tuned adjustments in near real-time. Understanding how and why your customers behave is a major step toward achieving and maintaining your competitive advantage.
Bloom Communications is a full-service, award-winning PR agency operating from our Portland, Oregon, and Austin, Texas locations. For almost a decade, we have been helping U.S. and global healthcare and life sciences organizations share their brand stories.