The most powerful influence groups are the long-established non-profit associations such as the American Cancer Society and the AMA. Providers follow treatment recommendations published by these groups and payers support them. The value of their endorsement is priceless but hard earned. For example, in 2016, the AMA adopted ethical guidelines that have boosted the fast growing niche of telemedicine, increasing adoption from the big payers.
“The AMA’s resolution adds key guidance for physicians who were on the fence so far. It describes the professional ethics that, if followed, will allow safe healthcare to be extended via technology.” – Roy Schoenberg, CEO, American Well
Every niche has its predominant trade organization. These groups offer two forums for influence marketing.
— Guest publishing on industry trade sites and publications can be earned. The most respected trade organizations want quality content to attract industry engagement. But most trade organizations are for-profits — they sell as much promoted content as they share earned media. A pay-to-publish sponsorship may be worth considering.
—Conferences are run the same way. Some high-profile thought leaders may be invited to speak, but the majority of sessions are paid for by the presenter and usually bundled with booth space, promoted content and additional conference advertising space.
Content marketing is a system for generating and nurturing leads online by publishing and promoting content (not advertising) that gives value to your niche members. Content can be gleaned from your influencers and experts but should be filtered through a firm experienced in this very specialized type of influence marketing.
70% of internet users want to learn about products through content rather than through traditional internet advertising
For the healthcare IT niche, online marketplaces may be the key to extending reach. Marketplaces like the Apple Store’s medical section sells consumer apps like Ovia Pregnancy & Baby Tracker as well as tools for medical professionals such as NurseGrid Calendar for Nurses. Additionally, big players in healthcare IT are eagerly aggregating fully-integrated third party apps to add to their healthcare platforms like the Salesforce Health Cloud. These platforms can be a boon to a healthcare IT startup since they can receive the benefit of access to the platform’s existing customers, backed by a large sales and marketing machine.
Health forums connect patients with peers, clinical professionals, nonprofits, medical researchers, and healthcare companies. Many forums allow for direct contributions to community conversations, message boards and content, as well as paid partnerships and content promotions. Some sites such as PatientsLikeMe.com go even further, allowing partners to utilize user-generated treatment data for studies and initiatives.
Provider Social Media
Your CMO and product champions may not be avid tweeters. That’s OK. You can retain a firm experienced in healthcare social media to ghost-write social media for your experts. A good firm will spend the time to thoroughly understand the subject and obtain approval on long-form content like blog posts and whitepapers. Once approved, they will tease the insights from this content on social media with minimal intrusion on your experts’ time.
LinkedIn and Twitter will be the best platform to reach providers. LinkedIn Pulse can be an effective publishing platform for the high-profile brand champion. Medium.com is another social publishing platform that has a growing audience of healthcare influencers. Both are free, open platforms.