The concept of “value” is something that is very much top of mind right now in the healthcare industry. Many of our clients are trying to define, express and establish their value proposition with prospects and key stakeholders. Many are trying to answer whether or not they are ready for the impending shift to value-based care. All this rumination about value inspired us to give some thought to our own value, as healthcare-focused PR practitioners, and the overall value of PR in healthcare.
At the most basic level, our value to healthcare organizations is defined by our ability to illuminate their organizational significance and differentiators to key stakeholders, and the industry at large. More specifically, what we offer boils down to the amount of quality coverage and or content we can help to generate around the themes that matter most to you. While quantity is important, quality is also key. Our role as communication specialists is to deliver results that map back to our clients’ business goals and help to achieve them. Today, the power of healthcare PR can help organizations cut through the densely populated and extremely competitive space, and improve the bottom line.
As anyone reading this likely knows, healthcare is in a constant state of flux. Whether hospital, health network, technology vendor, insurer, retailer or patient, the longstanding “roles” of healthcare organizations and individuals are evolving and the lines are blurring at a rapid rate. While continued change is all but certain, many questions remain regarding the future of healthcare. The shifting sands make it more important than ever to plant your brand flag and establish your organization’s value in a clear, concise and differentiated way. Enter public relations – but not just any public relations.
If you are thinking about upping your PR game and working with an agency partner, here are a few things you should keep top of mind to ensure you get the greatest value for your investment:
1. Trust is everything
Not only is it imperative for you to put trust in your PR team to do the job you’re putting in front of them, but trust them as your partner and an extension of your team. At Matter, we strive to immerse our healthcare teams into our clients’ respective industries. Supporting a diverse portfolio of healthcare clients requires and results in a deep knowledge of the industry as a whole. This helps us to clearly understand where your organization fits in the jigsaw puzzle that is healthcare. We work diligently to learn not only what your company is offering customers but how your company works, its culture and the talent behind the products and or services. It’s important to make sure your agency team is a trusted extension of your internal communications, marketing and leadership group.
2. Depth of knowledge and media savvy
The healthcare field is extremely crowded and competitive. Without the right strategy and support, it is very easy to spin your wheels and get lost in the crowd. One of the best ways to break through the noise is by working with respected media and industry influencers. Partnering with a PR agency can help your organization build its reputation by demonstrating subject matter expertise, bringing new compelling ideas to events, shaping industry narrative and showcasing your company as a thought leader. It is all about making the right relationships and telling the right stories to the right people. Because we are deep in healthcare, we are well equipped to propose and explore a bevy of trends and media relationships to identify the stories that will resonate with the media that matters most to you and your stakeholders.
3. Measure what matters
If done correctly, PR can help drive traffic to your website and ultimately assist with your businesses’ financial success. It can help with direct lead generation, partnerships, fundraising, crisis and any number of things tied to public perception and awareness. When working with an agency, there needs to be a very clear and shared understanding of the overarching goals or value that you hope to achieve. There is an old stigmatism that PR is not measurable and, while it’s not always black and white, we have tools put into place that allow us to measure our success as a team and how it is impacting your business. At the end of the day, we want to get you in front of the right audience to impact the key performance indicators that are most important to your organization.
4. A trusted and proactive advisor
By choosing the right PR agency, you are not only choosing a partner and extension of your team but a trusted advisor. This means communications should be two-way. While you will often take the onus of telling your agency what to do, the right partner should also be willing to proactively suggest timely communications and strategies based on what they are seeing in the market. This is particularly important in healthcare, where there are so many evolving rules and regulations. Your agency should be constantly learning and tracking shifts in the industry and proactively flagging news of consequence and or value to your organization. Regardless of the situation – whether it’s a crisis, expansion, acquisition, etc., — your PR agency should be ready to assist in any scenario by providing sound messaging and advice based on the latest happenings in the industry.
As we continue to contemplate “value” in healthcare, public relations will continue to play an essential role helping healthcare organizations maintain a positive and innovative reputation. While every industry can undoubtedly benefit from a strong PR program and or partner, the stakes seem particularly high in healthcare right now. When looking for the right PR partner for your healthcare organization, make sure they know and are passionate about your industry and organization. Ask yourself if you trust their guidance and depth of knowledge, and make sure they are accountable to the measures that are most important to the success of your brand.
If you are giving any thought to your PR program in 2018, you should definitely check out some of Matter’s other healthcare specific posts like “Health Tech Influencers Worth Watching.”
Interested in learning more about Matter’s healthcare practice and how we may be able to assist your business? Contact us today.