How Do You Become a Thought Leader? It’s Not by Accident

Better, relevant, experienced, valuable. This is how patients, customers, and decision makers with purchasing power view organizations that use thought leadership effectively. Whether their subject matter experts are relaying health information in a magazine, opining about an industry forecast on a podcast or they’re included on a top ten list, organizations that position themselves as industry leaders have invested in positive perception.

When media come to rely on your organization and its experts, you build trust and professional credibility — critical drivers of customer attraction and brand loyalty. This is particularly important in health care: an industry in which expertise is highly rewarded and accreditation is almost always expected. When trust, expertise and credibility align, organizations (and their representative experts) are well positioned to:

  • Engage potential referrers, patients and customers
  • Influence investors, bondholders and strategic partners
  • Support sales, marketing and business development efforts
  • Enhance, protect (and even repair) organizational reputation
  • Attract game-changing talent

Our clients have experienced these results firsthand. Whether through a highly targeted strategy designed to support business development efforts or a multifaceted media push to build awareness around clinical achievements, we’ve developed high-impact, customized thought leadership strategies to distinguish their brands and strengthen connections with key stakeholders.

Building a thought leadership strategy

The household health care brands of the world have achieved widespread name recognition thanks in part to robust thought leadership efforts. Beyond the products they produce and services they provide, today’s leading-edge health care companies invest in educating patients and customers and communicating with them through content. But they didn’t get there overnight. They allocated resources, built trust, and earned credibility and market share over time and via multiple channels.

No two thought leadership programs look exactly alike, but all of them begin with a solid strategy. Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you get started.

Understand your audience

You may know your audience on a basic level, but when you dig a little deeper, you’ll uncover data that will help to inform future thought leadership. For example, where and how do your customers or patients consume health care content? Do they engage on social media or message boards? Do they prefer podcasts to written content, or vice versa? Meet your audience where they are and you’ll encounter fewer obstacles to getting your message in front of the right eyes and ears.

By gaining deeper knowledge of your audience, you’ll also be able to anticipate their needs. Thought leadership content should answer your customers’ burning questions, and that requires insight into their biggest struggles and challenges. Providing answers solidifies your standing as a useful brand on which they can rely and from which they can learn.

Use data, original research and existing content to your advantage

Some organizations think they need to start from scratch, when in fact they have a trove of viable content ready to be positioned (or repositioned) as thought leadership. Even a single piece of content can be used in multiple different ways. A whitepaper, for instance, can be fodder for a blog post, which you might then reposition into an infographic or social media content. As long as the core story is compelling, it can take several shapes.

You can also use your organization’s data or original research to gain audience attention and media coverage. Across the board, thought leadership that contains data, and especially original research, has a stronger impact: 82% of people would rather read an article based on data than the author’s opinion, and 72% think data-backed research is more persuasive.

Find a partner who can amplify your efforts

Like most communications or marketing initiatives, thought leadership isn’t a short-term play—it is time-intensive and relationship-dependent. To break through the noise and digital glut of information, your organization needs to have the content and a means to get it in front of the right audience. A thought leadership partner who’s spent years making inroads with reporters and industry organizations can help create a meaningful thought leadership strategy and secure high-impact media coverage when and where it matters most. They can also ensure you’re using the right digital platforms and social channels to amplify your message across the marketplace.

For information about how Lovell can help your health care organization craft and distribute its message, reach out to