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Healthcare

It IS What You Say, AND How You Say It: Four Tips for Providers Communicating With Male Patients

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Men Facing Their Fears

It’s the gender twist to the old saying “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.”

When it comes to health, men* often are cast in the role of the horse, with “water” being played by any of the health care providers he needs to see when “dehydration” (illness or injury) sets in.

I recently had my own experience with this when my husband was diagnosed with ehrlichiosis and anaplasmosis. He spent three miserable days with a fever, chills and fatigue before he even considered calling the doctor. It was the classic and highly caricaturized “man-healthcare” scenario, with excuses including:

  • “I’m fine” (because real men don’t ask for help)
  • “I’m too busy” (Because men believe they don’t the time to take care of the problem)
  • “I’ve got too much on my plate” (Because men believe that ANYTHING outside the hospital or clinic is more important)

Once all of my husband’s “yeah, buts” were addressed, thankfully, he went to see the doctor. He received the treatment he needed and is on the road to recovery. But the difficulty in getting…

Healthcare

The Power of Brand Journalism

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Being an influential communicator in today’s ever-evolving media landscape can be challenging. So how can we as communicators continue to connect and engage with consumers?  Brand journalism and content marketing have exploded in recent years, making today’s communicators indispensable.

skills-4Earlier this week, I attended Ragan’s Health Care PR & Communications Summit. The pre-conference workshop, hosted by Mark Ragan, focused on brand journalism for corporate communications and how organizations are using it to connect with consumers, enhance media coverage and engage employees. Throughout the workshop, we discussed building content platforms and developing internal editorial processes, as well as how to engage consumers in your stories.

We took a deeper dive into brand journalism and the new role of the communicator from developing content strategies to turning employees and customers into brand ambassadors. Below are a few takeaways from the workshop and the role brand journalism plays in an organization.

Become the media versus asking the media to write your stories. It’s no secret the newsrooms are shrinking and journalists are becoming more strapped for time. But our stories still need to be shared. To ensure this, communicators need to develop a content strategy and write

Branding

Is There Really Such a Thing as Thought Leadership?

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The Thinker

While “thought leadership” is not a new phrase or concept, it’s certainly en vogue right now. In fact, thought leadership is one of the most frequent asks in the Requests for Proposal that cross my desk. And the interesting thing I’ve learned from talking to these companies is that there are different definitions of what it is; different expectations about what it looks like; and, different beliefs about what it can accomplish.

As recent headlines and sound bites have featured fallen thought leaders, rising thought leaders and those who only think they are thought leaders (you know who you are), I thought I’d offer my perspective on the topic and a few tips for using thought leadership as an effective strategy for your personal or corporate brand.

Defining thought leadership

While there are several acceptable ways to define thought leadership, I define it as an earned outcome of a purposeful, integrated communications strategy. Key ingredients include passion, relevant experience, meaningful content, and a point of view. Thought leadership can apply to an individual brand such as Warren Buffet, a regular go-to on financial matters, or it can apply to organizational…

Healthcare

How to Land Your First Healthcare PR Job

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When I began my current job, it was not only the start of my public relations career, but it was my first job having anything to do with healthcare. I had absolutely zero experience in health and that’s not always easy in an industry as intimidating as healthcare. Politics kept me interested and involved in healthcare policy, but I was fine with being a spectator on the bench. To actually be involved in the business was a whole other game, and not one that I was sure I knew how to play.

However, in a matter of months, I already feel like I’ve gained a second education from being exposed to a variety of health client work. And while the road can be rocky at times, I’ve condensed some of the things I learned along the way into four points that can benefit anyone who is looking to get their foot in the door of healthcare PR.

1.  It’s okay to not know 

I still find this to be true every single day that I come to work. The fact of the matter is that most PR professionals in the health industry are PR professionals first. While some may have

Healthcare

What Does Chewbacca Mom Have to Do With Your Hospital? 4 Tips for Creating Successful Video Content

Chewbacca Mom
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Are you one of the nearly 150 million people that have viewed the Chewbacca Mom video? Last Thursday, Texas mom Candace Payne went to Kohl’s to return some clothing. She left with a Chewbacca mask and was so delighted that she decided to post to Facebook Live, the livestreaming function launched by Facebook last August. The video went viral and the rest is history.

What was so compelling about the video and what does it have to do with your hospital? Fresh off this week’s Healthcare Marketing and Physician Strategies Summit (HMPSS) in Chicago, I couldn’t help but start linking some of my new learnings together with lessons from the success of the Chewbacca Mom video. Inspired by these findings, below are my top four tips for hospitals to develop successful video content:

1) Meet an Emotional Need Healthcare is emotional – it’s life and death. People’s lives are transformed. The Chewbacca Mom video wasn’t emotional…or was it? Payne told Good Morning America, “I had one lady message me and tell me that she has an autistic daughter that hadn’t laughed in two months and she said every time she showed her that video she laughed and

Healthcare

2016 Presidential Candidates on Healthcare

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When it comes to politics, you could call me a-political. If faced with a choice between donkeys or elephants, I’d likely go with a giraffe. That’s not to say I’m not interested in politics, but my work in PR means I understand the behind-the-scenes message and perception crafting which inherently makes me more suspicious. And I’ll admit, I don’t take the time to weed through all of the information on each candidate’s true position, so I don’t always feel informed enough to have an educated opinion.2016 candidates

But because I work in healthcare, which is a major topic in the political landscape – at least in between the mudslinging – I do believe it’s important that I understand where candidates stand on these issues so I know how a decision could affect my clients (and me as a potential patient/consumer). So as we move toward conventions, I’m wading through the muck and sharing my findings with you. Here’s a very basic overview of where the candidates stand on a number of hot topics in healthcare:

Obamacare/Healthcare Reform

  • Clinton: Doesn’t think the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is perfect but does believe it is

Healthcare

May Means Hope for Stroke Survivors

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My childhood memories of Grandma fall into two categories: before stroke, and after stroke.

Before stroke, I remember her soft hugs and constant laughter and how she always smelled of delicious baked goods from her kitchen. After stroke, I remember her wheelchair, the antiseptic smell of the nursing home, and how the stroke permanently robbed her of her ability to hug, speak and laugh.

That was in 1971. This Stroke Awareness Month, I was surprised to learn that while 80 percent of strokes can be prevented with the management of key risk factors like high blood pressure and by living a healthy lifestyle, there is still an enormous gap in treatment options for stroke once it does occur. Ischemic strokes – the most common kind resulting from a blockage in a vessel supplying blood to the brain – must be treated with clot-busting drugs within the first three to four hours to improve the survivor’s chances for recovery. Endovascular procedures to remove the clot are also an option, but they must be performed within six hours of the stroke event, and only after the clot-busting drugs have been administered.

Unfortunately, according to the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine, less than

Healthcare

Think Big and Act Bold: Words from an Innovative Leader

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Steve Jobs once said “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and follower.”
2016-Forum-Innovation-Mock

Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of attending the Women’s Health Leadership TRUST Forum where the topic was innovation in healthcare. The annual event celebrates hundreds of women in the Twin Cities healthcare community, and recognizes pioneers and leaders in health innovation—both in Minnesota and around the globe.

A highlight of the evening was listening to the keynote address given by Cindy Kent, president and general manager of 3M Drug Delivery Systems. Cindy addressed the audience with her remarks on innovative leadership and categorized the attributes of an innovative leader with three words: being, thinking and doing.

SFullSizeRendero how does an innovative leader be, think and do? Cindy shared her inspirational thoughts:

Confident, authentic and accountable. Building confidence is critical when it comes to being a leader. Cindy spoke to a concept called “The Confidence Gap.” According to The Atlantic, “evidence shows that women are less self-assured than men—and to succeed, confidence matters as much as competence.”

Innovative leaders are authentic and accountable. Being a genuine person will let those…

Healthcare

Healthcare and the Economics of Innovation

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In a 2011 Harvard Business Review article author, Uri Neren (@urineren), postulates that the single greatest factor required for successful innovation is scarcity. In fact, organizational processes have been developed to mimic scarcity and foster innovation including Systematic Inventive Thinking and the “Productivity” method. And, all this time I thought necessity was the mother of invention – turns out it’s the evil step-mother scarcity.

In healthcare, innovation is the new queen. But in healthcare, scarcity is not a generalized state but rather its financial scarcity as seen in dwindling reimbursements, growing healthcare needs and their associated costs, and health care reform implications. There are plenty of patients and an increasing number of CPT codes but the dollars available to treat these consumers does appear to be finite.

In the not-so-distant future we may all actually be treated by a personalized healthcare companion like Baymax from the movie Big Hero 6.  (As long as my Baymax can fly so that I can avoid stressful traffic jams, I’m down with this idea. Until then, I will refer to one of the websites designed to reduce stress that my colleague,…

Healthcare

Pulse Check on Social Media Strategies and Trends

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Yesterday, I attended the PR News Social Media Strategies + Tactics Workshop at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., to brush up on the latest trends and best practices for communicators using Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (plus a little Snapchat and blogger chatter for good measure). What did I learn from our brilliant – and very funny – presenters throughout the day?Online-Content-So-Hot-Right-NowSome things haven’t changed: Content is still king. Or rather, engaging content is king. What does “engaging” mean for social? As Kelley McLees (@KelleyMcLees) of Everywhere Agency explained, engaging content is visual, shareable, conversational and relevant to your audience. Everything you create should come back to what your audience cares about. This can be easy to forget as we create content that we think is cool, but keeping your audience in mind remains the number one rule of successful communications.

Video can be your best friend – and does not need to be complicated: Over the last six months, the time that people spent watching videos on Instagram increased by more than 40 percent and, soon, we will all be able to record and publish 60-second videos