There is almost always going to be another company that is more innovative, taking a new approach or has more acquisitions.
In other words, sometimes a client just isn’t worthy of the news that they so badly want to be a part of.
The healthcare industry is unique in that it is simultaneously at the cutting-edge of science, yet woefully behind other industries like retail and finance.
For example, big data. Market researchers use big data to predict how a consumer will act based on factors like demographic information, income, previous purchases, voting habits and internet usage. Retail, finance and even the food and beverage industries have been analyzing big data for years to target and influence consumers to perform certain behaviors. Whether it’s purchasing a new pair of shoes, getting a new credit card or eating that questionable steak, big data informs companies that you’ll do it, because consumers like you did it, too.
Not surprisingly, healthcare is finally working its way into the big data conversation. The potential applications are interesting, exciting, and even more importantly, impactful. But how do you get a tech reporter to cover your client when he’s already written about the myriad ways that big data has been used in other industries?
Before you devote countless hours entering a saturated conversation, here are three important steps.
1) Manage your client’s expectations. Make sure your client understands that even though their industry is just breaking into a new area or beginning to utilize an advanced function, other industries have already been doing so. You’ll have success pitching if you stay within your client’s industry. Understand what their idea of success is, but let them know that their chances of getting into The New York Times are slim… for now.
2) Be specific, relevant and timely. Staying within your client’s industry usually means targeting the trades, so your pitch should be as specific as possible with supporting data points that are relevant to those industry readers.
For example, saying that your client is using big data to obtain actionable insights isn’t enough. Not only is that how every company uses big data, plenty of healthcare companies are using big data this way. Instead, explain that your client is using big data to determine which patients are more likely to adhere to medications, how the industry could leverage this information to impact overall adherence rates and the financial implications that improved adherence would have for providers, payers and consumers. There’s a story.
Also, take advantage of any timely opportunities. Was there a breakthrough that your client could speak to? Could a reporter have approached a story from a different angle? Find creative ways to insert your client’s voice into the conversation when appropriate.
3) Be a thought leader. Thought leadership and offering subject matter experts are the most effective ways to get your client into an otherwise crowded conversation.
A thought leadership program provides a great way to publicize the company without tying it to specific news. A client’s spokesperson can speculate on trends, predictions, challenges, opportunities and other relevant angles. The more differentiating and contrarian the viewpoint, the more likely that reporters will be interested in running it. That being said, the spokesperson should be well-prepared to defend their perspective, if necessary.
We can counsel all we want, but sometimes the client wants that top-tier hit no matter what. Keep an eye on that key publication to get a sense of the angles they usually cover, where the gaps are and see how your client could fit into it. There’s a good chance you won’t have initial success, but follow up with those targets to see what you could do to make the story more enticing.
With the help of these tips, you can make sure that you and your innovative, interesting client are aligned when it comes to entering a crowded conversation. By setting expectations from the start, agreeing on targets and developing a differentiating perspective, you can help your clients score the coverage, even when the topic has been handed down from other industries.
Senior Account Executive