The digital explosion has impacted industries everywhere, including healthcare, and it shows no signs of slowing down.
According to Grand View Research, the global digital health market size was valued at $211 billion in 2022 and is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 18.6 percent from 2023 to 2030. The firm also notes that “increasing penetration of smartphones, improved Internet connectivity with the introduction of 4G/5G, advancement in healthcare IT infrastructure, rising need to curb healthcare costs and the increase in accessibility of virtual care all helped fuel the market growth.”
As the healthcare tech sector’s digital growth trajectory continues to rise, so does competition in the sector. Every company is vying for the same awareness from the same outlets, which can make standing out in a crowded media landscape more challenging. But as the saying goes, “only the strong survive,” or in this case, the ones with the strongest PR team behind them.
At Bospar, my team has successfully broken through the noise and made waves for our healthcare tech clients, getting them both trade and top-tier coverage, which is no easy feat in today’s saturated market. While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to getting media coverage, I’ve learned some key ways to catch editors’ eyes and convince them to cover healthcare tech clients.
|This article is featured in O'Dwyer's October '23 Healthcare & Medical PR Magazine
(view PDF version)
Here are a few of those ways:
Focus on your client’s “wow” factor
“If you want to attract a journalist’s attention, you’ve got to bring something that’s a little new, unique or even just a much better version of something that already exists,” said Cody Toombs, Editor of Android Police. This is especially true for healthcare clients. Health-related topics like COVID-19 continue to dominate journalists’ attention, especially the attention of those whose beat isn’t health-focused and especially in light of recent resurgences. This leaves little room for non-coronavirus health news.
As PR professionals, we must focus on what makes our healthcare tech clients stand out in order to get those journalists invested.
For example, some healthcare companies are embracing generative AI to transform the way they do healthcare. One of my clients has a first-of-its-kind app that uses AI to allow users to refill their prescriptions and measure their vitals simply by taking a picture with their smartphone. This streamlines cumbersome healthcare tasks and enables users to check their blood pressure, heart rate, blood oxygen and respiratory rate anytime, anywhere, which could end up saving their lives. Tap into the unique ways your client’s company uses technology to improve healthcare in order to create an engaging story that reporters will cover.
Coupling what makes a healthcare tech client unique with recent research can make their “wow” factor stronger and timelier. My team used a University of Southern California study that stated, “64 percent (of Americans) expressed confidence in their understanding of blood pressure numbers—but only 39 percent actually knew what normal or healthy blood pressure is.” We were able to show the current need for our client’s app, given the public’s lack of knowledge surrounding blood pressure, generating interest from the media, like FOX Health and AARP.
Tie your client into topics that have media hype
Healthcare is complex, to put it lightly. This can make it difficult to get buy-in from journalists who don’t usually cover health and aren’t privy to its terminology, which leads to a lack of coverage. We must speak the same language as journalists and explain our healthcare clients in a way non-healthcare individuals can understand and, more importantly, be interested in. One way to do this is by tapping into the hot trend of the moment.
Let’s return to AI at a slightly different angle. ChatGPT’s rapid rise continues to captivate media outlets everywhere, leading many to cover stories related to generative AI solutions. My team used this to our advantage by tying our healthcare tech client, whose workflow AI system is able to identify first-in-class lead compounds six times faster than traditional approaches, into the ChatGPT and generative AI conversation.
My team developed a PR pitch for our client, asserting that “generative AI will save your life one day.” This pitch highlighted how drug discovery and generative AI can be used to fight disease and ease the pain of patients worldwide. By connecting our client to a current topic, our pitch caught the attention of Forbes and Spiceworks, successfully exposing the client to a wider audience.
Go beyond traditional media outlets to expand opportunities
While getting coverage from traditional media is great and every PR professional’s goal, there are other ways to build awareness for healthcare clients. One method is using podcasts, a growing hub for healthcare industry news and often where health decision-makers find new technologies to implement.
Choose charismatic and knowledgeable speakers from a healthcare client’s lineup when looking for a spokesperson who would be the best fit for podcasts. We utilized a client spokesperson—whose telehealth platform serves nearly every corner of healthcare—by having them share how telehealth was helping patients and healthcare providers during the pandemic. This helped to promote the client’s organization in a compelling way while informing listeners of the power of telehealth.
Another solution to consider is influencer marketing. Because healthcare is a sensitive topic, it’s essential to work with reputable healthcare influencers who have built trust in their space and have a connection to what your client does. When reaching out to influencers to promote a healthcare tech client, we choose those with solid professional backgrounds and with audiences who matter to our client. This helps to strengthen the credibility of our client’s telehealth platform within and outside of healthcare influencer spaces.
Getting media coverage in an increasingly saturated digital market is tough, but it’s not impossible. By focusing on what makes your client unique, tying them into greater conversations that have media hype and going beyond traditional media outlets to expand opportunities, you can cultivate a winning formula that can increase your healthcare tech clients’ visibility and help them stand out in a crowded market.
Curtis Sparrer is Co-Founder and Principal at Bospar.