According to imre SVP of public relations Shannon Moylan, healthcare communicators need to make sure that they are appealing to "all sides of the story." That means not just keeping the data in mind, but remembering "the heart of the story"—the people being cured or lives being dramatically impacted for the better.
"I think too often we tend to tell one side of the story or the other," Moylan tells Doug Simon. "Physicians are people, too, and many of them got into the profession to help people. So, making sure that while you might lead with data, you don't forget the heart of the story, which might be a smiling kid or an older person getting more years of life with their family."
A major hurdle that healthcare comms currently faces, she says, is "this weird shifting of trust within our audiences, both professional and more consumer audiences. It used to be you could have the CDC or some organization like that come in as your authority, throw some data points in it, and people just trusted. At this point, people aren't necessarily as trusting of organizations like that."
Moylan also discusses the continuing importance of earned media. "Earned media, at the end of the day is called that for a reason. We have to go and convince a reporter that our story is worth covering and that it will appeal to their audience and that it's something their audience should know."
When it comes to print vs. broadcast media as a medium for healthcare messages, "media may be best for a particular person, but I think each has its positives. Print often gives us a chance to dive really deeply into things like data or really complex concepts. And, you know, it's still the dream to get a multi-page, long-form New York Times piece. But I don't think we can underestimate the importance of broadcast."
But regarless of the platform communicators use, "the biggest thing is to really, really know your audience. It's so easy to sit there and say, oh, it's a doctor. Throw data at them. Well, that doctor might also be a mom who might have a kid. So, I mean, it's nothing new, but some of those tried-and-true things of just really knowing your audience and approaching them from multiple vantage points."
Moylan also shares some considerations to keep top of mind when building a healthcare team. "Number one," she says, "is enthusiasm. If you are not excited to do your job and you're not excited to learn something new every day, that's going to hit you and be really boring really fast.
"Beyond that, I really look for folks who, frankly, can write because I think that we're never going to get away from that in our industry. Even with ChatGPT and everything else, I think writing will also be huge."
Interested in taking part? Contact Doug Simon at [email protected]