The role of healthcare PR agencies

By Brad Dodge on November 3rd, 2017

From pharmaceutical and medical device companies to hospitals and health plans, healthcare remains one of the hottest, fastest-growing industries to invest in.

In the dynamic, competitive and highly regulated world of healthcare, companies need public relations —or PR—to help them understand where their brand needs to be and how to get there, whether that be steady growth, entry into a new sector, near-term funding to bring innovations to market, exit or public offering. Companies also depend on a strong PR partner to help them navigate new and ever-changing forms of communication, digital technology platforms and consumer expectations.

PR’s New Rules of Engagement 
Public relations—or PR—has the unmatched power to nurture a company’s credibility, reputation and name recognition. In other words, healthcare PR helps organizations establish a clear voice in the industry and position it as a trusted advisor in the space.

While its goals remain firmly rooted in relationship-building, PR’s tactics have expanded beyond the traditional static press release to now encompass content creation, social media, webcasts, crisis management, SEO, thought leadership and more. As a result, PR can now reach much larger audiences and engage them for longer periods of time.

Whether companies are striving to reach consumers, payers, providers, business decision makers or public policy makers, they must continually find new ways to increase engagement, connection and—more importantly—trust.

Trust is an important aspect of a brand as it influences the way consumers and companies do business. Many people are working with less than perfect information and are being asked to make decisions they may be unqualified and unprepared to make on their own. Potential customers need to feel confident they are making the right decisions for themselves, their families or their companies. And that confidence is rooted in trust.

PR can help you become a trusted industry voice through developing valuable, engaging and educational content, such as blogs, articles, case studies and whitepapers. Moreover, social sharing has established itself as a credible and trusted source of information that customers use to inform their decisions.

Therefore, the most successful companies are those that take an integrated approach to PR while leveraging the components of trust to raise brand awareness, cultivate relationships and bring about desired actions.

Here are four key roles a PR agency plays in the healthcare field:

1. Brand Builder
An organization that wants to rise above the noise in the market needs to build brand recognition and trust—and that means getting into the news, attending industry events such as tradeshows, speaking at conferences and showing the world what the company is made off. A healthcare PR agency can help your organization build its reputation by demonstrating subject matter expertise, bringing new and compelling ideas to events, shaping the industry narrative and showcasing the company as a thought leader.

2. Communicator
Messaging is the fundamental building block of a brand. Without a succinct message that resonates with potential buyers, companies can fall short in communicating with their customers and prospects. While developing strong messaging is important, the focus today is really on personalizing the message to a unique, individual buyer or audience. For example, the pressures facing a nurse informatics officer are very different and distinct from those of a CIO. Although there are also commonalities for both, understanding and addressing those unique pain points is crucial for any PR content. A healthcare PR agency plays an important role in delivering the right messages to the right audiences. 

3. Lead Generator
The role of healthcare PR isn’t just about spreading your messages or building your brand, it’s also about the benefits that come from these efforts. By building your brand and spreading your message, you will have a much better chance of receiving more traffic to your website and generating more revenue when your PR agency is able to target the right audience. In fact, PR strategies that are well-executed can place your company and its products and services in the media for the right customers to see while at the same time position your company as a thought leader and generate demand.

4. Company Advisor
A healthcare PR agency acts not only as the voice of an organization but also as a trusted advisor. With so many evolving rules and regulations, the agency acts as a spokesperson for the client, playing a crucial role in providing accurate advice and recommendations at any point in time. In addition, the agency should help the organization be ready to respond to crisis at a moment’s notice. Your PR agency will make sure you’re ready to deftly handle any situation, respond rapidly across platforms and channels to address industry leaderships positioning, employee change management, corporate and executive communications, market expansion and crisis and issues management.

Long term, public relations is an investment in the brand and the visibility of a healthcare organization. The healthcare industry will continue to progress, which makes a public relations agency that much more important to the success of an organization seeking growth and recognition.