In our initial blogs about influencer marketing, we outlined the foundational steps in order to start an influencer marketing campaign, along with several recommendations and insights. Now that you’ve established an integrated communications strategy and agreed upon compelling messaging to take out externally, the next steps involve getting your feet wet with the campaign and actually starting to craft long-form articles and content in order to get your message seen and heard by your audience.

Some of the most reputable top tier media outlets including The Atlantic, The New Yorker, NPR, and PBS can do an in-depth treatment of a complex and important topic, such as the accountable care story. These articles generally focus on a combination of national trends/problems, human/patient stories, the impact of legislation, all backed by statistics and data.

For example, one article featured in The New Yorker highlighted Dr. Rena Xu, who wrote about her personal struggles with healthcare insurance providers, which was then tied into a larger story of how insurance companies complicate healthcare.

These long-form segments and articles are, first and foremost, stories. They are, secondarily, perspective pieces. They often read like mini-novels, illustrating the point with lengthy narratives of real people that captivate the reader’s interest and emotions.

The content and the perspective you share must be authentic, topical, and relatable to the average healthcare consumer, while also providing a strong and clear vision for the vexing issues in healthcare today.

Below are some tips when crafting your long-form pieces of content:

  • Open with an arresting story vignette with an emotionally gripping plot, OR a fact or situation that is similarly startling and emotionally-engaging.
  • Use this story as the introduction of the problem you will address – show why this problem is significant, and why people should care. Keep the element of suspense in the narration so readers wonder, what’s coming next?
  • Build the thesis with more stories, anecdotes, and facts.
  • Personal stories are a plus – remember the goal is to engage the emotions.
  • Don’t be afraid of personal opinion and controversy, or to pit opposite perspectives against each other.
  • The conclusion brings the reader to agreement with you, but with enough unanswered questions to keep them thinking about the topic.

These long-form articles can be up to 6,000 words long or more, which is a long time to keep a reader engaged. The plot of the article needs to be worked out in advance, just like the plot of a novel. Potential titles need to be brainstormed as well, and internal teams can assist with keeping your story on message.

For long-form radio and TV, the same guidelines apply, vis a vis patient stories, personal experiences, drama, controversy, statistics, and high stakes apply, with the addition of partners who represent other perspectives and solutions to the problem.

Below are some observations about the healthcare stories published over the last two years from media outlets including The Atlantic, The New Yorker, as well as NPR and PBS:

  • The stories appearing in The Atlantic that were published focused on big trends, human/patient stories, politics and statistics/data.
  • Long-form articles appearing in The New Yorker highlighted issues around healthcare costs, big data, insurance and personal experience. As mentioned above, Dr. Rena Xu wrote about her personal experience with healthcare insurance and related it to the bigger problem of how insurance companies can complicate healthcare matters.
  • NPR long-form articles or news segments focused on big trends (insurance, costs, politics, legal issues) while examining healthcare from different population perspectives (i.e., Native Americans).
  • PBS News Hour healthcare stories highlighted trends, data/statistics and current issues.

By examining how these outlets are covering the healthcare industry, it is clear that trends, personal experiences and/or patient stories, and statistics and data help pave the way towards getting an article placed with these outlets.

Once you’ve started getting long-form articles published, your influencer marketing campaign is in process and now the next step is leveraging these pieces of content to you and your healthcare organization’s benefit.

Missed our first two blogs on influencer marketing? Read them below!

Influencer Marketing Part 2 – 10 Recommendations for Becoming a Healthcare Influencer

Influencer Marketing Part 1 – Setting a Foundation for Success

If you’re in healthcare, insurance, technology or other professional services industries, and need help with a PR, marketing or social media campaign, contact Scott Public Relations.

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