Why you need to become a health influencer and educational content agency
Trust, empowerment & old school relationship building
Health influencers and educational content creation are the future.
I know... stay with me…
Beneath every industry, professional exterior and facade - people are emotional beings. And need connection more than anything.
So, in a system that gives you little empathy, time, clarity, or personalisation, is it any wonder people are turning to “Influencers” to fill this gaping void?
a person or thing that influences another.
"he was a champion of the arts and a huge influencer of taste"
a person with the ability to influence potential buyers of a product or service by promoting or recommending the items on social media.
"influencers can add serious credibility to your brand"
By consistently showing up, they provide the facade of intimacy, validation and makes us feel as though we “know them” through a personal relationship.
Influencers and content creators are taking over. You can’t argue that the creator economy is on fire with over 50 million creators and influencer marketing projected to hit $15B by 2022.
In “traditional” professions, it’s still largely scoffed at. So instead, we brush it with a polished coat of paint and call it “personal branding” and “thought leadership”.
Just like every other industry, it’s the way of the future and the only way you will succeed.
💫 Rehumanising Healthcare - Bringing Back That Human Touch
Health professionals and institutions have heavily relied on reputation, continuity of relationships, and word of mouth in communities for decades. This is just the modern-day version.
Having a long-term consistent GP is increasingly less common, and continuity of care is a problem both from the professional and patient sides. And frankly, not feasible with strapped systems, endless waiting lists, and rising costs of care.
So as our system strains and struggles to cater for all of us, and trust in institutions continues to plummet, the focus is shifting to the internet for solutions and individuals.
Content Production Today Is What Early Internet Marketing and Website Building Was in the 1990s/2000s
When the internet came along, it changed the game forever. Many were skeptical and resisted - and whilst there were some false starts, those who doubted only ended up having to play catch up in the long run.
What’s happening now is the same thing.
Power is shifting from orgs and institutions to the individual, and quality content and relationships are how it is being done.
Brand > Institution
Greta Thunberg has demonstrated this clearly, acting as the face of the youth climate movement, unifying people behind a cause. Though she uses the research and authoritative examples from heavyweight institutions - she has had far more cut through with the public than any one of them.
Why? Because she put a face to it - making it personable and relatable.
And other people, and professionals, can do this too.
Health communication, education, and empowerment have long been lacking. With a system that puts Band-Aids over burst pipes, people are looking for DIY solutions to turn to that they can trust. Or even do what the public system has failed to, and prevent the problem before it even begins.
That’s Where Content, Networks, and “Trusted Sources” Come in
People are seeking sources they trust and know. It’s the same reason community as a strategy is taking off.
Data shows that referrals from people we know is still the #1 source of trusted information. And influencers, or at least the good ones, leverage this and build a community around it.
Community is the new marketing
So how do you do that?
Create value, build an audience, relationships, and become an “influencer”.
💰Influencer Empires and the New Business Model
It doesn’t matter if you like them or not, there's one thing you can’t deny - they have some serious power.
Instagram juggernauts and reality TV stars lead the way for years, leveraging personal brands and followings to build business empires.
If you’re anything like me, I previously put myself in the bucket of “Oh I’m going to be a doctor so this doesn’t matter for me… it’s just for girls on Instagram”.
But now they are leading every industry and the skillset is invaluable.
We can see this in the powerful brands, businesses, and now portfolios, built by athletes including Serena Williams & Layne Beachley. Even celebs like Chris Hemsworth and Jay-Z are getting in on the action in the wellness world - Fitt insider does a great dive into this here.
Those with the attention, trust, and buy-in - win
Credibility + Consistency + Trust + Relationship = Power
(You can use this formula without credibility and it still usually works)
People Are Looking for Others to Follow.
So, Who Do We Want to Lead the Blind? It's either the Educated or Those Selling Snake Oil
In the speech given to our graduating medical school class, an incredibly esteemed clinician warned us against the perils of social media.
Yes - be careful. But I would argue, to ignore it, and not get in the game, is far more dangerous.
The misinformation pandemic is real. And if it isn’t the medical companies and professionals leading the way, building social trust and influence in the field, we are leaving it to the less qualified snake oil salesman to lead the most vulnerable.
Mindset Health puts it well in their mission- not everyone can access or afford healthcare, but by leveraging the fact that most have a smartphone and internet access, we sure as hell can help this with the right digital education, resources, and products.
Doctor’s & professional’s voices have been drowned out of late, losing relevancy and respect. But it's time to make a comeback with a new lease of life.
It’s just the rules of the game have changed.
🎮 Everything Is a Game
The sooner we realise this, the easier it is to play… and win.
This piece by Packy Mccormick on “The Great Online Game” explains it well.
Attention and trust are the currency.
📈 The Rise of Power of Personal Brand
It's not what you say, but what people say about you that matters.
Reputation and values, or the value you deliver, is everything.
And this is captured in your brand, and how you present yourself to the world.
Both on the organisational level, and individual.
I’ve mentioned it before, but look at leading brands like Lululemon & Nike. They have “ambassadors” (another word for influencers), who create content, programs and embody the brand’s values in the community setting. All have also made tech acquisitions with Nike “focusing on mental health” and Lululemon rolling out their online programs and buying “My Mirror” earlier this year for $500m to add to its base.
Leaders like Airbnb also changed marketing tactics earlier this year, switching their spend to brand with CEO Chesky saying that Airbnb now looks at the role of marketing as “education”, not “to buy customers”.
The same is coming for “traditional” healthcare.
A Note on Regulation
Yes, it's a bit of a minefield, and no easy feat, but as they say, got to risk it for the biscuit and fortune favours the bold (but strategic). Regs are nasty but set to “hopefully” ease a tad and adapt to this new digital world. As things currently stand you can market more for products that have little to no evidence than real medicine…
What a world.
But get a head start and build your audience and authority now.
💥 Health Influencers of the Now
@footdocdana - 1.1m - Dr Dana Brems, PGY-2
@dermdoctor - 6.5m - Dr Shah, dermatology resident & educational content
@doctorsood - 416.9k - Kunal Sood M.D., anesthesiology & pain medicine
plantbasedgutdoc - 32.6k - Dr Vanessa Mendez, gastro, preventative & lifestyle medicine
The Wholesome Doctor - 36.4k - Dr Preeya Alexander, Melbourne based GP
Danielle Belardo M.D. - 217k - Cardiologist obsessed with evidence-based medicine, prevention, and nutrition science
Dr Ray Boyapati - 33k - Medentry founder, gut health & content for aspiring docs
Instagram Health Gurus
Kayla Itsines - 12.9m - PT, founder of the SWEAT empire
Gwyneth Paltrow - 7.6m - Actress & founder goop “modern wellness brand”
Sam Woods - 278k - Bachelor turned fitness founder @28bysamwood
Michelle Bridges - 280k - Ex biggest loser host, founder & lady boss12wbt, author
JS Health - 550k - Online vitamin empire by nutritionist Jessica Sepel
The secret is personal, accessible content and a commitment to community
~ Jessica Sepel article on leveraging social media
Dr Sandro Demaio - CEO of VicHealth, Dr & Public Health advocate
27k + 17k Insta + 10k Linkedin
Chief Health Officer of Victoria, Prof Brett Sutton - 112k - Vic’s true steward through the COVID storm (sorry Dan Andrews)
Nikhil Krishnan - 30.2k - Analyst, writer and founder Out-Of-Pocket
Christina Farr - 66.2k - Healthtech investor, author & former journalist
Trisha Greenhalgh - 126.9k - Prof of Prim Care, Oxford
Doctor Mike - 7.3m subs - Dr Mikhail Varshavski, Family Medicine
Dr Joe Dispenza - 520k subs + 1.6m Insta - Researcher of epigenetics, quantum physics & neuroscience with a media empire
The Medical Futurist - 50.1k subs - Dr Bertalan Mesko, PhD, author, keynote speaker, geek doctor with PhD in genomics, science fiction fanatic
a16z - Bio eats world & The a16z podcast
The Drive - >30m downloads - Dr. Peter Attia on longevity & well-being
Joe Rogan - >10m subs + 7.3m Twitter + 12.6m Insta - yes, even he has sway in health these days
It’s Not Just for “Patients” and the Public but All Audiences
If you add value and make their lives easier, develop real relationships, and provide ongoing value, beyond just a transaction, this is when you win. Including for:
Doctors - HotDoc are moving into this space for clinicians and clinic owners
Creating valuable content, trust, and community around your area of expertise is what will solidify you in the game, and help get you engagement.
I know I talk about them a lot, but Euc is doing this with force and slaying. By empowering the patient/consumer through education, fun, trust, and ease of use, they are winning. And racing ahead of the rest.
Given it’s founders are behind viral sensation and content king Koala mattresses, its no surprise
📣 So, How Do You Become a Content Leader?
Where attention goes, opportunity, relevancy, and money flow.
Go where your audience is.
What do they want? Where are they hanging out?
In the case of patients, most congregate on Facebook, Reddit, or even Twitch. You can create groups, free content, or fun around these topics. Even live stream AMAs (Ask me Anything) or group consults on Twitch (you may laugh, but I’m serious).
“Edutainment” Is Where It’s At
Creating content isn’t enough. It has to be noteworthy
The killer combo you need to nail a good story is to make it
Educational (with solid evidence - esp in health)
This is what many TikTok, Youtube, and Instagram powerhouses are nailing. And as a result, garnering respect, loyalty, trust, engagement, and endless demand from brands.
You’ll also hear the word “authentic” thrown around like a rag doll.
And it’s done for a reason. There’s a lot of cookie-cutter outlines you can use, which is fine, but to stand out, you’ll have to break the mold, find your human voice, and unique selling point (or self) to gain traction.
I did not say it was easy. Or quick.
But I can guarantee it is worth the investment.
So get online. Carve out your niche, find a content form that works for you, and start leading!
We need you to.
If you want to chat about this or need a hand, hit me up. Always love a good yarn.
Want more? Just hit this button so you don’t miss out
Until next time
*Shout out to Lucia Philip who told me to write this piece back in Jan and Tim Doyle for the snake oil analogy*