Let’s clear up this term right at the beginning: What is an opinion leader?
It’s someone who people listen to, someone whose opinion they trust. Everyone has opinion leaders in different fields they are interested in—health, business, fitness, finance, parenting—we each have authorities we trust.
When people in your community realize they can trust what you say about your speciality—whether it’s pediatric physical, occupational or speech therapy—you become their opinion leader. They realize they can trust you with their patients, family and friends. And your referrals will increase accordingly. The way you become an opinion leader is to provide them with educational information they can understand and use.
A Pediatric Practice Owner Is an Expert and Authority
You may not realize how much you know about helping children reach their full potential through pediatric PT, OT or ST. You are, literally, an expert and you deserve to be recognized as an authority. Our recommendations below are ways that you can achieve that recognition and therefore be more capable of reaching out to families that need your help.
You, and many others like you, deserve to gain the status of opinion leader within your communities. The more authority you generate, the higher your referrals will be.
Let’s look at how you can turn yourself into an opinion leader.
1. Hold in-clinic or virtual workshops and seminars
The more interesting and interactive you can make this event, the better. Email your parent base and ask them what they would most like to know more about or what skills they would like to learn. Then tailor your event’s theme to this desirable topic. Any way you can make the theme of your workshop enticing, the better your response will be.
Use multiple channels to promote your event. Reward your employees for getting people to these events. Email invitations to your parent base and any prospects. Print flyers and post them in local businesses, houses of worship, schools, community offices, professionals’ offices (especially pediatricians) and tutoring centers. Ask radio stations or community newsletter or newspaper publishers to run event announcements.
2. Public speaking at local community groups
The key here is to get yourself known among groups that might utilize your services but also, most importantly, individuals that might refer patients to you! Nurses, dietitians, pediatricians, teachers (even Sunday school teachers), counselors, nutritional counselors, day care center operators and staff—make your own list based on the services you offer.
Your presentation should be educational and helpful. There should be ideas members of the audience can apply, whether they are practitioners or parents. Don’t talk much about yourself other than stating your experience and credentials. When you provide useful education, they will see you as an expert.
Give the audience something they can take away with them—a brochure, handout, at least a business card—so they can refer patients to you.
3. Guest blogging
Guest blogging is a good way of leading people to your website or getting them to contact you. Here’s how to proceed:
- Locate blogs relevant to your specialty that also accept guest bloggers. The more popular the blog, the better. You can search for them on Google, ask colleagues for recommendations or even ask parents to name their favorite parenting blogs; then check that site’s guest blogging guidelines.
- Get familiar with your chosen blog. What are their articles like? You want your content to be compatible with theirs. Check out other guest posts. How long are they? Read their guest blogging guidelines.
- Prepare concepts that are relevant for their audience. Find out who should be approached with these ideas so you can personalize your email.
- Craft a clear, friendly email to this person. State your credentials and experience. Propose a few ideas their audience will like. Make this as concise as possible.
- When your proposals are accepted, carefully follow the publishers’ guidelines and ensure your guest post is similar to their other guest posts. Include your bio and link to your website at the end.
4. Publishing articles in local publications
Nearly every community has local publications—newspapers, newsletters, health or hobby publications. If you’re not familiar with any, do an internet search.
Local publications generally rely on freelancers for their content. They are hungry for good content relevant to their readers.
You can offer to submit a single article but a series is better for them and you. Before you approach them, be sure to get familiar with their publication so you can speak intelligently about the topics you can write about.
If you’re not a writer, you might be able to ask one of your staff to ghostwrite for you. You supply the topics, technical knowledge and byline.
Not the Time to Be Overly Modest!
Is it hard for you to think of yourself as an opinion leader? I know you! You’re an expert getting invaluable results for the children in your community! You know better than anyone how much the children in your area need your services.
I understand not everyone is comfortable getting out into the community and making themselves known. What can help is the study of Keys to Private Practice Success. This manual can help you overcome any hesitance you might have about promoting yourself as an expert. Learn more.
For additional resources, check out our library of recorded webinars for pediatric private practice owners; access is free.