10 Ways Physicians Can Become Thought Leaders

How can physicians become better known as an expert in their field? Here are 10 recommendations to stand out from the crowd — all of them are based on my experience working with top-of-their-game physicians.

Over the past two years, I’ve had several physicians come to me with the same problem: they want to stand out but they’re not sure where to start. And they have limited time. Typically, these doctors have an established career and plenty of knowledge to share. Fortunately, there’s plenty of ways to make an impact. 


1. Find your niche

Start by narrowing your scope down to one or two areas where you can make your greatest contribution. Spreading your efforts across many subjects will dilute your progress, while a niche focus will make you stand out sooner and make your content more valuable.


2. Contribute articles to industry publications

Contributing to industry blogs, newsletters, and reports can give you incredible exposure. Find the editor’s contact information on the outlet’s website and send in your pitch or finished piece according to their submission guidelines. Follow your instincts and keep it concise.


3. Self-publish

Gone are the days of waiting for someone else to publish your content. Self-publishing articles on websites like Medium.com and LinkedIn get your message out into the world instantly. It’s not uncommon for bigger media outlets to find your work and ask to re-publish it in their publications to reach a wider audience. Write it and they will come.


4. Speak at conferences

Amplify your voice within your chosen niche through public speaking. Attendees typically come from a wide area to attend — it’s a great way to get in front of potential collaborators, investors, partners, and others. Since the onset of the pandemic, more of these events are held virtually, allowing for maximum impact with minimal time, expense, and travel.


5. Sit on a webinar panel

Build your credibility as a thought leader by weighing in as a panel participant. Webinars are an excellent substitution for some conferences and are often hosted by industry publications and corporate sponsors. Panels offer thoughtful discussion and a chance to demonstrate your expertise.


6. Be a guest on podcasts

Research podcasts that overlap with your chosen niche. Reach out to their executive producers and offer to be a future guest. Podcasts allow meaningful conversations about your chosen niche which can captivate your audience and further cement you as an industry expert.


7. Get sociaL

Physicians create a tremendous presence on social media by picking one or two channels and consistently commenting, sharing content, and engaging with their connections and audience. Your goals dictate which channels are worth investing time in — each channel reaches a different kind of audience.


8. Be an expert source

Establish yourself as a recognizable subject matter export by becoming an expert source for writers, journalists, and other reputable content creators. As an expert source, your insights and quotes will be used in local or national newspapers, magazines, and online articles.


9. Be consistent

This is where the rubber hits the road. If you want people to look to you as an expert thought leader, you must put out content regularly that is both informative and interesting. Establish an achievable goal of how often you wish to publish or participate in various events and try to stick to that cadence.

Do you feel overwhelmed by all the time and effort involved? After all, you’re already running a busy practice. You have a personal life and family responsibilities. How can you possibly balance it all? Enlist help. Don’t do it alone.


10. Get Help

While some tactics outlined above require your presence (hello, conference podium!), others can actually be outsourced. Find a competent writer that you like and trust. Instead of writing, re-writing, and editing articles, allow them to interview you, extract your main ideas, and create drafts for you to review. This will leapfrog you much farther into the process. The longer you work together, the more they’ll adopt your tone of voice. Over time, with your guidance, they’ll be able to take on more responsibility and shoulder more of the work.

An experienced writer also assists you with speeches, podcast prep, social media posts, and anything else involved in thought leadership. Hiring a writer in this way — often referred to as a ghostwriter — ensures you have incredible content to put out on a regular basis without the stress of producing it all yourself. Read my helpful guide “How Physicians Can Add a Writer to Their Team — And Get it Right the First Time” to know more.

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