Thought leadership. As a physician, does that idea make you excited? Or a bit queasy? While some physicians jump at the chance to be seen and heard, others are turned off by the concept — it conjures up images of social media influencers, popularity contests, and unwanted limelight. Here’s why it’s worth the leap.
At its core, thought leadership is an opportunity to share your expertise, insights, and viewpoints with those who can benefit most from them. It can be executed quietly, professionally, and according to your personality. Or it can include outrageous TikTok dance videos if that’s your thing.
Actually, most physicians are already thought leaders to some extent. Patients look to you as a source of expert knowledge. Colleagues consult you on difficult or interesting cases. You regularly offer advice, guidance, and opinions. Let’s look at five reasons why it’s time to fully embrace that existing role more fully and send your ideas even farther out into the world.
Build your reputation.
Publishing articles, being a guest on podcasts, speaking on webinar panels, providing quotes to magazine writers, and posting on social media allows others to learn about you — your ideas, your personality, your passion. It draws in new patients and boosts referrals from other providers. It creates credibility for your practice and establishes you as an expert at what you do. This in turn creates trust with patients and respect from colleagues. Creating content will make you more findable on the web and will help you to be seen as trustworthy and, dare I say, popular.
Control the narrative.
You already have a reputation on the web, whether you like it or not. Patients have an endless list of ways to offer reviews: ratemymd.com, Yelp, Google reviews, etc. Some will be glowing. Others will not. And LinkedIn has likely already created a business page for your practice, regardless of whether you asked. Content is created about your practice whether you’re involved or not. Take control by creating some of your own — this allows you to put out factual, on-point information and can counterbalance any ugliness found on the deep dark web. The more content you put out, the more control you have over your reputation.
Create collaboration opportunities.
Thought leadership can establish you as a known expert in your field, which will spark interest from interested parties. Some of these opportunities will be professionally important ones — the chance to partner on projects, research, practices, etc. Others might be financially lucrative — speaking engagements, brand collaborations, and other ways to diversify your revenue stream. And some might just be plain interesting — participating in documentaries, charity dance competitions, or magazine features. Of course, you don’t have to accept any of these offers. But isn’t it gratifying to be asked to the dance?
Advance your career.
Maybe you have a clear career path. Maybe you don’t. One thing is for sure: thought leadership can open new doors. Creating a strong reputation over time will serve as an important point of reference for future associates. It paints a clearer picture of your value than any resumé could. As a well-respected expert whose opinion is valued by many, you are more likely to be considered for various positions in the future.
Establish your legacy.
No doubt you already help and inspire many people through your work as a physician. Creating an archive of thought leadership materials throughout your career ensures that you will continue to help people with your amazing work and valuable ideas for many years to come.
There’s no question of the multiple benefits of physicians becoming thought leaders. And there’s never been a more rewarding time to offer high-quality direct education to patients, colleagues, and industry decision-makers. The question is: How do you get started? My next article “8 Ways Physicians Can Become Though Leaders” lays out a surefire strategy.
*Many thanks to Sierra Jensen for her contributions to this article.