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February 13, 2015 Readers Write 3 Comments

Becoming an Influencer in the HIT Industry
By Frank Myeroff

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With all the noise out there, you have to call attention to yourself and be known for something if you want to stand out. In other words, you need to brand yourself within the healthcare IT industry to become known as an “influencer”.

An influencer is an individual who has above-average impact on a specific niche process. An Influencer is a person who is well connected and who is regarded as influential and in-the-know; someone who can give advice, direction, knowledge, and opinions about that niche.

Here’s how to get started:

  1. Find a specific niche. Focus on a specific topic within healthcare IT and be perceived as the “go-to person” for that topic. Also, try to go deeper within a niche. Can you specialize even more? Conquer one area completely and you will find that your audience will come to you. For example, you can become well known for the ability to disseminate government HIT initiatives or even international HIT news stories.
  2. Invest 10,000 hours. In his book “Outliers”, Malcolm Gladwell says that you need 10,000 hours to get good at anything. Has healthcare IT engrossed you over the last decade to the point that you’ve invested 10,000 hours in becoming better?
  3. Get in front with social media. In today’s world, social media is dominating, so it’s a good idea to use your name as a brand and promote it well. To be successful, you must build your brand using Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
  4. Create a LinkedIn Group. This is a great way to engage like-minded professionals and attract new members and connections. LinkedIn Group discussions should be topical and timely as well as find answers to burning questions.
  5. Start blogging. Write blogs that people find different, useful, and informational. As part of blogging, make a video or record a podcast. Also, think about how to be a guest blogger on other relevant blog sites. Be creative. Your goal is to provide meaningful content that will resonate with your specific audience.
  6. Accept speaking engagements. If you’re comfortable in front of an audience and have the ability to be an interesting presenter, hit the speaker circuit. Trade shows such as HIMSS or other HIT business forums and summits usually have a call for speakers about a year in advance of the event. Make sure you provide a unique, timely, and interesting topic to be considered. In addition, offer to be interviewed by hospitals and healthcare IT publications. These can be of benefit by showing your credibility when vying for a speaking engagement.
  7. Send press releases. Sending good content in a press release format can be powerful and will give you high visibility especially if sent through a distribution service such as PR Web. A PR Web press release can help you get reach and publicity on the Web and across social media. As a result, your press will be seen by a large number of journalists with HIT publications as well as provide SEO for your website or blog.
  8. Create and run a seminar or webinar. Recently our marketing department attended a luncheon and seminar hosted by a trade show display house. The presentation was all about the hottest trends in the trade show industry. They did not try to sell us anything. Instead, they positioned themselves as the go-to people or thought leaders for the trade show industry. As a result, we trusted their knowledge and purchased a pop-up banner for our upcoming HIT shows, events, and summits.
  9. Help others succeed. For each action, take a look for ways to partner and co-brand with other experts. There’s power in numbers. Also, when you gain the respect of other experts, you get the benefit of being referred to their contacts. For example, we know of an RN who is considered an influencer because he spends time helping other RNs to understand health policy, procedures, and technology. The information he provides is tried and true. The RNs trust his information, and in turn, they give him a louder and stronger voice. In other words, they became his brand advocates.
  10. Be available. The more you get yourself out there, you increase your chances of being recognized and asked for your expert opinion. Make sure you’re easy to find. Always give publications, journalists, and prospective customers your contact information and let them know that you will make yourself available to them at their convenience.

Building your own personal brand and becoming an Influencer takes time and dedication. But if you establish yourself strongly in the HIT industry, in time you will be a sought-after resource and derive the visibility and long-lasting relationships you desire.

Frank Myeroff is president of Direct Consulting Associates of Cleveland, OH.

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