By Chuck Malcomson
Whether you are a recent dental school graduate just entering private practice, a dentist who has moved to a new city or state, or if you just want to get more exposure for you and your practice, having a great reputation is vital. The above situations can represent a blank slate or an opportunity to reinvent. The question is, how?
Establishing thought leadership is paramount to your dental reputation. You want to be the dentist that patients would recommend to a new neighbor who has moved in from out of town. Here are 10 mostly free ways to establish thought leadership and build a great reputation that will make patients recommend you to others.
Develop your strategy
The first thing you want to do when deciding to establish thought leadership is to determine your strategy. In which specific area of dentistry do you wish to be the thought leader? When establishing thought leadership it is usually best to specialize, as opposed to trying to be all things to all people. Strategically choose a few areas of dentistry in which to portray yourself as THE expert, based on your location, patient demographics and long term trends in dentistry.
Maintain an active blog on your website
There have been several articles on this site speaking to the benefits of maintaining an active blog on your website. Well, a blog happens to be an excellent way for you to establish thought leadership. It is the only channel you have that you completely control. Therefore, you can write about whatever you wish.
Post about the areas of dentistry that support the strategy you already developed. Write posts about new studies that have been published, providing your thoughts to your audience. Write about new developments in dentistry and how they may affect your patients. Over time your blog will continue to grow and gain readership, and boost your reputation and practice at the same time.
LinkedIn is a great site to network with other professionals. You should be connected with any health care provider who may ever have the chance to recommend you to a new patient. LinkedIn is becoming ever more popular and having a profile and checking in to the site regularly is a must. But there’s so much more you can do on LinkedIn too!
Post your relevant blog articles on LinkedIn and all of your connections will see them. This is a great way to share your message and thoughts on important topics.
You should create a page for your practice if you have not already done so. This is a way for updates to be posted that apply to the business as a whole, not just you as the dentist. Your connections could see, for example, when you get new state-of-the-art equipment, adding to your reputation.
Don’t forget about LinkedIn Answers. LinkedIn users will post questions that they have about myriad topics. Providing answers to questions in your areas of expertise is a fantastic way to boost your reputation and thought leadership.
Use Twitter to post your blog articles and increase their reach. Also share links to other content that supports your overall thought leadership strategy. You will quickly gain a following of people who are interested in exactly the same topics in which you are an expert.
SlideShare is essentially the cloud-based version of PowerPoint. This is a great way to squeeze more use out of old slide decks that you are not using anymore and get a boost to your reputation as an expert. Your presentation will be available for anyone to see and you can actually embed them on your blog just like you would a YouTube video.
Quora is often a forgotten social network, but it can be one of the most valuable. Quora aims to provide answers to almost any question you can think of. From questions about marketing to questions about dental implants, Quora provides a great resource to both users looking for answers, and people seeking to position themselves as thought leaders. Think of it as a much broader version of LinkedIn Answers!
What’s a great way to build credibility, thought leadership and publicity at the same time? Get interviewed for the local paper, television station or national magazines. This is all easily facilitated with HARO (Help a Reporter Out). Simply register yourself as an expert and you will receive, via email, a daily list of topics that reporters are looking for sources on. You’ll provide quotes on dentistry and establish yourself as an expert!
AllExperts describes itself like this:
“Allexperts, created in early 1998, was the very first large-scale question and answer service on the net! We have thousands of volunteers, including top lawyers, doctors, engineers, and scientists, waiting to answer your questions. All answers are free and most come within a day!”
Answer questions directly from the general population and establish your thought leadership. Put a link on your website to your profile on AllExperts to answer questions from your local patient base and build credibility with potential future patients!
Yet another question and answer site, ShareCare is based solely on healthcare. It is sort of a hybrid Q&A site and also a directory listing site as they have begun charging doctors for the ability to keep a profile and answer questions. It does deserve consideration, however, as it is backed by Johns Hopkins and attracts a large amount of traffic from people seeking health care related answers. Users can also search for doctors by zip code, perhaps adding practice building value.
Blood, Sweat, Tears and Study Clubs
Unfortunately the Internet can’t do it all for you. Actual real world networking is still paramount to establishing thought leadership, building a solid reputation with other dentists and building your practice. Use study clubs to support your overall strategy by introducing topics, articles and cases that you are the expert in.
Pick and choose between these ten ideas and come up with a mix that works for you. In due time you will be seen as the expert, thought leader, guru, foremost, pre-eminent dentist in town!
Chuck Malcomson is the Founder and Chief Inbound Marketing Strategist of Screwpile Communications, an inbound marketing agency that specializes in dental and dental specialty marketing. A certified HubSpot Partner Agency, Screwpile Communications is skilled in the Four Core Strengths of Inbound Marketing. Read the Screwpile Marketing Blog and follow Chuck on LinkedIn or join Inbound Marketing For Dental Implant Practices.