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The healthcare industry is constantly growing and changing. Technology continues to advance at an almost alarming rate, creating space for new businesses and health tools to emerge. And every year there are more and more new companies to fill that gap: in 2021, health tech startups collectively raised an impressive $29.1 billion.

New healthcare startups are arriving every day, and one of the most important steps in growing your startup is getting the word out about your business. While health tech startups naturally focus their selling points on what makes their products and services unique, it’s also important that they establish themselves as thought leaders and differentiate themselves in the public eye.

Many marketing tools can help businesses achieve this, but one of the most effective and dynamic is public relations. Whether you hire an agency or take your efforts in-house, public relations can help you position your company not only as a technology leader, but also as a trusted voice on the future of the field. In other words, when your PR is done well.

Data Driven Presentation

One of the best ways to raise your company’s profile is to ask influential journalists to write about you and your company. But first you need to know which publications and journalists are going to be interested in your story.

In public relations, the most impactful stories are those that reach the right viewers at the right time. To do this, you need to find the right journalists in the right publications. You probably know the power of data. Data makes the world go round, and that’s as true in public relations as it is in healthcare.

You can cast journalists on instinct, but you’ll have much more success taking a data-driven approach. For example, if your health tech startup revolves around medical transcription services for healthcare providers, you might want to aggregate as much data as possible around publications that write about medical records. Who writes these stories? What publications do these people write for? What have these writers covered in the past on this topic, and how can you add to this conversation with your industry perspective?

With this data, you can easily write personalized emails, targeting the right journalists. This will maximize your chances of getting their attention.

Media Earned in Healthcare

While earning a mention in The New York Times Where Forbes is certainly a feather in anyone’s hat, there are real benefits to targeting industry-focused publications rather than mainstream media. On the one hand, you will have a much better understanding of the typical reader of a publication aimed at your industry. The New York Times reaches such a wide and varied readership that your coverage is bound to find interested readers, but it will also reach many more indifferent readers.

Niche health industry publications have a clearly defined audience, which can give you a better return on investment for your public relations efforts. Because health industry publications are much more targeted, it’s possible to craft a more personalized pitch to grab journalists’ attention, or even publish your own article with your byline at the top.

Finally, industry publications are often more reliable in the areas you want to reach. A huge advantage of earned media, as opposed to paid advertising, is that an endorsement from an unbiased and trusted source is more effective in building customer trust, which is vital for health tech startups. It is also much cheaper than advertisements.

Make good use of your data

Now that you have all this information about pubs and journalists, you can craft your pitch. Remember that journalists want stories. They don’t want publicity. Even if you think the reader of the publication you’re targeting is a perfect fit for your health-tech product, the reporter writing the story doesn’t care.

Journalists are focused on providing useful information to their readers and are not particularly interested in your return on marketing investment. So you need to give them something they can use. And let me be painfully clear: they don’t want to write about your products and services. Now let me repeat that: they don’t want to write about your products and services. If you want coverage, you have to give reporters what they need, not what you want.

Writers and editors can spot template or cover layouts very easily. They can tell when you copy-paste something you sent to the other 49 journalists you found on Muckrack. Instead, take the time to personalize the pitch to reference previous articles they’ve written and explain why you can come up with a new angle or idea. Show them you’ve done your research, know the kind of story the publication typically runs, and have something authentic to add to the conversation.

So if you’re a health tech startup that sells software to hospitals to check in patients, you might notice that writer Katie Adams wrote an article for MedCity News about the software for optimizing Planning. But don’t send him a pitch for a story idea on the exact same thing. Reference this story in your pitch to prove you care, but offer it a new idea, like the financial costs of outdated CMS software in hospitals.

Publications and journalists love ideas that are topical, relevant, and story-driven. Don’t think of them as gatekeepers. See and treat them more like partners.

PR has evolved as much as healthcare

It used to be that PR was about the people you knew: the personal connections your PR agency had in the media industry and the exclusive access they could provide you as a client.

Today, public relations is a much more democratized field where the best story, pitched to the right person, has the greatest chance of making waves in your field. By using data to find journalists and publications to feature, you can ensure your health tech startup gets the coverage it deserves.

Photo: Digital Vision, Getty Images,