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  • Writer's pictureJohn Cavender

Tackling Trade Media: mHealthIntelligence Editor Eric Wicklund on Healthcare Media

Eric Wicklund, Editor at mHealthIntelligence

Your company might be written up in Forbes, but will that truly drive results among a targeted demographic? By seeking coverage in a bigger pond, you also risk becoming a smaller, misunderstood fish. At Sutherlandgold, we have seen first-hand that engaging with a trade audience of industry specialists can help you stand out as one.

When your customers are increasingly coming from a specific vertical it is a good time to think about reaching trade media. You can gain validation from the trusted publications that focus on your industry as you work to establish yourself as an expert. For these reason, we launched our monthly series that highlights what trade journalists look for in a good story. Based on our conversations with leading journalists, each blog will focus on the concerns of a different trade media vertical. Look out for our coming blogs on fintech media and insurance media.

This month, we focused on healthcare media and spoke with Eric Wicklund, an editor at leading health trade mHealthIntelligence. He covers healthcare technology, focusing on telemedicine.

During our chat, Eric shared his favorite topics in healthcare, highlighted the specific audience mHealthIntelligence serves, and discussed how to catch his attention. From our conversation, we’ve outlined some key mistakes you might get wrong when sharing story ideas with trade media.

Trade Mistake 1: Wrong Audience

“First and foremost,” Eric said, “we are a business-to-business publication.” In this vein, what differentiates healthcare trade publications from the health section of national or local newspapers is the audience. The readership of mHealthIntelligence, like that of other trades, is made up of industry professionals or specialists.

As readers, healthcare specialists might seek out mHealthIntelligence because the outlet is deeply familiar with the industry. Specialists can then read stories from other industry experts, providing subject-specificity, a higher level of trust, and validation. Eric shares that healthcare providers subscribe to mHealth because they are interested in learning what is and is not working in caregiving. The takeaways they look for are information on new trends or services that may benefit a hospital or healthcare facility.

So, when reaching out to journalists in healthcare media like Eric, make sure not to frame your story ideas around a wider audience of non-technical consumers, who won’t understand the nitty-gritty of healthcare. This kind of outreach is better suited for the health desk at a national or local print publication.

A common story idea that Eric finds irrelevant is one about the cold and flu season. His audience knows all about increases in doctor visits during the fall and winter. They are the ones administering the treatment. While a consumer may benefit from reminders on what to do to prevent catching the flu, a healthcare audience needs to learn more about what trends or services will benefit their practice.

Trade Mistake 2: Focus on Products, Not Predictions

“Stories need to be vendor-neutral,” Eric said. “A ‘revolutionary’ device is nice, but I don’t want to be sold on a product because I can’t report on that.” Rather, Eric reports on broader trends and technological advancements. His coverage helps healthcare providers understand what tools are working that they could incorporate into their practices.

A product endorsement doesn’t help his readers, but a better understanding of a service as related to a wider trend does. If you are seeking to land your story in a trade, instead of framing your outreach around how significant your business or product is, frame it around what your advancements say about the space.

An example of this is telemedicine. According to Eric, “Every day there is a good story about telehealth.” He shares that, “A lot of innovative tech is helping to connect with people and change their lives. There are ways to prevent heart attacks ahead of time. There are ways to manage care from home. This means patients are no longer only paying for services rendered in a healthcare facility.”

So, by using your innovative products as an example of a wider industry trend, or presenting data points that your product has mapped, you can speak to a wider outlook that interests trade readers. While Eric might not be interested in the minute details of your new telemedicine product, he is interested in what doctors are saying about different telemedicine advancements at large.

Additionally, Eric noted that he is always interested in what is not working. He acknowledged that many healthtech businesses and startups are nervous to share any information about their failures. But, understanding what doesn’t work is always newsworthy. Healthcare providers need to know what tech to avoid just as much as they need to know what tech to use.

Trade Mistake 3: Vagueness

While national publications and broadcast news networks may take a more sweeping approach to health news, trade publications have a more narrow focus. Like any media outreach, it is important to understand a publication and a reporter’s area of interest.

To hone in on specifics, Eric said that “The medical community wants data to see where technology is being embraced and where there are results.” Case studies and data go a long way driving interest from trade media.

Eric added, “Clinical outcomes need to be the end result of a story: how patients are healthier, how they are better able to manage their health, how they are spending less money.” As such, he is most interested in stories that provide him with data or quotes from healthcare providers about how an advancement is benefitting their business.


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