The quote in the title is from Sally Hogshead, who was a keynote speaker at a marketing conference I attended recently. Her talk was inspiring, but I had one issue with her statement.
In medicine it’s just plain false.
If you have cancer or gall bladder disease or a bad knee, you look for “better” in your doctor, not “different.” You want to be healthy, and you’d rather not be the guinea pig for a doctor with “different” ideas. Best is the only thing better than better in this circumstance.
Even so, I realized that something from Sally’s talk resonated with me – it’s been nagging at me since I returned home.
The other thing she said that keeps dancing around in my head is that we shouldn’t try to become someone we are not, we should become more of who we are. These two comments have been doing the tango in my brain because I knew they were important, but I couldn’t make the leap to medicine with them.
It’s Not About the Medicine
Finally, because I’m slow, it occurred to me. It’s not about being “different” in the practice of medicine, it’s about being different as a person. Not different for the sake of different, but different in the sense that you are allowing yourself to come through in how you interact with your patients . When you explain diagnoses, elicit critical history, put a patient at ease with the physical exam, you can’t fake it by acting like your image of the perfect doctor. Being yourself in these situation is what makes you good at the patient relationship part of medical practice.
Sure, some patients will leave because they don’t like the ways you are different. But other patients will stay. Your difference is what attracts them. It puts them at ease and makes them trust you. Whether you are the serious and kind Marcus Welby type or the always kidding Patch Adams type or the clinical to the extreme Lilith Crane type, there are patients who will be drawn to you. And this is where different is better than better. Way better. Because it draws the right patients to you and creates a practice that you will thrive in.
But you know this. If you aren’t brand new, you’ve figured out how to be yourself and relate to your patients in a way that is authentic to you.
Your Content Needs to Reflect You
The problem rears its head when you try to market your medical practice. For some reason, many of the most personable people become stiff and, well, kind of boring, when they try to create marketing content. Maybe it’s all those years of school where every presentation you made and journal article you read was dry as a bone.
But if you are creating content for your practice – whether it’s an in-your-face blog, an irreverent You Tube video, or a podcast that balances humor and evidence – you have to let your you-ness shine through.
Let’s take urinary incontinence as an example. If you write it up like it’s on WebMD or Mayo with clinical terminology and very little side commentary, then that’s going to attract a specific kind of patient. Probably someone who wants a doctor who wears a tie and keeps things pretty formal.
You could write it up like you are discussing it with a friend, using common language like “pee” and joking a little about the potential embarrassment of it all. That’s going to attract someone different altogether.
Or if you write it up from a more sympathetic angle – you understand how hard it is, you want to help get your patient back to the activities they love – that will draw the type of person who likes a little TLC and hand-holding. Which is great if you’re the hand-holding type.
In fact, each of these approaches and many more can work great in content marketing – if it reflects who you are. Because when patients find that connection with what you write, they are really finding a connection with you and discovering the kind of doctor they want to partner with in their health care.
So whether you are a tell-it-like-it-is kind of doc or a let’s-keep-it-formal sort, become more of who you are in your content marketing. Because in this case different really is better than better.
Discover the Differences That Make You Fascinating
If you want a little help with this concept, or just want to have a little fun, take Sally Hogshead’s Fascination Advantage evaluation. It’s a short 28-question quiz and won’t take more than a few minutes. The results help you understand the qualities that the world sees in your personality – what makes you different and valuable to them.
Normally, Sally charges $35 dollars for this quiz, but she shared a code with us at the conference and told us to go share it with the world. So that’s what I’m doing today. Go have fun with it, and maybe even have the folks in your office take it, too. It makes for some fun lunchtime conversation! Just use this code to find your Fascination Advantage: iconshare.
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Photo Credit: © Mark Carrel via Dollar Photo Club