In today’s episode, we are joined by Kevin Pho MD the founder of the top physician blogging website KevinMD.com. Dr. Pho joins us to discuss how he created such a powerful personal brand and what other physicians can be doing to grow as a thought leader and create an engaged audience.
What made you decide that you were going to build a personal brand and create content?
When I first started, there weren’t very many physician blogs. In fact, you probably count them on one hand and blogging itself was just in its infancy. I remember at that time in 2002, there was a drug recall and I wrote an article about it. And the next day I was in the exam room with the patient. And the first thing that patient said to me was, thank you, Doctor Pho.
I actually read your blog post this morning and I was comforted by what you had to say. And now I realize there are other options for this drug that was recalled. And that was when I realized that we could really have a voice not only in the exam room, but outside of the exam room as well. And it’s tremendously important for us to have these platforms because, as you know, patients are going online to research a health condition.
Studies say that seven out of ten Internet users use the Web to look for health care information. And especially now, we’re in the midst of a pandemic and we have to be aware that there is a lot of misinformation and a lot of bad medical information that’s out there.
When you began your journey in investing in content online what was some of your biggest challenges?
In medical school we have very little to no training or knowledge of social media, being an effective copywriter, marketing, building a website and platform so that can be a struggle starting out.
I essentially learned on the fly. The good news about medicine is that we’re always a few years behind other industries. So if you look at other industries. Like the tech industry, and see some of the trends that they’re going through and you apply them to health care, you’ll always be a few years ahead of the curve. And that’s essentially what I did. I just looked at trends from other industries and I thought to myself, how can we apply these trends to medicine? How can online platforms in other areas and venues apply to health care medicine?
How has investing in healthcare content marketing shaped your career as a physician and professionally?
It’s definitely giving me diversity in terms of what I do professionally. That’s certainly obvious.
I don’t see patients for five days a week. I’m able to see patients say three days a week. And I can do not only my site, but I have a speaking platform as well where I share my journey and keynote speeches. I also run a physician speakers bureau where I can connect great practicing physicians who are wonderful on stage with some of the other events that I’ve been in.
What is the biggest tip if you are looking to get into speaking as a physician you have?
It always starts with why they want to speak. Never speak for the sake of speaking, but always have a purpose behind that.
You want to frame your message in terms of stories.
Because your audience is would remember a story.
What advice do you have for medical doctors looking to make the investment in writing content?
When I talk to physicians I always tell them they need to know why they want to do it first. They’ve got to start with the purpose.
Start with your why. What do you want to do? Connect with patients? You want to advocate for change? They want to talk about health care reform? Or do you simply want to manage your online reputation?
You want to start with that reason first and then use social media platforms that are out there to to to support why you’re doing this.
What is your platform of choice?
I think that is no secret. It’s going to be Facebook.
Now that they’ve changed the algorithm and they want to surface more reputable content, I think that is a little bit more challenging to get attention from Facebook, because so many people are vying for that audience. But still, in terms of social platform, Facebook is really a place not only where patients are, but other physicians are as well.
How do you think physicians investing in personal branding and content marketing can make the most of the experience?
What do you want your legacy to look like?
I want to push the boundaries as to what it means to be a doctor.
We have so many avenues where we can affect patients, where we can impact health care, where we can make a difference with health care policy and reform, where it isn’t just one way where we can make that difference. You can now have a podcast. You can now have a blog. You can now share videos. You could have a Facebook presence. And I think there are so many ways where you can make a difference. And I’ll be the first to tell you that I’m certainly not the greatest doctor. And I didn’t pass first in my class. I didn’t have the greatest grades when I was in medical school and residency. I’m certainly average in every way.
I think that now we have tools that can where we can step outside of that box. Even though I’m certainly average, I got average grades, but I’ve made myself unique in terms of having this online platform and really growing it over a span of 18 years. So now I have something that certainly differentiates me from other physicians who are out there. When you ask about my legacy, I think that’s probably it. I want to push the boundaries as to what it means to be a physician.
How can people get connected with you or book you for speaking?
Simply by visiting kevinmd.com
I also run a physician speakers bureau. And I know during a pandemic speaking, which is really kind of in the backdrop of a lot of event organizers right now. But I have a wonderful group at physicianspeaking.com.
Kevin Pho MD Bio
Kevin is a practicing, board-certified internal medicine physician, a national media commentator, co-author of the book, Establishing, Managing, and Protecting Your Online Reputation: A Social Media Guide for Physicians and Medical Practices, and an acclaimed keynote speaker.
He is the owner, founder, and editor of KevinMD.com, where he also conceives and executes digital strategy, and directs technology infrastructure. It now receives over 3 million monthly page views, and exceeds 250,000 followers on Facebook and Twitter.
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Thanks for listening. Kelley Knott