Lindsey Bergstahler currently serves as the Director of Content Marketing Solutions for the American Hospital Association (AHA), in which she designs and implements outreach strategies to connect healthcare companies with the AHA’s members and other healthcare decision makers. Prior to her time at the AHA, Dunn managed content development for Becker's Hospital Review, helping the publication evolve into a nationally recognized trade magazine. She also developed expertise in integrated marketing strategy and media buying during her tenure at Edelman and Starcom. Ms. Burgstahler received her B.A. in Speech Communication in 2004 and M.A. in Organizational Communication in 2008 from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
- What is your favorite part about your current position? How did you get to where you are now?
I currently serve as the director of content marketing solutions for the American Hospital Association. In my role, I work with healthcare companies who want to use content marketing to reach healthcare executives, specifically those who read the AHA’s numerous publications. Content marketing is a relatively new term, but it essentially represents the idea that brand marketers are increasingly using content (e.g. articles, reports, videos) rather than traditional print or banner ads to engage with potential customers. My role includes a mix of product management and client engagement responsibilities — my team helps our clients create and distribute content to reach their target audiences. The great thing about having this sort of role at the AHA, and not a more traditional publisher, is that all the profits from these activities go toward educating and advocating for hospitals across the country.
I joined the AHA just under a year ago, but I’ve been in healthcare B2B publishing since finishing graduate school. Prior to grad school, I had a different career trajectory altogether — on the agency side. My first job was as a media buyer at Starcom, and I worked in public relations at Edelman after that. The agency environment exposes you to a lot of clients and challenges quickly, but I wanted to make the move to B2B. I’ve always like business writing — I was attracted by the challenge of writing for a highly educated audience. What greater intellectual pursuit than synthesizing a topic in a way that provides value to someone at the highest levels of industry?
- What aspects of your education as a communication student have been most beneficial to your career?
I took as many organizational communication courses as I could, which provided great lessons about internal and external communications. I’ve also been pleasantly surprised how many interpersonal lessons have been put to use in the workplace. As a manager, being able to have successful conversations that lead to specific outcomes with employees is critical, and a lot of basic tenets of interpersonal communication (e.g., using “I” language) help build trust and respect. The most useful skill though has proved to be the ability to take disparate pieces of information, assess their validity and importance, synthesize this into key points and explain them in simple language. To me, this is at the heart of a Liberal Arts education and one that has been really influential in my ability to grow into roles of increasingly responsibility.
- What advice would you give to current communication students about the professional realm?
Try to narrow your career interests to a few key areas and look for internship or volunteer opportunities in these areas. For example, if you’d like to work in PR, look for PR internships or PR-related roles with campus organizations. Then if you later realize you want to try a different career track, you’ll find the communications skill set is highly transferrable. I jumped from advertising to PR and then to journalism and now to product and client management. While each has required specialized skills, are all built on a foundation of analyzing information, influencing others and communicating clearly.