Physicians, more than those in other professions, can benefit from an effective media campaign and particularly from TV coverage. The public generally learns about the latest medical breakthroughs, health-oriented news, or studies via the media, whether it’s stories on the local news, CNN, the morning shows or the daytime talk shows such as the Doctors or Dr. Oz. Physicians who are featured in the media are seen as the experts, as those the media turns to for information on health and medical oriented stories. That validation and credibility is the most valuable marketing tool available. Media exposure not only reaches your target market and drives prospective patients it builds an invaluable trust factor.
Marketing a medical practice via print ads or commercials can work, but that approach has inherent risks. No patient wants to feel that he or she is being “sold”. Patients want to see someone they trust, someone they feel is the best in their field. It is that validation and trust factor that comes with being featured in the media. A strong PR campaign is not just about marketing; it is also about educating the public. An effective media campaign educates and informs. Used effectively, PR can not only build a practice, it can usher in new concepts and perspectives and shape the ideas of a community. Because of that, it’s important that physicians see and present themselves as educators.
TV is only one avenue, coverage in newspapers, magazines, radio and in online publications and blogs is also incredibly important, but, being featured on TV can be a. So, how do you land a TV segment? How do you present yourself to the media as an expert in your filed, as a physician that the media will call on?
First you need to come up with a compelling story, a media hook, a reason why the producer of a local or national TV show will want to book you. How do you develop story ideas to present to the media?
- Set up a brainstorming session with your PR consultant, or, if you’re doing this in-house, meet with members of your staff that understand your practice.
- Allow everyone involved to speak freely. Start with a list of the obvious stories, then drill down to more unique stories or review different ways to present stories.
- Think out of the box. Be creative. Remember you don’t have to use all of these stories, but the deeper you drill, the better the chances of finding a great story, so let the ideas flow-freely. You’re pitching TV, so think in terms of the strongest visual stories you can present
- Divide the stories as per the various media outlets you’ll be approaching. There will be some stories that are timely, others that are seasonal and others that are evergreen. Come up with a schedule of when to pitch which stories
- Divide the stories into local, regional and national. Different media outlets have different needs. You want to pitch towards their specific needs
Effective public relations comes down to one thing, effective storytelling. For over two decades, we’ve placed clients in a wide range of media outlets from the Today Show and CNN, to local and regional TV shows. What producers are looking for are stories and that’s what we focus on. With that in mind, start thinking in terms of stories. Study the five points listed above and start perfecting your stories and presentations. In the next article, I’ll review how to understand the media’s needs when presenting yourself to producers.
Copyright © Anthony Mora Communications 2014