As stated in part one of this two part series on healthcare PR and media relations is the most impactful type of marketing that a physician can utilize. Yes, you can by ads, commercial time and send out direct mail pieces. Those approaches can be effective, but they present you in a different light. Consumers and patients are savvier than ever and they know that an ad or a commercial is there because it was paid for. PR is the only form of marketing that establishes you as an expert, offers you the validation and credibility of being featured as a news story and reaches your target market, in other words potential patients.
Over the past two decades, we’ve worked with hundreds of physicians. We’ve also represented hospitals and medical centers. Depending on their needs and objectives we’ve helped physicians grow their practice, build their brand, establish themselves locally and nationally, and land publishing and media opportunities.
Knowing the secrets of medical PR is an immensely valuable tool for a physician. As I mentioned, I’ve broken this down into two separate articles. The first article covered the first six must-know secrets. Seven to twelve are covered here. These are not listed in order of importance. All of these points are paramount. So, make a point to read both articles. These two articles offer an overview of the 12 healthcare PR secrets every physician must now in order to launch and implement an effective and impactful media campaign.
7) Understand that the media is in the business of edutainment
For good or ill, the media is how most of the public learns about health and medical oriented topics. Attention spans are short and understanding that the media looks for quick interesting explanations. Remember you are not trying to fully explain a topic during an interview but to help bring some understanding to the issue. When you primarily want is to establish yourself as the go to physician for prospective patients who are dealing with issues that have to do with your specialty. The interview or article is simply the door opener. But, for a producer, or writer or editor to want to call on you for an interview, you have to make them feel comfortable that they’re going to come away with a good interview. You don’t have to turn into a showman (or woman) but at the same time, you don’t want to deliver information in a boring monotone using medical verbiage that most of the public won’t comprehend. Imagine you’re talking to a group of grade school kids, how would you explain the topic to them?
8) Media Coverage is an invaluable SEO Tool
Apart from watching interviews on TV, listening to stories on the radio or reading articles in magazines and newspapers, the public generally searches the web to find information. And, what the public generally searches for are media stories about the specific topic their researching. So, by being featured in the media, you are positioning yourself to be found online. It’s an amazing SEO tool
9) The importance of patient stories
You are the expert, you are the physician, but your patients tell your stories. The media is not interviewing you to hear about your schooling or degrees, they want to know how you’d helped change patient’s lives. The audience, your prospective patients are watching reading or listening to see what they can learn that will benefit themselves, a loved one or an acquaintance. Nothing illustrates your expertise more dramatically than impactful patient stories.
10) Community Outreach
Combine community outreach with media outreach. Look for opportunities to speak at community functions or business gatherings. Search out seminars or events that you can speak at. Then invite the media to cover the event. This approach needs to be carefully thought out. Merely speaking at an event or workshop is generally not enough to interest the media, so you need to come up with a compelling call to action. It can be done, but needs to be carefully mapped out.
11) Understand the importance of online media coverage.
Your blog and your outreach on the various social media platforms is incredibly important. It affords you a way to connect with the public and to your media placements, but that’s not what I’m talking about here. What I’m referring to is garnering media placements in online publications and appropriate blogs that cover your topic. Many still have a resistance to being featured in online magazines. There is still the belief that online publications are somehow second rate and that paper publications are where all the focus should be placed. Whereas it is true that some online publications are less important than others, many now attract more eyeballs than traditional paper magazines. Don’t look at this as an either/or decision. You want coverage in both online media and legacy media. Coverage in online publications can be remarkably important. They generally reach a specific target market, they help build your media portfolio, they help establish your brand and you can use online coverage to help garner more mainstream coverage. So, from now on, when your PR consultant tells you that an online publication is interested in doing a story on you, don’t minimize that opportunity. Maximize it.
12) Utilize you PR and media coverage
Landing that story or interview is like gold. It’s remarkably valuable. But you are the one who decides exactly how valuable your media coverage will be. How? By how you utilize your media. One strategy is to do nothing but the interviews. That alone can be remarkably beneficial, but in essence it’s a waste of an incredibly valuable asset. If you really want to maximize your public relations efforts, you want to utilize your media. What I mean by that is that you want to capitalize on the various ways you can get your media in front of the public and in front of other media outlets. For example, you want to post links on all of your media in your various social media platforms, you want to highlight your media coverage on your blog, you want to utilize your media in all of your marketing efforts, which could include ads, commercials, and direct mail pieces. You also want to have copies of your media available in our office or at seminars, etc. You get the idea. You want the media you have to work for you, but for that to happen you need to work your media.
So, those are the top 12 secrets of medical PR. Yes, there are more (there are always more) but if you study these 12 and follow the advice outlined, you will be well on your way to establishing yourself as an expert in your field and reaching your target marked, and prospective patients, via the credibility and validation of being featured in the news.
Copyright © Anthony Mora Communications 2014