Media relations is the most impactful type of marketing that a physician can utilize. It 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.
PR can help build a practice, establish you as an expert, and enhance any other form of marketing or outreach including your SEO efforts.
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.
But for your public relations efforts to be truly effective, you need to know the basics and understand the media’s needs. The following is an overview of the 12 healthcare PR secrets every physician must know in order to launch and implement an effective and impactful media campaign.
I’ve broken this down into two separate articles, Here we’ll cover the first five must know secrets, the rest will be covered in my next blog post. These are not listed in order of importance. All of these points are paramount. So, make a point to read both articles.
1) Present yourself as an expert
Particularly when it comes to healthcare, the public and the media are continually looking for experts to help explain a particular field, a procedure, or a health-oriented story that’s in the news. Position yourself as one of the premiere experts in your field who can answer questions, educate, and explain different aspects to do with your area of expertise. Once the various media outlets realize that you will work with them and can answer their questions, they’ll start coming to you. Don’t narrow your bull’s-eye when it comes to presenting yourself as an expert. In other words, if there is a particular topic of procedure you’re particularly interested in addressing, don’t limit yourself to only that topic. Present yourself as an expert that the media can call on. Then when you pitch them a story you want to discuss, the chances of them responding positively are much greater. Also, every media interview or appearance helps build your brand, your media resume.
2) Address a new topic
If you do have a new topic or procedure that you want to present, make sure that you focus on how and why it’s new and unique. Also, as important as the topic itself, make a strong case for why you should be the one to discuss it. Why should the media interview you as opposed to a number of other physicians in your field? A few years back we were working with a physician who was using a new medical procedure. He was not the one who invented it, but was one of the first few to perform it. The inventor of the procedure did not launch a PR campaign, we did and were able to land coverage in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times as well as on CNN and other major media outlets. Our client was established as the expert and the go-to physician when it came to that particular procedure.
3) Address a topic that is currently being discussed in the news
If there is a story that is being covered in the news that relates to your field of expertise, present yourself as an expert who can address that particular issue. Study the news coverage and see if you can come up with a new or different angle or approach to the story, or simply present yourself as an expert who can make sense of or clarify the story. Present yourself as an authority who can meet the media’s needs and can explain a topic to the general public in layman’s terms.
4) Stay Timely and Relevant
Every month is dedicated to a number of different health oriented issues. There is a month dedicated to heart healthcare, breast healthcare, prostate, as well as cancer, diabetes, you get the picture. The Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development publishes an annual guide that lists the focus on the various months. Study the list and come up with relevant and creative ways to appropriate pitch your stories so they coincide with these observances.
5) Realize the importance of local media coverage
Local and regional PR can be invaluable. Not only can that type of coverage reach your target market and help to build your practice, it also helps you establish yourself as an expert and build your brand so that you can position yourself in a way to pitch yourself to the national media. It is a cumulative process, media begets media.
6) Understand the importance of national PR
It’s interesting, I’ve worked with clients who believe that only national media coverage can benefit them and their practice and others who feel that only local media is important and that national coverage is a waste of time. This is not an either/or discussion. Think of both types of media having an important part in your overall public relations campaign. As mentioned above, local and regional media is extremely important, but national coverage can be vital. Besides, all national coverage has a local component to it. We’ve had clients on the Today Show and Ellen as well as in USA Today, Allure, Men’s Health and Time. Yes, those are all national outlets, but each of those have viewers or readers in your specific region or locale. And the credibility factor that comes with being featured in a national outlet can’t be minimized. You can then use that on your website, blog and other marketing material. Also, we’ve had clients who have been able to develop a national or international clientele that was driven by national media coverage.
So those are the first Six PR Secrets for Physicians. I’ll be outlining the next six in my upcoming blog. So, as they say, to be continued.
If you have any questions, feel free to email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © Anthony Mora Communications 2014