5 ways to engage with PR as a medical or dental practice
Written by Georgina Senior, Public Relations Consultant, for Doctify
The healthcare industry is constantly evolving, public relations (PR) is proving to be needed more now than it ever has done. Whilst traditionally reputation and word of mouth have been the driving forces behind accelerating a practice’s growth, more and more people are doing their own research for the “right” practitioner. Those who stand out the most – something that can be accomplished with help of good PR – are more likely to win the business. Whilst advertising can give you exposure, only good PR can generate the credibility that media coverage inspires. We interviewed PR expert Georgina Senior to give you a few actionable in-house PR tactics you can start using now and gain exposure like your competitors.
Harness the power of social media
Using social media for business purposes isn’t ground-breaking, but so many practices fail to give it the time or attention it deserves. Whilst this doesn’t mean that you must be active on every social platform, it’s important that you have a platform that will serve as a resource for patients which will get them immersed and engaged in your business beyond simply “Liking” a page.
A Facebook page is the perfect platform for this. Remember, whenever a patient interacts with your practice’s page, in turn, you are reaching and connecting with both existing and potential customers, thus increasing brand awareness, driving traffic to your website and ultimately generating new business leads.
Build a press kit
A press kit refers to all the fundamental details that provide media with information about your company. It can be as simple or detailed as you want to make it, but as a minimum you should include your practice’s background, brand story services, practice manager or principal dentist bio, high-resolution images and most importantly, your media contact’s details.
It’s an important PR asset as you lay the foundation of your practice’s public image. Your press kit needs to be impactful enough for journalists to be intrigued and understand your practice better whilst also serving as a basic but important tool as and when media require it.
It’s is a good idea to make it available on your practice’s website so it can be easily accessed and downloaded by journalists and others interested.
Create a story
Whilst not everything you do in your practice will appear to be newsworthy to you, chances are that with a little creative thinking there will be certain topics that will garner attention for your practice.
After all, storytelling can help transform your practice’s identity and presence and create trust from patients or others in the industry. Perhaps you’re launching a new procedure or you’ve received funding for an innovative piece of equipment? Perhaps some of your best stories might come from you and your loyal patients who can act as a case study to tell the positive stories of their experiences with your practice.
Taking the time-out put a call into the local editor or distributing a short press release could result in a piece of coverage for your practice. It is a good idea to follow them on social media to understand what they generally write about and if they are working on something that would interest your practice. Although this could seem daunting at first, forming good relationships with your local media Editors is a low cost, efficient strategy to increase the awareness of any business and a great way to engage potential patients and build credibility.
Of course, not every story idea will be picked up and you shouldn’t be disheartened if it isn’t, but the potential to gain exposure for your practice at a minimal cost is very much a possibility.
Respond to #journorequest
There are a number of great paid-for services out there such as Response Source and Gorkana that provide regular email updates from journalists who are looking for experts and case studies to feature in their work. However, if you’re not quite ready to invest financially yet, #journorequest is a great hashtag on Twitter for businesses to follow. It’s a place where journalists, bloggers and broadcasters will tweet out requests seeking expert commentators.
Remember that you are an expert in your industry, so if a request in any way applies to you, make sure to respond by simply tweeting or emailing with the information they have asked for. It’s a strong way to obtain media coverage and a great method for building up a great media contact database, at no cost.
Make it personal
Remember that media are constantly bombarded with pitches, so yours needs to be creative and most importantly personal in order to stand out from the crowd.
Although it’s going to be more time consuming, doing your research and tailoring a press release to each individual journalist will bring more results and reduce the chance of annoying them by bombarding them with irrelevant information.
Find out who the most relevant journalist at the target publication is, what they have previously written about and make it clear to them why you believe your news to be relevant to their readers.
Finally, keep your pitch short and sweet, and make sure if you’re reaching out to anyone over email, your subject line is attention-grabbing and won’t be mistaken for junk!
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