The ultimate goal of a public relations campaign is to generate exposure for your practice or brand by using a variety of media vehicles to reach a specific targeted audience. Media outreach can be a vital component of a practice marketing strategy. Most important is having a complementary marketing campaign — which may include everything from email marketing, web optimisation, internal marketing and social networking, to community outreach and special events — to optimise your media outreach campaign.
Securing media coverage is an opportunity to shape and deliver content to your main target audiences (i.e. consumers). Exposure reaches prospective and current patients, reinforces your position as a leading authority and establishes your brand as a reliable resource. Public relations can be used to stimulate awareness of and demand for your services or products, and to strengthen your image. You will also be able to tell a deeper story. If you take the right steps, the coverage you generate can create a digital footprint that lives on indefinitely, enhancing your ongoing marketing efforts.
When a prospective patient reads a third-party article written about your products or services, or views coverage of you on television, it is seen as a powerful form of endorsement or confirmation of excellence. A publicist or public relations professional can generate exposure, which can, in turn, build greater credibility for your brand in the long-term. However, becoming a media source does not happen overnight. Public relations is only one component of a total marketing plan, and a minimum commitment of 1 year is generally a baseline in which you can expect to earn results.
Create a pitch or press release
A pitch is a story or angle presented to media in the hopes of securing coverage. You can also send out a press release to announce something new and noteworthy about your practice. It is a tool used to distribute news to media, relay information, introduce yourself, interest the media in your practice, and let them know you are available for interviews.
Whether a pitch or release, it should outline the who, what, when, where, why, and how of the subject to be pitched. The intent is to give the media all the information they need to explain why the topic is significant or interesting. Think about the following before creating a pitch or release.
1. Identify story angles that hold news value for the viewers, listeners, and consumers of media in your market area
Editors and producers are not interested in promoting you or your business. They want timely, unique stories that will grab the attention of their audience, incite conversation, increase their viewership/readership, and promote page views and shares. These include:
Every patient that comes into your practice has a story to tell. They all have a reason for wanting to improve their appearance and some of them are willing to share their story with a news reporter. Choose your candidate wisely and make sure you have their written approval.
National stories can (and do) direct local news. For instance, if the New York Times does a feature story on plastic surgery, a local station or newspaper might be interested in doing a similar story and will need a local expert resource. Creating a local angle from a national headline can use a patient, a doctor, a hospital, or a clinical study.
A number of societies and academies all issue annual statistics on plastic surgery. These reports contain vital information that can help you with your public relations campaign. A trend can be something that is happening often and in a lot of places, a new twist on an old theme, a new segment of a population doing something quirky, sensational or sexy.
The exhibit hall at the annual meeting is filled with opportunities. Many of the new technologies, fillers, and other products are of interest to the media, and a range of the larger firms offer physicians practice marketing support to help them promote their technology.
Philanthropic contributions are always of interest to the local media. When cosmetic surgery is performed for reconstructive reasons, it is often considered ‘surgery of the soul’ and is of interest to many.