2. Include enough details and information

About the subject, such as location, description, and price to get your key messages across.

3. Use an expert quote

Getting a quote from at least one individual who plays a central role is also vital, as this quote may be picked up by a number of outlets and used in many ways.

4. Include bio info

Add a brief description of credentials, such as board certification or accreditation that applies to the topic or expert’s quotes.

5. Don’t forget contact information

This includes your email address, office phone number, and a work mobile phone number in order to set up interviews or answer follow-up questions as they arise. You could also list your Skype, website, Twitter handle, or Facebook page address as well. It is important to have a contact who is available to respond when media inquiries arise in a timely manner, or you will lose out on the opportunity when deadlines are short.

A word on patient stories

Although a public relations campaign can deliver results in many impactful ways, the responsibility is with the physician and his/her staff to constantly consider meaningful news, developments, case studies, testimonials, milestones, and creative story ideas to make it work. It is paramount to maintain a database of patients who have expressed a willingness to be interviewed and photographed or filmed by the media if such a request is made. Local or regional media outlets will usually request, and often require, a local patient to feature in the story who is willing to be interviewed on camera or in print using at a minimum his/her first name, and more commonly, his/her first and last name. Major news outlets, such as the New York Times or Washington Post, may also insist on age, location and profession.

Sending the pitch or release out to media

You can use a wide range of newswire services to distribute your press release, varying from free or inexpensive platforms, all the way up to the big leagues including PR Newswire and PR Web. Drafting an effective press release that hits all of your key messages requires experience, and every single word counts. Limit it to no more than a page and a half, double-spaced, and include your professional bio at the end of the release.

[pull_quote align=”right” ]Once your story has aired or been published, maximise the results by spreading the word via email blasts, web links, blogs and social media channels.[/pull_quote]

If you don’t get a response, it’s good to follow-up by phone a day or two after your initial email pitch. Editors and producers have assigned areas of focus. Knowing who to send your release to is as important as the quality of your press release or pitch.

Do your homework and identify the relevant contacts for cosmetic procedures, hire a public relations professional to develop a list for you or engage the services of a media distribution service, such as PR Newswire (www.prnewswire.com), PitchEngine (www.pitchengine.com) or PRWeb (www.prweb.com). Follow the instructions on these sites for ensuring your release is search engine optimisation (SEO) enriched.

When reaching out to traditional print media, cosmetic surgery-focused stories can be pitched to features, health/science, health/beauty or lifestyle editors. You can refine your contact list by reading the media you would like to appear in and taking note of the reporters who are covering cosmetic surgery, and health and beauty-related stories. Add these contacts to your list.

Television news desks work a bit differently. Include the general assignment desk in your contact list, as well as the consumer and/or health reporter. From there, build your list by watching different news segments, and carrying out online searches to see who has covered cosmetic surgeries in the past.

An experienced publicist with solid media contacts and experience working in the medical arena can make things happen that you would not be able to do by having someone on staff fill this role.

Responding to media interest

If you receive an interview request, begin mapping out the interview process. Not only do you need to be prepared, but your staff and your patient(s) will also need to be. Ask the reporter to provide a general idea of the interview direction and request the overall line of questioning. Remember, practice makes perfect.

Promote your coverage

Once your story has aired or been published, maximise the results by spreading the word via email blasts, web links, blogs and social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest).

Where a PR professional can help

Media training by public relations professionals is invaluable. They can boost your confidence, teach you how not to be misquoted or quoted out of context, polish your interview skills, and conduct practice interviews. They can help you relax on air, show you where to look when the camera rolls, help you maintain a steady voice, even during a hostile interview, and can give you guidance on what to wear for maximum impact.

If you are handling your public relations in-house, you will not have the time or expertise to follow-up to the extent that is required to generate maximum coverage. Enlisting a professional public relations consultant or firm with current connections to the specific media outlets you are targeting can take your platform to the next level, generating awareness and helping bring about a new patient base.

Regardless of whether you manage your own or outsource it, public relations is a powerful tool to spread your message, whether youÕre reaching regionally, nationally, or globally.