Your medical practice is most likely focused on attracting patients from your own backyard and greater region, unless you’re a nationally renowned hospital such as the Cleveland Clinic, Mayo Clinic, or Johns Hopkins Hospital that attracts patient from across the U.S. and around the world.
Your outreach strategy then is hyper-local and this post will show you how to get started getting the attention of local media to generate some press for the healthcare services that you offer.
These publications, while often small and sometimes not as polished as national media outlets, they’re often entrenched in the local community and can really help build your offline (and online) presence.
What is Newsworthy?
The things that happen in your practice may be commonplace to you and just another day at the office. You probably think that you and your practice are rather routine…and maybe even boring.
But, some seemingly everyday events can be newsworthy, like hiring new staff. Creating a press release about this and sending it to local news outlets will result in publication. Staff will feel good seeing themselves in the press and it’s not outside of the possibility for their friends and family to share the news online!
If you’re celebrating a 5 or 10 year anniversary, buying a new building, have treated ‘X’ amount of patients, reached a milestone, updated certifications, received new training, added new state-of-the-art equipment, offering new services or have even won an award, your community and your patients want to know!
These types events are always newsworthy (and you shouldn’t be afraid to brag) because each shows that your practice is growing, learning, evolving, helping to greatly set you apart from your competition.
Get Involved, First
Getting involved with your local community is a great way to create something that is newsworthy. The best part is that it’s so very easy to do so!
We’ve worked with medical practices across the US and have seen a variety of ways practices can get involved in the local community.
Some of our favorites include:
- Speaking at your kid’s school,
- Hosting a seminar,
- Sponsoring an event or team,
- Exhibiting or manning a booth at an event,
- Donating to charities,
- and Volunteering at non-profit organizations
All of these are ways to get involved, do good and get some solid local press!
What Outlets Can I Pitch My Practice To?
Your first instinct may be to go directly to the largest newspaper in town and the TV news stations. While those are great outlets to get mentioned on, they’re not you’re only option and shouldn’t be your first pitch.
Keep in mind that when looking to get mentions about the practice in the news, you’re not only competing against the other healthcare practices in your area to get a story written about you, you’re also competing every other single business in the area that wants the spotlight.
Don’t forget, most news outlets also need to save space for national news articles well. Just because you’re local doesn’t mean that they care any more about you than the next guy.
All of that is to say, don’t overlook the following outlets (I’ve included outlets from our hometown – usually there’s something similar in your city) as they’re generally easier to work with and often drive the same results a large media outlet would:
- Local community newspapers: One of our success stories, Dr. Zelasko, was feature in his hometown paper, The Orchard Park Bee in the article OPHS grad heals aches, pains of Buffalo Bills.
- Locally focused blogs: Example, Buffalo Rising, a local media site that covers “the positive and interesting people and places that make our city unique.”
- Print Alt-weekly’s: Two examples, Artvoice and The Public.
- City/Regional Magazine: Example – Buffalo Spree, a city and regional magazine.
- Local Talk Radio: Example – WBEN NewsRadio accepts news submissions from local business.
- Business Journal: The Business Journals has an outlet in major U.S. metros. You can submit announcements of new hires in their People on the Move section and also email editors and journalists news about your practice.
- Your Alma Mater: The University at Buffalo has a magazine, At Buffalo, that regularly features stories on the success of their alumni.
- Health Magazine: Buffalo Healthy Living is a monthly regional magazine that focuses on health, fitness, and nutrition stories.
Now, know that most large media outlets prefer to “get the break” or have an exclusive on a story.
Often times, large publications will not publish news that’s already been covered by smaller, local, media. We recommend that if you’ve got major news or really want a placement your area’s largest outlets that you approach them first.
Make Yourself Available for Stories as an Expert
There’s two parts to making yourself available for stories as an expert:
- How to prove that you’re an expert
- How to make yourself available to editors
Starting a blog is key to demonstrating your expertise. Sharing your experiences, answering frequently asked questions about procedures, and debunking health myths or quelling fears will not only show you depth of knowledge but these posts give you something to point editors to.
Published journal articles are very authoritative and something that you can also use to show your expertise, however blogs are written in a different tone that show how relatable you are, your ability to explain complex topics to patients, and prove that you’re a good candidate to be quoted, interviewed, or featured in “ask an expert” features.
Many journalists that you’ll be engaging with aren’t doctors themselves or maybe they don’t have much of a scientific or medical background because they’re writers.
So, step one is to write content for your own website to prove that you know what you’re talking about.
The next step is reaching out to editors which can be accomplished in a variety of ways.
Be Social, Reach Out, Get Creative
If you want people to talk about you it’s important to connect with them first.
Be social, get on social media and share their articles, videos, and blog posts on your own feed. Interact with them online and establish a relationship.
Then you can reach out them, make an introduction about what you do.
Get creative with the story ideas. You’re not always going to find a writer or blogger that exclusively covers the specific area of expertise that you’re in. You may be able to comment on something based on your experience such as, “Many people come into my office for this common running injury but really, they need to go see this specialist that I refer them to.”
There’s always an angle, and such a variety of ways to get local press for your healthcare practice.