Without a doubt, publicity has emerged as a more powerful alternative to advertising. Evidence suggests that an increasing number of physicians turn away from advertising and embrace publicity as a more cost-effective marketing tool. In an effort to set themselves apart from the competition, some business-savvy medical practitioners strive to generate meaningful and positive media coverage and build a positive image. However, competition for media attention continues to grow, both locally and nationally.
If you are a medical professional, trying to gain more exposure and grow your practice, you need to understand every critical aspect of the publicity process. It is crucial to your success. What you have to do is determine what is newsworthy, learn how to communicate story angles to the press, give winning interviews or write expert articles and tipsheets. This will allow you to rise above your competition and position yourself as a leading authority in your field.
I hope a few basic suggestions below will put you on the right track and help you initiate the process that will impact your reputation, image and earnings.
1. First and foremost, you need to clearly define your
Unique Selling Proposition (USP).
What sets you apart? What makes you special? Is there anything about your background, education, professional affiliations or charitable activities that is worthy of attention? Don t be afraid to ask your patients what they like about your services. You have to come up with a phrase or a few brief sentences that describe all the benefits you provide or capture the most unique and compelling aspects of your service. Your job is to differentiate your medical practice from other practices in a positive way. So, let the brainstorming session begin!
2. Write articles and tipsheets to create credibility.
Providing educational articles to local newspapers or magazines, read by your prospective patients, is a good way to increase awareness and create name recognition.
3. Embrace Internet as a powerful marketing tool.
In this day and age, you cannot ignore the power of the internet. What you should do is start blogging, create YouTube videos, post optimized press releases on your website to maximize search engine positioning. There are quite a few smart strategies you can use to spread the word around in Cyberspace. Tap into your creative potential and see what you can come up with.
4. Offer yourself as a source.
You may invite the editors to call you for an interview whenever a hot healthcare-related topic hits the news. It is a wise idea to put together a medical practice portfolio. It should include a black and white press photo, your curriculum vitae, a copy of any recent by-line article and a list of areas you specialize in. If you wish, you can even include a list of lectures you are willing to conduct for community groups. Such a portfolio is good for contacting both the media and community organizations.
Always remember, getting into the media takes patience, perseverance and professionalism. If you integrate my suggestions into your marketing plan, eventually you will reap the benefits of your efforts. Good luck with your endeavors!