By Carmesha Thompson
A couple of weeks ago, I went to a dinner party and began chatting with a doctor who specialized in otolaryngology. If you’re like me and have no idea what type of specialty this is, it means ear, nose and throat. After telling him, I worked in the public relations, marketing and advertising industry, he admitted that even though his sister worked in PR as well, he could never gain a firm understanding on the industry as a whole.
After providing a general summary of public relations, I suggested he give MassMedia, an agency that specializes in healthcare public relations, a call in order to grow his practice. He said he understood the benefits of healthcare advertising and medical marketing, but didn’t see the added value in public relations.
“I’m sure being on the news for something good can’t hurt, but I don’t see why I should put so much work towards it or why I should pay someone else to do it,” he said.
I started thinking that if this doctor felt this way, then there are probably more that feel the same way. It’s important for doctors to understand the full positive impact that excellent PR can have on their practice and oneway this impact can be felt is by being positioned as a credible expert source.
When viewers see anyone representing an industry on the news, they automatically assume that that person is an expert in their field whose knowledge can be trusted and valued. That is because the news is an objective third-party. It is an impartial source (i.e. no hidden agendas) with an established reputation. Unlike advertising, people can not pay news stations and papers in order to be featured, mentioned or quoted. Viewers know this, so when they see an industry representative on or in the news, they automatically trust that representative and believe the suggestions or information they are providing to be true.
The media is always looking for healthcare expert sources to comment on stories. With all of the media coverage that the flu season has been receiving lately, there were numerous news stories and articles that the doctor I talked to could have been quoted in as a source since he is an ear, nose and throat doctor.
If he had been in the media, people that saw him or read an article in which he was used as a source would have thought of him as a premier expert in his field, whether he is or isn’t, with no hesitation and this might have lead them to look him up for service. That is how powerful the media is and that is a key component of healthcare public relations.
So how do you get in front of the media? That is where MassMedia Healthcare Marketing, a public relations firm in Nevada, comes in. When they need a source, the media is never going to randomly look up a doctor in the phonebook or on the Internet. They are going to turn to a public relations firm that represents healthcare clients, such as MassMedia, to bring the reliable and readily available sources to them.
However MassMedia doesn’t wait for reporters to come to them. They go to the healthcare reporters by ensuring that the media know of their healthcare clients and by pitching their healthcare clients for feature articles and news segments. There are additional ways to get in front of the media, but positioning yourself and/ or your practice as a credible source in your industry is an excellent start.
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