“The investment you will make into your community news and media outlets isn’t always monetary … the reward of your communication with us is trust, credibility and more qualified patient referrals who want what you’re offering. We’re looking for good stories … so give us some!” J.S., Journalist, Writer, Boston, MA
Written By Michael Tetreault, Editor (with contributing industry sources)
Successfully talking about your retainer-based or cash only medical practice to the media is no different from succeeding in any other part of your practice; it requires planning, strategy, hard work and allocation of resources. As our mission is to aid physicians in the professional education, public relations and awareness of this healthcare delivery mode, we’ve created for you and your staff a few helpful tips.
Whether you are preparing for a telephone interview with your local radio station, with a regional newspaper or with a national media outlet, our Media Training Guide For Doctors will help you. We hope you and your staff will find more confidence, helpful tips and the advice given helpful for your practice. You should feel comfortable and relaxed in any interview situation AND following these helpful steps will give you the ability to effectively control your message.
Use the media as a marketing tool, all the while portraying yourself as a professional resource
The first advice we encourage and coach physicians throughout the country is to position themselves as a trusted, professional and dependable resource with local media. You have something important to say, so say it well and say it often. You can market yourself as a source on certain procedures, techniques or healthcare specialties as well as general healthcare topics. But remember to focus on specific issues about which you have special expertise and the primary reasons they are interviewing you about at that time. Broadcast and print media are excellent forums for you to use in getting your name known in the community as an expert healthcare professional.
Be Ready When The Local Media Asks You For An Interview
This is so important and a point that many doctors forget. ‘Be ready!’
If you think the media won’t call, you’re wrong. One day very soon they will. You need to be ready. In the book The Media Training Bible, author Brad Phillips provides Eight Ways To Deliver A Better Phone Interview.
- Get out of your office: Don’t sit at your desk, where you can become easily distracted by incoming emails, phone calls, and office visitors. Find an empty conference room with no distractions, and tape a “Do Not Disturb—Interview in Progress” sign on the door.
- Bring your notes: It’s okay to have notes in front of you during phone interviews. Be careful not to “read” them to the reporter but to use them only as memory triggers. (See lesson 94 for more about the best way to prepare notes for an interview.)
- Get a headset: Telephone headsets are terrific gadgets for phone interviews. They allow you to use both of your hands to gesture, which adds emphasis to your voice, and they free you from cradling a phone to your neck in case you need to jot down a few notes during your call.
- Stand: When our trainees stand, they literally “think faster on their feet.” They also tend to project more authority, likely because pacing helps them use their nervous energy in a more productive manner.
- Smile: Smile when appropriate. The reporter (and audience, for radio interviews) can hear your warmth radiating through the phone.
- Prioritize audio quality: Speaker and cell phones have inferior sound quality and can be a barrier to easy communication. Plus, reporters may conclude, “He thinks he’s too important to pick up the damn phone?” It’s best to use a landline with a high-quality headset.
- Click, clack, and repeat: During print interviews, listen for the sound of typing on the other end—you’ll hear it when you say something that intrigues the reporter. That’s your cue to slow down and repeat what you’ve just said to make sure the reporter has time to capture every word. Also, don’t hesitate to check in with the reporter by asking whether your explanation made sense.
- Now, what did I just say? If you think you may have mangled a key quote, you can ask the reporter to read it back to you (some reporters will oblige, others won’t). Reporters may not be willing to change something you said if you don’t like the way you said it—but they usually will if you said something factually inaccurate. Source: http://www.mrmediatraining.com/2013/04/24/eight-ways-to-deliver-a-better-phone-interview/
Knowing the media outlets in your community
Don’t discount the hyper-local newspapers and smaller media outlets in your community, such as suburban newspapers and independent radio, TV and cable stations. Most people read these publications cover-to-cover and avoid the larger city and state media and print options. Some may not even receive news releases and press kits from local doctors and healthcare professionals, so you may want to send a letter introducing yourself to them as a resource on health topics and important healthcare issues. This is an excellent way to gain the trust of your local media and become a resource to them time after time.
Working with the media to develop stories on certain health issues
- Most newspapers and broadcast media have reporters who cover health specifically. Know who the reporters in your community are and be ready, willing and available for interviews.
Be aware of which health trends the media are covering, and be ready to expand upon them when the media contacts you. Know if national health events have additional local significance – such as a measles outbreak, new vaccination research, a school shooting or a local legislative initiative.
Sending Press Releases To The Media
Sending out press releases is a great way to get picked up by news sites and blogs. If you choose sites that link back to you, you can increase your ranking on Google. But which press release sites should you use?
Press releases are becoming a successful way of Internet advertising. These not only provide valuable inbound links, but also increase your reputation, brand, and expertise and web traffic … thus your chances of getting located by search engines and contacted by local media for interviews. But, all your efforts will get waste if the press release is not newsworthy or if it is distributed via a non-credible PR distribution site.
There are only a few PR services providers who can provide you maximum visibility and credibility on the Internet. Follow these guidelines while choosing a press release distribution site:
- Approach a site that allows you to optimize the press release for search engines by using header tags, tagging, anchor text and other SEO techniques.
- Keep away from sites that use No Follow tags. These tags are inserted into website code in order to stop the search engine from finding the site.
RESOURCE LIST | Where To Post Your Press Release Online
Here are a few press release sites that provide both free and paid distribution services. The list will help you in finding a reliable PR distribution service provider who will get you maximum visibility on the World Wide Web.
Free-Press-Release.com – PageRank 5- The best part of using it is that you can place banners on the press release that will point to your website. The paid service offered by this website has better ranking and many SEO benefits.
Free-Press-Box.com – PageRank 5- Submitting your press release on to this site is really easy. It accepts free submissions as well as paid submissions.
Free-Press-Index.com – PageRank 4- This PR site allows for instant submissions for free with inbound links to your site in place. For the paid service, they charge close $60, and distribute the release among 250,000 subscribers and journalists.
NewswireToday.com – PageRank 6- The design of website is not good and you will difficulty in navigation also. It offers common free distribution tools and the premium service will enable you to give logo, product picture and insert other features in the press release.
1888PressRelease.com – PageRank 5- The site has good page rank and also gets good traffic. Active links are allowed. If you opt for their paid service, the placement will be better and you will get features like image galleries & permanent archiving.
I-Newswire.com – PageRank 6- You get free PR distribution option to sites and search engines. If you opt for premium membership, the only difference is that you can add graphics on the PR.
SB Wire.com – PageRank 4- It is specially dedicated site too small to medium-sized businesses. With the free service you can submit your press release and get connected to bloggers in your niche. For the paid program, they offer many packages starting from $14.95 to $99.95 (for unlimited search engine friendly releases).
Free-Press-Release-Center.info – PageRank 4- It is a clean looking site and the increasing traffic level will increase the PageRank soon. You can do PR submission and distribution; include one link with the anchor text while availing free service. The paid service enables you to give three links, permanent archiving and has many more features.
Online-PR-News.com – PageRank 5- The free submission service allows you to give one live link in the contact information area, you can have a search engine friendly title and Meta. These releases will be archived. The paid submissions include social sharing buttons, and you can place 3 anchor text links, and also spice up your release with a suitable image.
Add-PR.com – PageRank 3- This is a site, that allows only free PR submissions. You can leave a live link in the contact details section. The site is clean and crisp, and allows the exposure to potentially thousands of Internet media outlets.
Big-News.biz – PageRank 4- This free submission site allows for easy registration, and you can quickly start on submitting your release. It allows for a link in the contact details section.
News-By-Company.com – PageRank 3- This is free press release site, for small and medium business enterprises. It allows for a link in the anchor text and one in the contact information section. The interface is clean and the site has good credibility.
PRLog.org – PageRank 6- It is an ordinary and functional looking site but results are good. It gives free distribution service for Google News and other search engines. Inbound links are allowed and the site is also properly optimized for search engines. You can schedule the press release.
Wide-PR.com – PageRank 4- This free PR site is pretty good with its services, as with every free submission, you get live links automatically integrated into your free press release. You can also load 3 images and also your company logo. Needless to say you can use optimized tags and keywords.
Press-Release-Point.com – PageRank 5- This is a free site where you can sign up for either distribution of the release or for writing releases or both. It allows for 4 links in the body and 3 links in the contact section.
OpenPR.com – PageRank 5-This service distribution site is based in Germany. It provides free submission and distribution along with SEO benefits.
PRLeap.com – PageRank 5-The site is said to deliver reasonable results. It is nice and clean. The price of press release starts from $49 – $149, depending on the level of service you have opted for. The distribution is done on search engines, RSS feeds and newswires. .
Press-Media-Wire.com – PageRank 4- This paid submission site offers three packages ranging from $19 to $99 per release. They assure you visibility with tools like video and pictures.
PR-Fire.co.uk – PageRank 5- This paid site offers tailor made packages from £299, where they do all the work from sourcing a story to the final copy. They also allow for a free submission onto their site.
PR.com – PageRank 6- The domain name is superb but you can say the services are not so appealing. The site has one free basic service and two paid services of $199 and $499. You can give full company profile by taking paid option.
Serving as a liaison from your community to CMT
Don’t forget to report to us on your publicity efforts by providing us with feedback, comments or suggestions. We, in turn, can provide better advice when we know what you need. Email your activities or press releases to: firstname.lastname@example.org or call us and tell us about it: tel: 770-455-1650.