When it comes to deciding on what physician, medical center or hospital to choose, finding the right one can be a daunting task for most patients. The same is true for deciding on what medical procedures and modalities to choose. Most patients and laypeople find the majority of the health and medical information from the news. Whether this is for the good or the bad, would be a whole different article, but this is how the information world works. On the media’s side health and medical stories are a part of their bread and butter. Just about every magazine, newspaper and TV news show covers medical stories. The newest breakthroughs, treatments, studies are all featured in the news.
The marketing job of every hospital and medical center is to have its physicians, departments and stories featured in the media. Being featured as a news story offers the credibility, validation and trust factor that only media relations can offer. What hospitals have in their favor is the amount of different stories they can offer. When working with a hospital we generally begin by deciding if there are particular departments, procedures or physicians that they initially want to focus on. If so those become are starting points.
The luxury that a hospital has is the ability to switch from one story and specialty to the next. For example, an initial public relations campaign can be launched to feature new procedures in cardiology; after a month or so the focus can then shift to oncology, next stories on internal medicine can be presented to the media. Each department can be highlighted and each different approach offers the media new angles and media stories to cover. In this way the media bulls-eye becomes much bigger and a hospital’s chances of landing coverage in radio, TV, or print are vastly improved.
If you are launching a PR campaign for your hospital, the one thing that you want to ensure is that once you land media coverage, whoever is going to be doing the interview is prepared. There is nothing more depressing than not taking full advantage of a media story. Remember, particularly when it comes to TV, producers are looking for a physician who can not only deliver information, but can also keep the viewers interested. This does not mean that physicians need to be entertainers, but it does mean that they have to be fully versed in their topic, as well as conversational, upbeat and personable. Nothing turns a producer (and the viewing audience) off more than a medical expert who stares at his or her feet and drones on about studies and statistics in a monotone voice. That is a sure fire way to assure that the media won’t be calling you up for a follow up story. That is why media training for hospitals and physicians is imperative.
A powerful media story can not only bring in new patients, and build the hospital’s brand and credibility in the marketplace; it can also bring in funding. You want to present the hospital in the best possible light. You owe it to the media and the public, but you also owe it to the physicians and the institution. To do so you not only need an impactful message, but a prepared, articulate messenger.
Copyright © Anthony Mora 2012