Media is everyone’s job. This is just one of the insights Bob Szafranski shared with a room full of attendees at this year’s SHSMD Annual Conference in Chicago. As a senior vice president at public relations powerhouse Edelman, he’s worked with numerous healthcare organizations to help them tell stories that get picked up by the media.
So what’s the secret to the perfect pitch? Here’s some tips of what to include in your news release:
- Data: Be able to back up what you’re saying. What’s new? What’s improved?
- Drama: You have to humanize and personalize the story. Be aware of privacy issues, but do your best to include a patient element.
- Dimension: Figure out if this is a local or national story and package accordingly. Remember, not every story is a national story but don’t underestimate the potential of your pitch. Many national news outlets have weekly or daily health reports or health sections online and they need content.
It’s All About Presentation
Szafranski also recommends that you don’t just send a release to editors – you need to send a package. His tips:
- Use Video: Video boosts search results.
- Include Images: Many online outlets like to use image slideshows, give them the pictures.
- Know Your Keywords: For example if you’re talking about protecting people from mosquito bites use the phrase bug spray not insect repellant.
- Validate Your Story: Offer reporters another person to contact for a quote that gives credibility to what you’re saying. This could be your physicians, your patients, or an independent third party like someone from the American Hospital Association.
Overall Szafranski provided a lot of great advice to healthcare marketers looking to inject their PR program with some new enthusiasm. But his best insight? Good public relations takes commitment from your hospital. You need to produce and approve timely content every day. To be truly successful he suggests taking a newsroom approach – meet every morning and talk about trending topics, assign someone to cover the story and get it approved and distributed as fast as you can.
Does your organization take a newsroom approach? If so we’d love to hear about it! And to learn some content marketing tricks that could help your PR efforts, be sure to read the content marketing section of our Web Writing for Healthcare white paper.