Often overlooked by healthcare practitioners and healthcare marketers is the power of public relations. Unlike advertising, public relations provides you with credible marketing messages that make your service benefits more believable to your target audience than anything they might read in a paid advertisement.
As the name public relations implies, it includes methods and means by which an organization or individual (your practice or you) seeks to promote a favorable relationship with the public (your target audience of potential new patients and/or referral sources). Public relations (PR) methods and means may include such tactics as:
- Press releases (newsworthy announcements)
- News & feature stories
- Radio interviews
- TV appearances
- Special events (e.g. health screenings or health seminars)
What are you doing that is newsworthy?
Healthcare is among the most popular and sought-after news topics in America. Hardly a nightly TV news segment passes without some bit of health-related news being presented to viewers.
These stories often cover new treatments, new medical technologies and new ways of coping with various diseases. But they also present stories about doctors, dentists and physical therapists donating their time to worthy health causes in their communities or helping sick and needy people overseas (e.g. Doctors Without Borders, etc).
Many practitioners give to their communities. Many more do pro bono work here and abroad. And all too often, the public never hears about the terrific humanitarian work being done by these hard-working, dedicated individuals.
Public relations can be more cost-effective.
Anyone with money to spend and something to sell can run an ad. And that is often the tactic you resort to when you want new patients for a particular treatment or procedure. Of course, advertising has its place in your marketing mix but PR is often less expensive and more effective at building your credibility and gaining trust.
With PR, you don’t pay for space or airtime as you would with a print ad or TV spot. A typical TV news segment, for example, might be 3-4 minutes long. That’s 3-4 minutes of airtime you don’t have to pay for. Compare that to a typical 30-second TV commercial that may cost thousands of dollars or hundreds of thousands (depending on the size of your market).
A simple press release, properly written and presented, can often generate much better results at a fraction of the cost of a print ad. If your story is picked up, there’s a much better chance that it will be read and believed than any paid print ad.
To learn more about what public relations can do for your practice, call 1-800-679-1262 today and ask to speak with Ron Morgan, Senior Director of Client Services. You have nothing to lose and many new patients to gain.