An article that appeared in the Toronto Star on May 29 is one of the best examples of positive press for our profession that I have seen in more than 20 years of journalism. It contains the important basic information about chiropractic, of course, but the real punch to the story are the profiles of the three doctors of chiropractic involved in research, hospital collaboration and pre-admission screenings for neurosurgery. These profiles present chiropractic as a progressive profession that is very much a part of the future of health care. (See "More Positive Press for the Profession")
How does an article like this happen? And how can we get more articles like this published, particularly in your community? There are actually several components to getting positive media exposure (press) for chiropractic:
- A good story to tell. The old journalism adage is still true: "When a dog bites a man, that is not news, because it happens so often. But if a man bites a dog, that is news."1 The article in the Toronto Star gives readers something unusual to read about.
- Understandable information. The information provided to the author of the Toronto Star article is something she and her audience can understand and even relate to. This is true even though some of the information she gained from her interviews was probably too technical and thus is not included in the article.
- Persistent communication. This is not the first time the Toronto Star has heard about chiropractic. The Canadian Chiropractic Association, the Ontario Chiropractic Association and the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College all have public relations departments that send a steady stream of news and information to the media in Toronto.
The same thing is happening in the United States through the efforts of the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress (FCP). After recently signing NFL legend Jerry Rice to be one of its spokespersons, the foundation has already sent out matte (printed) releases and radio and television public service announcements (PSAs) all across the country. This is in addition to the Jerry Rice advertisements the foundation has placed in ESPN - the Magazine, Woman's Health, Men's Fitness, Sports Illustrated and USA Today.
The matte release featuring Jerry Rice was sent to more than 10,000 news publications throughout the country, with extremely positive results. As I write this article (June 11), the release already has generated 228 news articles in 16 different states, reaching a total combined readership of more than 8 million. (To review a report of the current results of this effort, visit www.foundation4cp.com/documents and click on the "News Coverage" link.)
The foundation also produced a 30-second PSA radio spot featuring Jerry Rice, which also generated terrific exposure. The PSA went to 5,000 radio stations; so far, it has appeared 170 times on 142 radio stations with a total combined audience of 15,571,456 listeners in 34 different states. (This report is also available on the foundation Web site.)
But the television PSA has been the best on them all. Since being issued in late April to 1,000 stations across the country, this PSA has been broadcast 92 times in 24 different states with a combined audience of 57,166,604. (Report available on the Web.) Yes, that's more than 57 million people who have potentially seen a pro-chiropractic public service announcement and are now better informed about the benefits of chiropractic care.
Again, this is not the first marketing campaign the foundation has engaged in. The FCP has been placing advertising in prestigious consumer publications for more than three years, and sending out press releases, radio spots and TV spots for more than two-and-a-half years. These efforts are effective because we persistently provide understandable information and have a great story to tell about chiropractic.
You can use some of these same ads and PSAs in your community. They don't cost you anything to submit to your local television or radio station. All you need to be is a supporter of the foundation.
Mike Flynn, DC, who had done so much for our profession, has been a member of the foundation from the beginning. He is interested in sharing what the FCP can do in your community. Feel free to give him a call at 985-872-5072 and learn how you and your community can be a part of this growing campaign to get more positive press for chiropractic.
- Attributed to New York Sun editor John B. Bogart (1848 - 1921).
Click here for more information about Donald M. Petersen Jr., BS, HCD(hc), FICC(h), Publisher.