Press releases must work; if they don't, then why are millions of them written and disseminated each year? Consider some of the benefits of press releases when it comes to enhancing your practice, and then learn why you should be creating them, how to do so effectively, and what to look for in a publicist if you don't have the time to write press releases yourself.
General Benefits of Press Releases
Search-engine optimization (SEO): Build content relevant links back to your site to bring new visitors.Links help with your credibility as a website. The more credibility, the higher you appear in search results.
Provide news on social media sites like LinkedIn and Facebook: Everyone seems to have a smartphone, tablet and/or laptop attached to them at all times. Patients and potential patients are constantly looking for status updates to ensure they did not miss news, whether it is earth-shattering or not. A press release is a perfect opportunity to briefly describe a noteworthy situation and provide a link.
New content for your website: Spiders on Google and other search engines are always looking for new content. Oblige them by adding the press release to your website.
Re-engage lapsed patients: OK, so you're sharing good news / practice news with current patients, but it may be even more important to let lapsed patients know your good news. Lapsed patients have formed opinions about your practice. Your "touch" via a press release may be enough to re-engage them with your practice.
Reasons to Issue a Press Release
Product / Service: Many chiropractic offices offer products and services including laser, nutrition, weight-loss services and more. Share the news about new products and services you are adding to the practice offerings. The logic also applies when you are offering enhancements to current products or services.
Mergers and Acquisitions: Depending on the stage of your career, you may be involved in the acquisition of a new office, merger with another practice, or divesting of an office or services you currently offer in your practice.
Other Cool Ideas: A few other reasons for issuing a press release include sharing case studies you've conducted; DCs and employees named to nonprofit boards; and awards/honors received.
Editors, the gatekeepers of the various media, are bombarded with press releases and other missives. PR has been used successfully to "get out the message." In many practices, the DC or a staff person may handle the press release. The press release can be faxed or mailed to your targeted media, or it can be posted as an online press release. There are many online press release services available.
Why Put Your Press Release Online?
- Build links to your site
- Build your online brand
- Help position you or your practice as the expert
- Searchable on newswire services forever
- Content indexed by search engines
- Published within hours of submission
- Can embed links, videos, podcasts, etc.
- Can include the keywords you are focusing on
Tips for Writing an Effective Press Release
- Include a hook in the story to grab attention
- Focus on one message for each release
- Know your audience; speak to them in the right language and tone
- Make sure your content is relevant and timely
- Satisfy potential patient demand – create content on other hot topics for those viewing the press release. Create a landing page with a call-to-action (CTA) geared toward your target objective
- Determine what your keywords are
- Put keywords in the URL string
- Use photos, video, etc., to engage the reader
- Alt tag all images to make them searchable
- Include a link to your website home page
- Include a link to the product or service page you're talking about, if applicable
- Include a link to a blog post relevant to the topic
Are You Up to the Task?
If you don't have the time to create press releases or feel your office staff skill set is not well-matched to the task, you may need a publicist. It is crucial to understand the responsibilities of the publicist. Some of their objectives should include:
- Understand the products and services they are publicizing
- Understand the needs of the media to whom they are pitching your practice
- Identify opportunities for positive media coverage, which capitalizes on the practice's philosophy and objectives
- Function as counsel with respect to external communications
- Develop communications strategies on key issues
- Promote a positive image of the practice
- Create publicity around your products and services
- Maintain existing / create new relationships with media figures who may be able to help your practice
What Should You Look for In a PR Firm?
Publicists have a vital role in sharing your message with the outside world. Some questions you should think about as you interview different firms:
- Do they have any experience in health care and chiropractic?
- Are they willing to give you a reference of a client who fired them?
- Do they discuss your marketing efforts in order to help you understand how to integrate PR into the overall strategy?
- Are they asking the right questions about your practice goals?
- Do they have specific metrics tied to your practice growth goals?
- Can they demonstrate how their efforts have helped another client reach their goals?
- Do you like them?
Public relations can be a crucial part of your marketing efforts. If you hire a PR firm, they will help match PR efforts with the rest of your marketing plan. Do-it-yourself (DIY) PR should be integrated it into your existing marketing plan first. Hire a coach or consultant to help your planning when necessary.
Rob Berman is a partner at Berman Partners, LLC, a medical device sales, service and marketing company. He has held a variety of marketing roles during his career. Rob can be contacted by phone at 860-707-4220 or by email at
. His company website for new lasers is www.bermanpartners.com and for used lasers www.usedlasercenter.com.