“All you have to do,” someone once told every young doctor, “is be a good provider and everything will take care of itself.”
Let’s put that notion at the top of this list of promotional myths. The mistaken belief—that simply being a good doctor will bring new patients through your door—will probably make you and your practice another “best kept secret” in your service area.
Successful medical practices have long recognized the purpose and place of marketing, advertising and publicity to reach prospective new patients and to let the target audience know how your services can benefit them.
So while we’re identifying roadblock notions about publicity, let’s explode a few other common myths.
Myth: Publicity is “all-about-me.” No doubt your our beloved Aunt Tildie would be proud of you, but the chief criteria for successful publicity is news that is of interest or benefit to the media’s readers. Create a news release that is reader-directed and provides value or useful information to the prospective audience.
Myth: My editor prints anything I send. Editors who don’t discriminate about the nature or quality of news material for print are likely to be small or local or simply looking to fill space. And if that’s the case, your message (even a good message) will get little notice. That's not going to happen in the professional ranks. A large-audience media has higher editorial standards, and only better quality material will get past the editor’s round-file.
Myth: Anyone can write a news release. Successful publicity and effective public relations requires much more than good grammar. In addition to having a strong, reader-oriented message to communicate, more than half the job is about the media, including knowing the editorial criteria, the editors, the reporters, styles, deadlines and having the ability to get their attention. Professional help is often required.
Myth: Free publicity is free, easy and automatic. Well…no, it’s not. In contrast with paid advertising, newspapers and other media do not charge for mentions in the news. Getting “free publicity” requires an investment of time and effort—sometimes with professional help—to do it properly. Because the right kind of publicity and public exposure can be immensely valuable, the better label is “cost-effective.” Achieving this isn’t easy, but it is relatively low cost and the payback can be significant and long-term.
For additional reading on the topic of healthcare publicity and public relations, see: Healthcare Publicity: The First Three Steps to Getting Free Press Coverage, and Healthcare Publicity: Winning Techniques and Fatal Pitfalls to Your Free Press. And let us know if we can help. If you’d like to schedule a free public relations and marketing consultation with PR strategist Stephen Gregg, please give him a call at 800-656-0907 ext 801, or reach out by email: [email protected].