Editor’s Note: In this second of a two-part post, Dr. Neil Baum presents doctor-to-doctor ideas that are founded in 30 years of real-world experience as a practicing urologist in New Orleans. He is a sought-after speaker, and the author of Social Media For the Healthcare Professional, Greenbranch Publishing, 2011. Part 1 is available here.
Physicians have been shy about reaching out for free publicity. Physicians are some of the most well-trained and accomplished professionals in our society. There’s no reason for them not to seek attention and to promote themselves in an ethical fashion. (Continued here in part two.)
Based on my experience and what have learned recently, I would like to share 15+ reasons why doctors should seek publicity. The ideas are about how to create publicity that will certainly make you famous. Part 1—with Reasons 1 through 7—is available here.
8. Publicity makes you prioritize your time and your to-do list. The time commitment for interacting with the media can be daunting. Doctors are busy professionals and our first commitment is to our patients. However, with proper use of our time, and with delegation of responsibilities, we can accomplish both media and medicine. Yes, you will have to return calls promptly, answer emails, write content for your website, create videos for YouTube and write your book. However, if you use your time wisely and prioritize your time, you really can do it all.
9. Publicity is an ethical way to toot your horn and promote yourself. Doctors are not good at self-promotion. For the most part we are modest and reserved. However, achieving publicity is a way to showcase your skills, your expertise and your personality.
10. Publicity is ethical marketing. Your peers can’t fault you for appearing on TV. You don’t violate the Hippocratic Oath by writing an article for a local publication. Publicity is to be differentiated from advertizing. Advertizing is what you pay for and often rankles your colleagues. However, if the reporter comes to you and interviews you for something that you offer your patients, it puts you in a different light. Instead of being a pariah, you become admired by your fellow physicians.
11. Publicity gives you permission to make money from your message. I can’t promise you that the phone will ring right after you give a talk to a service club or after you appear on a local radio station. But I can assure you that if you become a media darling, others will soon recognize your areas of medical interest and expertise and will be contacting you if you can help solve their medical problem(s).
12. It’s a hedge against declining reimbursements. The ACA is sure to be implemented and you can expect that reimbursements are going to go south. Doctors are searching for ancillary income. There are so many spin-offs from achieving publicity. If you become really good at it, you can have your own talk show, your own newsletter that people will pay for, and a book you can sell on Amazon and in the book stores.
13. Publicity teaches you to overcome your fear of public speaking. It has been said (by whom, I don’t know) that “the greatest fear people have is public speaking. Most people would rather die than get up in front of an audience.” That means for most people they would rather be in the coffin than having to stand up and give the eulogy.
Public speaking is tremendous way to start your quest for fame. There are so many ways to get started. Service clubs, church groups and schools are always looking for physicians to speak to their organizations. When you get good at public speaking, you are ready to move to larger venues like radio and TV.
14. Publicity is a new direction in addition to your traditional medical practice. Let’s be honest, if you happen to be a urologist, seeing one more patient with a UTI, prostate infection or overactive bladder gets a little boring after you have seen several thousand of patients with these chief complaints. But becoming famous and becoming a media darling or a top sell author will move your medical career into a new and exciting direction.
15. You can become a big fish in a bigger sea. Many of us are big fish in our own community and in our own hospital. But publicity teaches us to swim in the ocean of Internet, social media and national TV and print publications.
15-plus. Publicity can be fun and it can make your dreams come true. Walt Disney said “if you can dream it, you can make it happen.” Many of us dream of being famous and just don’t know how. Stay tuned for future articles, follow our suggestions and you just might be the next Sanjay Gupta or even Dr. Oz.
Bottom Line: Doctors are for the most part uncomfortable seeking publicity. However, there are reasons that I have enumerated that doctors should seek publicity for their practices. It is easy to do, exciting and rewarding when you get comfortable with the media and publicity.