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Public relations tips for healthcare organizations

For organizations in the healthcare sector – like many other markets – it can be challenging to deliver successful public relations campaigns. We live in an age of significantly shifting media trends. Print media is fading in the face of online media, and competition for print space is at a premium. On the other hand, online media – whether that’s news outlets, websites, blogs or social media – have exploded. Some of the rules of PR remain constant, but others have shifted in recent years as the nature of media has changed. Here are our top tips for successful healthcare public relations.

  1. Know your target audience – and the publication’s. This is one of the fundamentals of healthcare public relations. All the column inches or online mentions in the world mean nothing if you’re not reaching your intended target audience. Do your research on publications to understand their tone, stance, and audience before pitching to them.
  1. Sell the benefits– When an editor or reporter receives a PR pitch from an organization, they want to know one thing above anything else: what is the benefit to my readers of knowing this information? This is at the core of healthcare public relations and healthcare marketing
  1. Have supplementary information on hand– As a general rule, editors and reporters prefer a short and concise pitch, press release or submission. However, if the story is of interest, they may follow up with a request for more information or collateral material, such as backup data, photos, videos, fact sheets or quotes. If you don’t have that immediately on hand and take too long to reply, then interest in the pitch can quickly evaporate.
  1. Target the gatekeeper– Whether you’re pitching to a reporter, an editor or another decision-maker, it pays to do your research on your target. Read articles they have previously written or published and ensure your pitch is positioned in a way that is appropriate and has the potential to be useful to them.
  1. Hone your writing– Whether you’re writing a pitch, press release or another form of submission, you need to catch the gatekeeper’s interest. Editors and reporters receive lots of pitches, and if your first paragraph doesn’t catch their interest, they may dismiss it without reading any further. Hone your writing style so it is as concise as possible and front-load the important information into the first two or three sentences of your pitch.
  1. Be timely– In short: if it’s not new, it’s not news. Whether it’s a product launch, a new service or other news about your brand, you have to strike while the iron is hot. If a publication sees your pitch as “old news” then they’re unlikely to have much interest in running with the story.
  1. Beware of jargon– This is true for all industries but can be a particular problem in healthcare public relations. Be aware of the publication that you are submitting to. If it’s to a specialist healthcare industry publication that’s one thing, but if it’s to a more general publication then you should be conscious of avoiding jargon, buzzwords or overly technical language. Clear, precise and straightforward language is best.

These are some of the fundamentals of successful PR pitching, and if you utilize them in your healthcare public relations and healthcare marketing efforts you are more likely to be successful in placing your news in publications that matter.

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