Media Relations Guide

Media Relations Etiquette

A Publicists Ultimate Guide to Strategic Media Relations 101

How can I use this media relations guide for my public relations campaign?

As a public relations strategist, I have handled media relations campaigns for companies for over a decade.

I wrote this expert guide for publicists looking to increase best practices and for clients looking to understand how the media really works to form better relationships with their PR firms.  The one thing I see time and time again is the onboarding period and steep curve with people who are working with a PR firm for the first time.

“PR is SO much work. You never told me how much time this was going to take when I hired you!”

The goal of this guide is to help you navigate media relations so that you better understand how the media works. We believe that there should be no surprises when it comes to PR.

When there is transparency in the process of how the media really operates, PR clients can develop more realistic campaign expectations, and it can benefit your company by saving you hours of wasted time spinning your wheels trying to figure out why you spent time answering queries that no one is answering.

Plus, when you are more educated about how public relations works, you will have a better relationship with your PR agency.  Too many clients/agencies have strained relationships and we believe it stems from the central problem of people not really understanding how the media works.

Too often, PR firms are blamed for things outside of their control.

In The Ultimate Guide to Media Relations, I am going to teach you:

  • How the media works
  • What the role of a PR firm is
  • Client responsibilities when a PR firm is retained
  • How to work with your PR firm so you get the best traction
  • Media relations best practices
  • Media Relations etiquette

PLUS learn how to answer questions from a reporter.

What is Media Relations?

Media relations is the specific practice of handling media requests with the press, while public relations refers to the management of a company’s relationship with the public and all external stakeholders. A Director Of Media Relations is responsible for all contact with the press on any earned media opportunities.

What is the difference between public relations and media relations?

Media relations is a subset of public relations.

For a long time, media relations was the largest component of PR because traditionally, the media were the primary, trusted gatekeepers to information. It took insider connections to get the media’s attention. All of that is still true today, but parts of it are very different.

The State of the PR Industry

Newsrooms are shrinking and social media has democratized the publishing of information. There are far more PR practitioners in the U.S. than journalists.  According to Bloomberg, Public Relations jobs have exceeded those of reporters by more than a six-to-one ratio, significantly up from last year. According to data from the U.S. Census, the ratio was two-to-one 20 years ago.

PR professionals outnumber journalists by 6:1

This represents a 2x increase in 10 years.

PR Industry Stats

While media relations is still part of the mix, it is usually a smaller component of most public relations plans. It is also significantly more challenging to get the attention of journalists than it ever has been before! That is why learning how to pitch the media and what makes a story newsworthy is so critical in today’s media landscape.

Journalists report receiving anywhere from 20-300 pitches from PR professionals per day. Many of these journalists also report only writing one article per day. See the discrepancy and why this is such a problem?

Technology has also had a significant impact on the field of media relations. As a result of social media and the rise of direct to consumer PR query services, you now have the ability to speak directly with the media. On the one hand this is a good thing. On the other, it further inundates journalists inboxes with pitches that are off base and go straight to their spam folder.

Journalism & PR employment statistics

What is the job outlook for Public Relations?

As newsrooms shrink, the PR industry grows.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics by the U.S. Department of Labor, “Employment of public relations specialists is projected to grow 6 percent from 2018 to 2028, about as fast as the average for all occupations. The need for organizations to maintain their public image will continue to drive employment growth.”

According to Harvard Business Review, the average worker receives 12,000 emails a year, while writers at top-tier publications receive 38,000 emails. Wow! Can you imagine being a journalist today and being bombarded with so many pitches?

According to Bloomberg, “Employment for public relations specialists will expand to 282,600 in 2026, up 9 percent from 2016, according to projections from the Labor Department. Meanwhile, jobs for reporters, correspondents and broadcast news analysts are forecast to decline 9 percent to 45,900 over the same period.  For the news business, that would extend already sizable declines. Newsroom employment fell 23 percent to 88,000 from 2008 to 2017, with the number of newspapers dropping 45 percent to 39,000, according to a Pew Research Center study.”

This is a serious problem for your media relations efforts, especially if you are trying to do this yourself. Journalists are increasingly frustrated with their inboxes being blown up by PR professionals, and PR professionals are finding it harder to land their clients digital ink.

WHY YOU NEED MEDIA RELATIONS

Media relations is the most critical part of a PR campaign. Other public relations activities such as community outreach can be mastered without intricate knowledge of how the media works. However, media relations is the most specialized component of public relations. In order to understand why you need media relations, you first need to understand how publicists and journalists work together on stories and segments.

Digital Media Landscape

 

How do publicists and journalists work together?

Journalists and publicists work closely together on interviews, articles, and broadcast segments.  Good publicists can make journalists lives easier when they are on deadline by providing access to interview opportunities with subject matter experts and key opinion leaders that may otherwise be hard to reach.  Additionally, PR firms have access to media contacts that many people do not have. While you certainly could try to foster these relationships on your own, it would take a considerable amount of time, effort and media savviness to navigate the changing landscape.

MEDIA RELATIONS JOB DESCRIPTION

What does a media relations agency do?

A media relations agency is responsible for handling all interview coordination between the source and the media.

So, what does a media relations specialist do and what does the job entail?

A media relations specialist is responsible for handling all incoming media inquiries for a corporation. There are several variations of the job title, which can often appear as:

  • Press contact
  • Media contact
  • Director of PR
  • Director of Media Relations

A media relations specialist makes sure a journalist receives requested high-resolution images or a sources executive biography.  They are also responsible for making sure your PR efforts aren’t sabotaged to ensure your best chance of coverage in the media. Ideally, a trusted media relations specialist provides authoritative sources to journalists and producers who are on quick turnaround times or tight deadlines.  Publicists and media relations specialists understand the sense of urgency that comes with deadlines and filing stories and are able to give the media what they need fast.

THE IMPORTANCE OF MEDIA RELATIONS 

Why is media relations important for strategic public relations?

Journalists and producers are working on several different stories and segments at any given time and your client is not always their top priority.

If you don’t understand media relations and PR etiquette, you run the risk of never being quoted in that media outlet again. If a journalist has a bad experience with a source, they may be likely to share that negative experience with other journalists. Is that really how you want to be perceived simply because you didn’t take the time to understand the language of the media or how things work?

There are so many intricacies that go into Public Relations. PR is an art. It is a craft. This is often why I do not recommend DIY Public Relations. When pitching is handled through a Media Relations Agency, the communication is often clearer, and the ball doesn’t get dropped. Often times, a PR firm may go back and forth with a journalist up to 20 times fact-checking a one line quote in an article. After the fourth or fifth email, people who attempt the DIY PR route usually stop replying to the journalist and risk getting cut from the story entirely. PR firms don’t let that happen.

NYC PR FIRM OFFICE

 

Why is media coverage important?

Media coverage is important because if you do great things in your career, and no one hears about them, then it sort of defeats the entire purpose of what you are trying to achieve, right?

Media coverage enables the masses to hear about all of the great things you are doing in the world. It gives you an opportunity to control the narrative and share your story (and reach!). It also gives you an opportunity to reach larger and wider audiences beyond the people/ clients/ patients your business services daily.

Without media coverage, many brands never would have been built. Media coverage can snowball to other opportunities including speaking engagements, conference keynotes and social media brand endorsement deals.

MEDIA TRACKING IN PUBLIC RELATIONS

What is media tracking in public relations?

There are many ways to track media placements and PR placements, but first, let us explain what a media placement is!

What is a media placement?

A media placement is earned coverage through public relations tactics in a variety of digital and traditional channels including but not limited to digital media, print magazines, newspapers, radio, television, podcasts and more.

What is a PR placement?

Similar to a media placement, a PR placement or ‘hit’ is the definitional term public relations practitioners use to share secured media coverage with their clients. For example, when our agency secures press coverage for a client, we will email them a link to the coverage, which can include a quote from the client with a link back to their web site. We typically say, “attached please find a link to the press coverage secured on your behalf.”

A PR ‘placement’ means that the clients quote ran in a media outlet and the journalist used their quote and the story is now live. Publicists are responsible for placing these quotes and stories when they act as the liaison between the media and expert sources.

How are Media Placements shared?

There are several ways to share PR placements with clients: email, texting screenshots, press clipping reports or by sharing editor feedback they received with the client on why they were such a great source!

MEDIA RELATIONS ETIQUETTE

One of the biggest mistakes companies make with media relations is they do not follow basic etiquette rules when communicating with the media.

Follow these media relations etiquette rules when working with reporters

3 media relations etiquette rules to follow when publicists work with journalists to ensure success

  • Thank the reporter for media exposure. It is incredible how many publicists skip this simple step. Too often, publicists look at an article from the perspective of how their client will see it and forget to look at it from a perspective of gratitude to the journalist who included their client in the first place. Journalists work hard on stories. If a journalist is giving your client editorial space or digital ink, say thank you for the coverage instead of complaining that the link wasn’t right or the quote was cut short.
  • Act as a Media Gatekeeper. Media Relations Strategists must act as the gatekeeper between the client and the media at all times. The best public relations professionals value their relationships with the media first and foremost. They believe clients come and go, but the media stays. If you burn through those relationships with the media for a client who may or may not keep you retained, you ultimately will damage your reputation as a publicist. However, if you know and respect the rules and filter PR requests, journalists will want to keep working with you, and clients will learn over time that you know what you are doing. Hopefully, they will begin to understand why you say no to certain requests and will begin to trust your strategic media guidance on topics such as how to stay relevant to the media.  If you are continually being pushed by a client to pitch stories you know are not newsworthy, it may be time to reevaluate the engagement.
  • Market Your Media Coverage. Promoting your earned media exposure and press mentions on social media is critical to amplify the value of the press placements for your business. Do not forget to share the media coverage on social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and your blog. Journalists want to drive traffic to their articles. If they included your client in a story, return the favor by tweeting a link to the article and directing eyeballs to it. This small social media act of gratitude can go a long way in ensuring your client is used again as a source. Always extend the value of your media coverage through a strategic cross-channel digital marketing strategy. Being featured in the media is irrelevant if no one knows about it!

IMPROVING MEDIA RELATIONS BEST PRACTICES 

Buzzstream conducted a study with over 500 journalists on their preferred PR pitching preferences. Here is what they found:

  • 39% of reporters stated they would like to receive exclusive research in a pitch
  • Only 15% said that want to receive “emotional stories”
  • Only 5% of reporters said they want to be contact by phone
  • 81% of reporters said they want to be contacted through email
  • 69% of reporters preferred to be pitched in the morning and only 9% wanted to be pitched in the evening
  • 88% of writers prefer to be pitched less than 200 words
  • Reporters said they wanted subject lines that are direct, concise, descriptive and include keywords relevant to their beat
  • 33% of reporters said they are very likely to delete a pitch if it has bad grammar

PITCHING JOURNALISTS: HOW TO GET YOUR PITCH NOTICED

How to Answer Questions From a Reporter

  • Do not provide one-word answers. Provide the journalist with thorough interview answers.  I won’t send a journalist interview answers from a client that are one line replies, and neither should you. I will go back to my client and ask them to re-do the answers because I know what a journalist is expecting and want to give them lengthier answers that they can pull good quotes from. Additionally, if the answers are missing the mark on the question the journalist asked, I will also ask them to re-do the answers before submitting. A good publicist knows what a journalist needs and can anticipate the needs of their editor as well. They may even have worked in journalism prior to becoming a publicist, which further helps them to understand what is truly newsworthy.
  • Watch the clock. Do not say you will provide interview answers by a certain time and then provide them after the journalist’s deadline. If your client bails on the answers, let the reporter know ASAP and, if possible, provide the reporter with another source. Do not leave them hanging. Additionally, when you are replying to queries from reporters, time is of the essence. For every one press query posted, reporters receive hundreds of responses. You want to be one of the first to reply.  If clients are asking you to submit queries hours later or after a journalists deadline has expired, don’t do it.  It reeks of PR amateur hour.

How Do Journalists Conduct Interviews?

Reporters have different methods of conducting interviews. Some journalists want to speak by phone, while others want to send questions to sources by email. Publicists are responsible for figuring out the journalists preferred interview format and coordinating interview times, answers, and any additional information a reporter needs from a source. Often, the journalists preferred interview format may conflict with the clients preferred interview format.  This is always a challenging and volatile situation to navigate through.  It never gets easier.

How do you approach a journalist?

Media 101: How to follow up with editors

Freelancer Writer Lindsay Tiger recently shared 6 helpful tips for PR’s to know when working with the media in my PR group. This should be mandatory reading for all PR firm clients to read, seriously! She gave me permission to share the below 6 tips with readers.

What journalists want in PR pitches and what reporters really want from PR specialists (and their clients!)

Don’t ask when the story will be live. I don’t know when the story is publishing. You will probably find out before I do. I wish I knew!

I can’t promise coverage, ever, for any reason, no matter what. Even if I stay at a hotel for two nights. Even if you send me something. Even if it’s expensive. It’s not an exchange, it’s a review. It’s unethical for me to guarantee anything, and final edits are always out of my hands. I wish more people understood the difference between paid influencers and journalists.

Don’t ask for quick edits. I don’t have access to the CMS system, and I want to make a change as badly as you do, but I can’t make it happen. It’s up to my editor. I wish I could make a quick edit — my bylines would be better!

An expert can have one title — not 20. It’s cool they’re a career expert, a botanist, a yoga therapist, an author, a podcast speaker and a certified life coach… but I only have so much space in my word count.

If an editor makes me link to an affiliate, I have to. I can’t not, it’s part of my story assignment. I’ll always try to tell you if that’s the case. If they change the link to an affiliate, I probably can’t change it back. I wish I could.

I can’t change internal processes. I know your clients are pressuring you and you have deliverables and I totally understand. Your job is hard, just like mine.

STRATEGIC MEDIA RELATIONS

A successful media relations strategist knows how to walk the tightrope of the client’s needs and the medias needs on a daily basis. The goal is to mitigate the level of stress and try to strike a balance.  You must be able to work in a high-stress environment daily to succeed in media relations. Even though clients hire you to get press coverage, they may get perturbed by the daily disruption of media requests. Remind them of why they hired you, and that this is all part of the process of getting earned media coverage. Yes, PR is a lot of work from the client side and from the agency side. PR isn’t for the faint of heart. There is a reason why Pubic Relations is continuously listed year after year as one of the most stressful jobs in America.

Ready to increase media exposure for your business? We can help with media training, media relations consulting, media relations strategy guidance and execution of ongoing media relations work with national media outlets on behalf of your company. Contact us today to discuss how we can help get you more interviews and get you booked, fast!

The importance of having an internal communication media relations process  

It is critical to have a media relations strategy and a media relations communications process internally to handle media inquiries. If you hire a PR firm, you should make sure your staff knows to direct any and all incoming media requests to the PR firm. Make sure not to sabotage your own PR efforts. Training your staff on best practices of working with your PR firm is an absolute must. For example, if your PR firm is pitching you and a reporter calls up your practice manager but the manager takes a message and doesn’t relay the message to you until ten hours later, the reporter will most likely move on to another source. Train your staff on how to work with the PR firm and the proper protocol on handling time sensitive requests from the media.

Remember, being quoted in the media or mentioned in an article is not your right. It is a privilege and an opportunity to be featured in media outlets. It is called earned media for a reason. Earn it!

Media Relations Checklist 

  • Help them help you
  • Respond to press queries in a timely manner
  • Provide thought-leadership content to your PR firm
  • Do not give one-word answers
  • Let your PR firm know newsworthy topics you can comment on
  • Dedicate at least 1 hour per day to working with your PR firm
  • Do not flake out on media commitments
  • Do not reschedule interviews with the media
  • Do not add PR firm contacts on your personal social media (unless you want to royally irritate the PR firm)

Media Pitching 101 Checklist (BONUS!)

Before pitching the media, also make sure you have the proper media assets and collateral ready to go.  Here is a Media Pitching 101 checklist we created for you. Use this before your first pitch goes out!

Media Pitching 101 Checklist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PR Agency Pricing Structure

Media Relations/PR Costs

 “If I was down to my last dollar, I would spend it on public relations.” -Bill Gates

How much should I pay for PR or media relations and how much do publicists cost?

People often ask, “How much do you get paid in PR?”  Media relations agencies work on a fixed retainer model. Prices can start at $5k monthly to $25k monthly up to even $60k monthly depending on scope of services and desired press coverage goals. For example, are you interested in local coverage, trade coverage or national press coverage? That will determine the cost of media relations. Additionally, the cost of the service will depend on if you are hiring a freelancer or a large agency.

Public Relations Pricing

Can I afford a PR campaign? How much does Public Relations cost?

People often ask, “Can I really afford a PR campaign?” It is important to understand there are two costs involved in a PR campaign: the cost of the PR firm, and the cost of your time. Most people allocate a budget for the firm, but they do not properly allocate the time to work with the firm they hired. Look at what your billable time is worth by the hour, multiply that by at least one hour a day for every day of the month, and factor that number into your cost.

Do you have to pay for PR?

Yes, unfortunately, you have to pay for PR! Like many things in life, PR is not free.

There is an article that ran in Forbes called, “Why you should almost never pay for PR.” Many articles like this have zero validity to them and are highly questionable. PR is NOT a waste of money as the article asserts. Why? Let’s dissect the claims..

But for those of us outside the Fortune 100, a simple bit of effort from your marketing lead, founders and other executives is really all that’s required.”

This seriously makes me laugh. If that was all that was required in PR, we wouldn’t be in business! You should see my inbox.. to place one quote from an expert could require 30 emails back and forth! It is massive time suck with most executives DON’T have the time to do. That is one of the main reasons having a publicist handle the manual labor for you in addition to the strategic PR is so critical!

The author also asserts, “Note that most paid-for PR firms have a so-called “media blast list.” As part of your $10k/month service all they simply do is put together a boilerplate press release and “blast” it to their 1000-strong contact list of “schedulers” at various media outlets.”

Again, laughable. We do not have a media blast list! Who would ever blast the media in a blanket blast? Gross.

That is not in line with best practices, and also, sending out press releases is so 1990 unless you are putting out a major announcement like a company acquisition through a traditional news wire service. Anyone who is blasting 1000 contacts at media outlets will be blacklisted for spam from every journalist.

“Knowing this, why pay for what you can and should be doing on your own?”

Again, faulty logic here. I certainly can do my taxes on my own if I invested enough time in learning how to do them, but does that mean I should? NO.

As a business owner, you can do many things on your own. That isn’t the question. The question is where should your precious hours be spent, and what percentage of every other tactical activity should be outsourced to external service providers.

Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should. It is better to be a specialist than a generalist.

“But overall, my recommendation is: keep control of your PR by keeping most/all of it in-house.”

What a terrible recommendation. Unless you have hired in- house employees who specialize in public relations, this is a disaster waiting to happen. Just because your new employee knows how to write a press release, does not mean they are qualified to handle crisis communications for your company!

“After all, no one knows and can tell your own story better than you and the people who live it every day.”

Sure, no one can tell your story better than you can. This is why we interview all clients to extract their story and craft the story in the best possible light. Of course no one knows YOUR story better than YOU.

However, just because you know your own story (not that big of an achievement- I would hope so!) doesn’t mean you know how to tell it, or who to tell it to, or how to craft it, or what channels to distribute it through.

Even though know ones knows your story better than you do does not mean mean you are the best one to tell it to reporters.

That is the equivalent of saying – no one knows your story better than you do, so why would you need a lawyer? You may as well make your own case in front of a judge in a court of law because you know your story best, right? No, wrong!

Pay for placement PR firms and Guaranteed PR

Should PR firms guarantee media coverage?

Pay for performance PR or PR retainers? Which is better?

Retainers are the industry standard when you are working with a PR firm. Pay for performance PR options are still very looked down upon by traditional PR practitioners. In fact, a Tech Crunch declared a war on a pay for placement PR firm for offering a la carte pricing for press placements.

pay per placement pr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PRICING PR

The PR industry is really in trouble right now. You have so many people who are selling editorial coverage and offering guaranteed placements. This is not real journalism. This is not PR.

I urge you to watch the video How to Spot a Fake PR Firm.  It contains a solid ten minutes of truth about the PR industry right now.

There is no possible way any Publicist can guarantee press coverage.  There are a million factors and variables on any given day such as:

  • Will there be breaking news?
  • Will the story get bumped?
  • Will the story get cut because an editor went in a different direction?
  • Did someone else give better interview answers than the ones your source provided?

These are only some of the factors that go into getting a story placed. As more people tout guaranteed PR placement coverage, the industry becomes diluted as well as the value of PR in general. It also dilutes value in the client’s eyes because they are only attributing value to actual placements secured, and not the labor that goes into pitching and getting a story placed and all the other work involved from a tactical perspective. Additionally, press placements and media relations are only one component of a solid integrated PR campaign.

So, even if someone can guarantee you pay for placement PR, they aren’t offering you any real strategic insight, which is a critical component of a media relations campaign.

Should you hire a media relations specialist?

reasons not to hire a pr firm

If you cannot spend at least one hour per day working with a media relations agency or PR firm, you should not hire a PR firm.  Here is a list of 10 reasons why you shouldn’t hire a PR firm in addition to not having the time to work with an agency. Retaining a publicist is a massive amount of work. You must be willing to put in the time to give the firm what they need on a consistent basis so they can do the job you retained them to do. Please think about this before you hire a PR firm. We see way too many people hiring PR firms and then ghosting the firms when they need to give them the necessary material to do the job they hired them to do.

If you are going to hire a media relations specialist, you may want to consider hiring someone who has former experience as a journalist or producer. Many former producers and journalists have made the leap to PR because there are more job opportunities in the PR industry today. Their newsroom experience can prove invaluable for your media relations campaign efforts.

TAKEAWAYS

MEDIA RELATIONS TIPS

  • Publicists and media relations strategists provide access to expert sources.
  • Journalists write the articles that the public relies on.
  • Publicists and journalists must work together and respect each other’s skillsets in the process of story creation or disaster can follow.
  • Always have a media relations strategy before reaching out to the media.
  • Do your research and know the publication you are pitching.
  • Be relevant and make your pitch newsworthy.
  • Understand the beat you are pitching.  If it doesn’t fit their beat, then don’t send.
  • Don’t send giant attachments that can blow up a journalists inbox.
  • Don’t pitch through social media.
  • Check your grammar and don’t use all caps.
  • Be personal and don’t misspell a reporters name.
  • Email instead of call.
  • If a reporter is interested they will let you know. Do not incessantly follow up.
  • Pitch solutions to problems.
  • If you have unique interview opportunities, make that the lead.
  • Include high-quality graphics or infographics to share data.

As a result of reading this media relations guide, you have hopefully developed a better understanding of the time requirement it takes for PR, and have gained new ideas on how to write press worthy content that will actually get picked up by the media and has a chance of turning into national media coverage success!  Good media relations practices can be achieved by understanding how the media works.

Most companies who retain a PR firm receive no formal training on how to actually work with the firm or how to write content that will get picked up. We hope this guide will better serve you in getting the maximum ROI out of your Public Relations firm. If you have tried all of our tips and still aren’t seeing PR results, contact us to boost your media relations campaign.

BONUS MATERIAL

Still have questions about PR? Curious to know why you need a publicist?

Watch our new video “What Does a Public Relations Agency do?” to learn:

1) What is the role of a publicist for my company? What does a PR firm actually do?

2) What are the essential functions of a Public Relations agency?

3) What is earned PR and how is earned awareness built in public relations?

4) How are media placements in top-tier publications achieved?

5) How do publicists get paid? What do fee structures look like by service in public relations?

MEDIA RELATIONS RESOURCES

The Ultimate Guide to Prepping for Media Interviews 

Insider’s Secrets to Crafting The Perfect Pitch 

10 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Chance of Media Coverage 

PR Don’ts: 11 Ways to Annoy A Journalist 

How To Stay Relevant To The Media 

How To Maximize National Media Exposure 

Pitch Perfect: How To Pitch The Media 

MEDIA RELATIONS AGENCY SERVICES

There are still things a great media hit can do that nothing else can! One feature interview in the national media could result in thousands of earned media impressions for your business.  Ruby Media Group is primarily a media relations driven agency. Other components of public relations are important, but we believe media relations should be at the top of any strategic public relations campaign, first and foremost. If you have tried PR, but can’t garner results from the media on your own, it may be time to call a media relations specialist. Our media relations firm has secured hundreds of impressions for clients over the past 12 years in national media outlets.

Contact us today to discuss a media relations plan for your business. There are many PR firms who focus more on community engagement, and do not deliver when it comes to media relations results (despite promising to!). We are not one of them. Our numerous PR case studies can show you a sneak peek at the massive earned media wins for clients.

RESEARCH SOURCES

Census: 6 PR pros for every journalist

Adweek The PR Industry has a big problem

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Public Relations Specialists

PR quotes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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5 Misconceptions About Publicists & Public Relations

What does a PR firm do?

A publicist is responsible for generating exposure for your company and brand. Publicists help define your corporate public “persona” by crafting story angles, pitching stories to the media, coordinating interviews with journalists, writing fact sheets and electronic press kits, keeping updated media lists and monitoring your public image. Additionally, publicists help to craft that image and pitch strategic messages and storylines on behalf of you and your company to the media.

However, there are many misconceptions about what publicists do and how they do it.  Plus, there are misconceptions floating around about why you should hire a PR firm in the first place. My favorite one is, “You only need to hire a PR firm during a crisis.” That couldn’t be further from the truth!

PUBLIC RELATIONS MISCONCEPTIONS

Here are the top 5 misconceptions you need to understand about PR professionals:

PR MISCONCEPTION  # 1

Publicists have a….

MAGIC ROLODEX.  Clients believe that their publicists have a magic rolodex that they scroll through. While the traditional rolodex has been replaced with email lists and texting, the theory still remains the same. Publicists cannot email, call or text an editor and automatically get a story placed. That isn’t how real PR or journalism work. The publicist may have a very close relationship with a journalist, but if the story has no legs, there is breaking news, or the journalist simply doesn’t like the story idea, it’s not getting placed, and it doesn’t matter if you hired a Park Avenue PR firm or if you pitched the story on your own. The newsworthiness value of the story is all that matters. Breaking news dictates the storylines, and publicists pitch stories that tie into the news cycle. It is not the other way around. The media dictates what is covered- publicists do not.

PR MISCONCEPTION # 2

Publicists live a….

‘SEX & THE CITY’ LIFESTYLE. Another misconception is that publicists go out every night to events and are surrounded by glitterati and a Sex and the City lifestyle. As a publicist, I spend the majority of time in front of my computer writing, editing, pitching and communicating with clients and the media. Every time I am at a networking event, I could be missing an important email from a journalist who may be requesting an interview with my client or needs answers to their questions within the hour. This public perception of publicists going to glamorous events every night is outdated and unrealistic. Perhaps it is true in entertainment PR where red carpet events still reign supreme. But corporate and healthcare PR? Not so much.

PR MISCONCEPTION #3

Publicists… 

CONTROL THE STORY.  After you are interviewed by a journalist from a print outlet, the interview is done. Sometimes the media will have follow up questions and you can go back and forth several times. However, you cannot take back what you said, so be sure to think carefully before you shoot off a quick email or provide a sound bite.  As a general media relations rule of thumb to live by, when in doubt, keep it out!  Publicists can’t take your quotes off the record.   If you say something to a reporter that should have been off the record (or not said at all), we can’t fix it unless we are close with a reporter and even then there’s no guarantee. If you don’t want something in print — don’t say it. This is why media training is so important. Additionally, please don’t ask your publicist to ask the reporter to see a copy of your quote before it runs. This is not standard practice and the answer is most likely a resounding no. Earned media is not the same as paid media. You have to earn it for a reason.  When you pay for media, you control the narrative. When you earn media, you do not control the narrative, and neither does your publicist. They can certainly pitch an angle, but after you speak to a reporter, it is up to the journalists discretion on what the story is. Remember, it is their story, not yours! You are a source that adds subject matter expertise to something they are reporting on.

PR MISCONCEPTION #4

Publicists can…

FIX  REPORTING ERRORS. Occasionally, articles are published with a source’s name spelled wrong or some other minor error. You may think, “If my publicist was any good, they could get the reporter to fix the spelling of my name!” That’s not always the case. Sometimes yes, sometimes no.  If the print edition has already gone to press, nothing can be done except for a correction that will run in a future issue. Any time I have asked a reporter to fix the spelling of a client’s name in a digital article, the request ends up annoying the reporter. In the old days of journalism, everything was fact-checked several times before it was published. Today that is unfortunately no longer the case with the rapid pace of digital journalism and the increased demand for content. So yes, while some publicists may be able to get the spelling of your name corrected, it is not guaranteed. It depends on the outlet and their editorial policy with corrections, not on your publicist’s ability.

PR MISCONCEPTION #5

Publicists can…

CONTROL GOOGLE SEARCH RESULTS. People often ask if we can change Google search results for their company or personal brand. Perhaps one bad story or review tanked their corporate reputation, and they now want a publicist to fix it. A public relations program that incorporates organic earned media coverage does have the ability to alter search results. However, this is a long-term effort, and it is never guaranteed because it depends on so many outside factors including the domain authority of the sites that new coverage is secured on, and most importantly, the domain authority of the sites that the bad press is written on. Often, if those sites are ranked high, it becomes very difficult to lower the results, regardless of how many earned media placements you secure. Additionally, a digital advertising campaign and paid media would have to complement the PR efforts as part of the long term reputation management campaign to alter search results. Publicists can make a valiant effort at getting more positive coverage for you, but the one surefire way to change search results is through Google directly (or with the help of a good attorney that specializes in defamation).

Why is the practice of Public Relations misunderstood by the public?

Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation put out there by PR firms trying to close new clients on the power of PR. Yes, PR *is* powerful and can do wonders for your brand, but you need to understand what is in a publicist’s control, and what is far out of their control. It does everyone a great disservice to make claims that cannot be supported. Some of these claims include PR firms who are promising to guarantee press coverage.

If a PR firm guarantees a set amount of press placements per month, run! That is not how real journalism or PR works!

So the real answer to this question is that the practice of PR is understood by the public because the media shows an overly glamorized portrayal of what we do and because publicists guarantee all sorts of things they shouldn’t and are not held to a standard of ethics that virtually every other field is held to.

Can you imagine going to a doctor that promised to cure cancer?

Or a lawyer that promised to win your case?

So why would you ever believe a PR firm who promised to get you a set amount of placements or bookings per month?

You pay a publicist for their time, strategic insights and work deployed on your behalf.

Results are an outcome of that time, but PR firms cannot guarantee those results simply because the stories they pitch are in the hands of editors/ producers. The only person can control results when it comes to PR output is the media, NOT a PR firm! If you understand this, your expectations will be more realistic and you will be happier with the results of your campaign.

PUBLIC RELATIONS MYTHS

Myth #1: PR is no longer relevant to my business because traditional media is dead.

Fact: Traditional media is still relevant, and digital PR is a burgeoning area that not only helps your business and credibility, but is also a critical ranking factor for Google’s EAT quality guidelines for building authority.

Myth #2: PR firms are too expensive. We can do it ourselves.

Fact: You know what is even more expensive? Trying to do PR yourself and getting sued. Plus, Your time is limited. Why waste it pitching yourself when a PR pro could do it for you?

Myth #3: My last PR firm was terrible so all PR is worthless. 

Fact: Maybe your last PR firm actually was terrible. But does that mean every other PR firm in perpetuity will also be terrible? No. Stop judging an entire industry because you had a bad experience.

Myth #4: We don’t have a good PR story to tell, so our results will be terrible if we hire a PR firm.

Fact: Leave that up to the magicians to determine to see if you have a good story to tell before you take yourself out of the race entirely. Your story may be better than you think if someone could properly package, pitch and promote it for you! Hint, that is what we specialize in!

Myth #5: PR will drive thousands of sales, clicks and leads overnight. PR will make me rich overnight!

Fact: PR is better for brand awareness.  In certain circumstances, direct marketing may be better for driving new leads than PR is. Yes, I said that as a PR firm agency owner. Why? Because I want you to be an informed consumer before purchasing PR services. Also, PR will not make you rich overnight.

press worthy AF

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PR Key Takeaways:

PR is ideal for keeping your brand top of mind with peers and prospective clients. However, if a business relies solely on PR and media relations to generate sales, they are setting themselves up for failure.

PR is not about hiring a firm and handing them a pile of cash to push a narrative you want told to the media. It is about hiring a practitioner who you trust to tell the narrative that they believe will get the best traction in the media.

The Truth About Public Relations

20 things I want you to know about how public relations really works.

I have secured hundreds of thousands of media impressions for clients in local media, national media, broadcast media and trade publications. After 12 years in the PR industry and hundreds of emails with reporters, and handling PR for clients in a number of different verticals, here is what I want you to know.

  1. Publicists act as the buffer between the media and clients. This is for good reason.
  2. We know how to deal with reporters. You don’t.
  3. Yes, we got a client on Rock Center with Ann Curry once. Just because that happened, doesn’t mean we can get you the exact same thing. Ann Curry no longer even works at NBC. Comparing press coverage between clients is comparing apples to oranges. No two press placements are the same.
  4. Stop demanding the press coverage you think you deserve. The media and market dictate what coverage you deserve. You don’t. And your PR firm doesn’t either. We can get your story to the media, but we don’t control what the media finds interesting or newsworthy.
  5. If you genuinely want to get more media coverage, that starts with you. Most PR firms will kill me for saying this, but the onus is on you to be more interesting. Are you publishing research studies with data the media would want to use? Do you have a robust content marketing program? Are you putting out rich content the media would want to use? Instead of asking your PR firm, “Why is the media not covering me?” Ask yourself, “How can I be more interesting to the media by being a more interesting human being and doing more in my field?”
  6. Have confidence in the firm you hired. If you don’t trust them to do the job, don’t work with them.
  7. Tell your PR firm what you want. Adequately set expectations from the get-go instead of being disappointed you didn’t get what you want. No one knows what you want unless you vocalize it at the start of the engagement, not at the end, after you fire your PR firm!
  8. Start local and build to national. Not the other way around.
  9. Provide access to your top executives. What is the point of hiring a PR firm if everything you say “that is off the record,” or if your CEO refuses to speak to reporters? Don’t ask to be on INC. 5000 but then not publicly disclose your earnings report. We must have access to key leadership to do our jobs properly. That includes you giving us all pertinent details, not only the glowing details that make you look good, or that you want to share. If you want to be in the media, you lose the choice of what gets disclosed.
  10. Your marketing timeline has nothing to do with your PR timeline. Stop trying to make it happen. Reporters work on their own time table. Not on your CMO’s timeline around your product launch.
  11. Stop with your pretend deadlines. Just because you want the story to run before you leave for Mar-A-Lago, doesn’t mean it actually will!
  12. Do not ask us when the story is coming out.
  13. Public relations takes time. If you want results in 30 days, consider paid advertising or direct marketing instead.

Publicist of the week Kris RubyLooking for a publicist who understands how the industry really works? Skip the line or trial and error by working with a publicist who has 12+ years of securing earned media impressions and major PR wins for clients. Plus, Ruby Media Group’s CEO was recently named “Publicist of The Week” by Women in PR. We know how to place major media impressions that convert to real results for your business. Contact us to today to turn your PR dreams into reality. 

 

 

 

PR FIRM MISCONCEPTION RESOURCES

How to spot a Fake PR Firm (VIDEO)

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Social Media Influencer Marketing: How to Work With Instagram Influencers to Grow Your Brand

 

Social Media Influencer Marketing

 

Grow your Instagram audience by working with influencers.

Want to gain visibility in front of millions of Instagram users? Consider influencer marketing in your integrated marketing communications strategy.

A social media influencer has the power to sway opinions and impact the purchasing behavior of others in a specific target area and demographic. The more specific and targeted the clout, the more influence they have through social media marketing. An influencer’s job is to try new experiences, activities, products and foods, etc., and let others know about them through their unique lens. Consumers trust the opinions of influencers and are more likely to try these experiences and activities that the influencer deems “cool” and worthy of checking out. Influencer marketing also relies heavily on visual content marketing to “show” an experience as a way to sell it. Influencers can “influence” through organic product placement, Instagram takeovers, Instagram Live video content, Instagram stories or static branded Instagram feed posts.

How We Evolved from Bloggers to Micro-influencers

Traditionally, we relied on journalists to review experiences, try new foods and products and let us know their opinions.  With the rise of social media, consumers are becoming increasingly more dependent on influencers to decide where to go, what to buy and what to do.

The trend of influencer marketing originally started with bloggers and has now headed in the direction of “micro influencers.” Many influencers today don’t even have a blog. All of their content resides within their social media platforms. The evolution from long-form blogging to short-form influencer marketing has to do with shorter attention spans, the rise of visual marketing, and how people want to consume content. Today, influencers have to show what they are doing or selling instead of writing about it.

Influencers become popular because people began to trust third-party endorsements from Public Relations rather than traditional advertising. There is a difference between saying “Check me out, I am great,” vs. “Check her out, she is great.” Consumers want recommendations from people they know and trust and influencer marketing provides that. If they feel like they have a digital relationship with influencers, and the influencer puts their stamp of approval on something, consumers are often more likely to trust the endorsement.

The Difference Between a Blogger and an Influencer

Bloggers write on a website through traditional means, while influencers “influence” through social media channels such as Instagram feed posts or Instagram Stories. Bloggers typically spend more time on long-form content creation, whereas influencers devote more time to visual content creation and less time on the writing of the content around it. Whether you are dealing with a blogger or an Instagram influencer, it is always important to avoid falling for brand ambassador social media scams on Instagram.

How a Social Media Influencer Can Help Your Business 

Influencers can help tap into new markets in your target audience that you otherwise may have had to spend more money to reach. While influencer marketing should not be your entire marketing campaign, it should be an important component in the PESO model of an integrated marketing communications plan.  However, it is imperative to note that influencer marketing is only one component of your marketing campaign. It cannot replace an entire communications plan and should be complemented by other forms of traditional public relations, advertising, social media marketing, and content marketing.

What You Gain From Working With an Influencer

You may be wondering why you should have to pay a social media influencer to promote your business. After all, you are already providing them with complementary services or products to review, so why should you have to pay a fee beyond comped services? In addition to reviewing your product or service, social media influencers are providing you with content that you can reuse for other purposes to market your business. Additionally, an influencer’s job isn’t as simple as posting something on social media and is often more complex than you may realize. Here is a behind-the-scenes look at what social media influencers do to make sure your business gets the most out of a sponsored post or social media endorsement:

Social Media Influencers:

  • Find and vet relevant social media-worthy opportunities
  • Coordinate the actual photos of the experience either on their own or by hiring outside photographers
  • Research new angles on the same topics to see how their post and images can gain more visibility and “likes.”
  • Choose the right photo for the post
  • Conduct Hashtag and tagging research to increase post visibility and proper sponsored post tagging
  • Write an engaging caption to draw interest
  • Make sure the photo looks aesthetically pleasing with the rest of their feed
  • Execute sponsored posts complying with brand guidelines without appearing overly staged or promotional
  • View social media post statistics and engagement metrics to see what content is performing better

How to Effectively Work with an Instagram Influencer

If you are thinking about working with a social media influencer to promote your brand or product, here are 5 things to keep in mind before engaging them:

  1. Vet the influencer. Many social media influencers tout their inflated follower counts to show that they have a higher following than they actually do. Check to see if their followers are real or just bots. One way to do this is to look at the ratio of followers to the number of likes and comments. Check to see if the comments are organic or spam that could have been bought through a third-party app or platform.
  2. Ask to see the influencer’s media kit. Vetting an influencer doesn’t just stop at how many followers they have. You also want to vet the previous work they have done with other brands. Ask for their current media kit as well as any success metrics for previous campaigns they have worked on with brands. Also, review the social media channels of companies they have done influencer marketing work with as possible referral sources and to look at the final branded posts.
  3. Do your research. Where do their primary followers reside? For example, if you are a hyper-local business, do you want to engage with an influencer who has a national or international platform? While the influencer can build great buzz about your product or company and get new followers for you, it will not be profitable if none of the followers are actually in your market. Sometimes, it is better to engage an influencer with a smaller following if those followers convert to profitable customers in your region than to work with a large influencer who has followers that will only lead to vanity metrics. “Likes” do not necessarily equal new customers and profitability. Understand the difference before engaging an influencer.
  4. Get it in writing. Make sure you are protected by having them sign an influencer marketing contract.  Carefully outline what is expected of the influencer. For example, do they have final control over creative or do you? How long will the post stay up after it has gone live? Are you supplying copy for the post or will the influencer? Will the influencer allow your logo or text on their post or do they want visual marketing with no overlay? Are they okay with your branding or can the branding be used only if it is natively embedded in the image in an organic format? All details should be worked out before the project begins.
  5. Outline creative control. One of the scariest parts of working with an influencer is the lack of creative control. The influencer will be sharing their review of your product — what they like (and don’t like!) about the product to remain authentic. Additionally, the influencer will have their own branding aesthetic which may not match the branding aesthetic you envisioned in the final post. For example, if you are looking for the influencer to post product shots but they post photos of them with the product instead, you may be disappointed. It is important to understand the level of control you will have over the final post and its aesthetic. If you want to have final control, specify it in writing. Most influencers want to show their followers how the product fits in with their lifestyle, which may be different than how you or your CMO envisions the post. Have open lines of communication with the influencer before you agree to a deal.

Influencer Marketing Checklist

✓    Is their branding similar to yours?

✓    Does the influencer have devoted followers?

✓    Is their content high-quality?

✓    Are their captions well written?

✓    Are their followers engaged with their content?

✓    Are their followers aligned with your target audience?

Key Takeaways

✓    Just because an influencer has a small following does not mean they are not worth looking at.

✓    Likes do not equal engagement.

✓    Influencers typically want to control how your product is shared creatively.

✓    Influencers have their own branding aesthetic that may not match yours.

✓    Let the influencer see how the product fits into their lifestyle.

✓    Audiences will respond better to authentic and organic content creation.

✓    Make sure the influencer’s followers are in your target market.

✓    Consider an influencers engagement rate, quality of followers and other brands they have worked with.

✓    Appropiately tag branded content on Instagram as “paid sponsorship” posts.

✓    An influencer’s loyalty will always be to their audience first.

The Future of Influencer Marketing

In the future, every person with an Instagram or other popular social media account will see that they, too, can become influencers. So, if you can’t afford to hire an influencer, consider your sphere of influence. Anyone can be an influencer; you just have to be willing to put in the work. Once you realize that you can be an influencer, you will recognize the power of your brand on digital platforms. The key is to define your niche and target audience and stick to it.

For additional information on influencer marketing, check out the article “Becoming an Influencer: A Look at the Emergence of the Influencer”

INFLUENCER MARKETING RESOURCES

The FTC’s Endorsement Guides 

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Social Media Marketing Pricing | How Much Social Media Really Costs

The Real Reason Why Social Media Marketing Will Cost More in 2019

Kris Ruby Social Media Pricing

THE MYTH OF ‘FREE’ SOCIAL MEDIA

If you’re a small business owner contemplating your next move in the changing social media landscape, remember this: the illusion that social media marketing is “free” is just that…an illusion. Using social media networks may be low or no cost, but what your company shares on them is as valuable as traditional advertising. As a result, real social media marketing takes time to produce content that can stand out in an already over-saturated market.

From the initial post idea to concept, execution, creative work, hashtag research, Instagram Story strategy, photo sourcing and numerous rounds of edits, a social media post is never just a simple “post.” A post with no meaning behind it is just a photo and nothing more. Your business deserves more.

WHY YOUR BUSINESS NEEDS A LARGER SOCIAL MEDIA BUDGET IN 2019

As the saying goes, you get what you pay for.  If you are paying more for better creative, you are buying a more polished final product that will spread further in the digital ecosystem. Larger social media budgets help your social media marketing agency achieve the following:

1) Produce better creative.
2) Increase the visibility of the creative to a larger, targeted audience.

This is critical to fighting any new algorithm changes, such as the one that Facebook released earlier this year. You will be equipped with an arsenal of compelling content and media budgets to boost the content.

THE SOCIAL MEDIA ALGORITHM DEBATE

Every time there is an algorithm change in the major social media networks, including Facebook or Instagram, debate ensues between digital marketing experts. Some marketers believe that if agencies are creating great content all along, they will be immune to algorithm changes. Other marketers believe that with algorithm changes comes increased budgetary requirements for ad spend to have more visibility of your content. While creating great content will certainly help immunity, you can only fight an algorithm change so hard if you have limited-to-no resource allocation on ad spend for these platforms.

So, is it really about who is right in this debate, or is the larger issue how to define what great content means in the evolution of social media marketing. For example, a static photo post could have been considered great five years ago, whereas today, a video or GIF is much more compelling. In 2019, you need discretionary dollars to create what is considered great as content consumption needs change.

WHAT GREAT MARKETING CONTENT LOOKS LIKE TODAY VS. 5 YEARS AGO

In the old days of traditional advertising, companies spent weeks on one piece of creative that went into a magazine, newspaper or billboard. But then social media became the new magazine or the new billboard. However, with the advent of social media platforms, creative typically seen in print outlets is is expected to be produced daily and tenfold. In addition, videos were on the rise and social media platforms changed how viewers would see things and when.

Social media marketing experts tell people to just “create better content” by posting more videos daily, doing Facebook ads daily and creating more graphic content. This comes with an incremental price tag that continues to increase when many small business owners aren’t even sold on the ROI of social media to begin with. It is important to understand the cost associated with all of these recommendations for the labor involved to produce this level of content.

WHERE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING AGENCY RETAINER DOLLARS GO

Producing this level of content requires more labor and a diverse skill set that includes graphic design, copywriting, photography, video production, branding and so much more. However, not every social media marketer is going to be a specialist in each of these areas. Therefore, social media marketing agencies now have to bring on specialists to produce this type of content. Rising labor costs from the agency side have to remain in line with the fees to produce the creative required for social media.

The disconnect is that many small business owners believe a social media marketing specialist should possess all of these skills if they are hiring them. They do not want to pay a separate fee for the other services or specialists. This does a great disservice to photographers, videographers, writers, and graphic designers. All business owners need to understand that just because you or your social media marketing specialist own an iPhone, it does not mean you or they are a great photographer. The unrealistic expectation that you should be able to replace an entire industry to keep up with content output demands is hurting everyone across the board.

Using the same tool does not mean you have the same craft. You hire a photographer for their vision, intricate knowledge of lighting and ability to shoot something you may not see. You hire a social media marketer to put all of this together and build a brand for your business. When you believe that a social media professional should be able to be a photographer and a marketer, you are hurting your business. A social media marketer is skilled at taking all of these assets and creating a beautiful Instagram grid. Not all, however, are skilled at taking photos or having the same artistic vision a photographer has. Similarly, a great copywriter may produce excellent copy for Facebook posts, but may struggle with producing a visually appealing Instagram theme. But it’s all social media, right?

In addition to bringing on specialists to create social media content for each platform, there is also a great deal of manual labor that goes into the tactical side of social media. You may be wondering where all of your social media dollars go on a monthly basis to produce this content. At RMG, your social media manager does the following for you on a day-to-day- basis:

• Strategic Social Media Consulting
• Post Ideation/ Brainstorming
• Content Calendar Approval
• Content Edit Rounds
• Further Client Approval Edit
• Hashtag Research
• Tagging of posts
• Photo/ Video shoots to produce assets
• Grid Layout of content
• Live Feed Story Creation (separate content from feed content)
• Boosting Posts
• Creation of FB Events
• Creation of branded cover photos/ events/ graphics
• Responding to DM’s/ Comments/ Inquiries on behalf of the brand
• Favoriting comments

Many small business owners already think that paying for social media marketing is too expensive. On the other hand, many agency owners think that their services are way underpriced for what they are delivering. Essentially, two different ideas of what constitutes value for money in the social media landscape is the cause of the friction. As a business owner, you want your budget to stay the same, but the truth is that to compete in new social media ecosystem and stay ahead of algorithm changes, you need to increase your social media marketing budget. If a social media agency owner is to deliver the type of content that is needed for a business to stay relevant, they will most likely need to request a larger retainer.

WHY THE TRADITIONAL SOCIAL MEDIA AGENCY MODEL IS BROKEN FOR SMALL BUSINESSES

The traditional social media agency model for small business owners is simply broken. Expectations on content output continue to increase, while fees stay the same. But the changes were so gradual, it was hard to stop the slide. This meant that costs for social media marketing subscriptions, software and talent all continued to rise, while retainers did not. What is needed to make an impact on social media and what people are generally prepared to pay for that, is incongruent with market rates for these services.

Social Media Marketing agencies that primarily work with small businesses will struggle to deliver real results without raising retainer costs to allocate for media buying and increased content production. On the other hand, NYC Social Media Marketing agencies that are given budgets for the creative required to compete will rise to the top.

HOW TO FIGHT THE ALGORITHM CHANGES WITHOUT INCREASING SOCIAL MEDIA SPEND

So where does this leave small businesses, and social media marketing companies for small businesses? If you can’t pay increased fees to produce the creative necessary to compete on social media platforms, spend more time focused on long-form content or other outlets where you will see greater rewards on a limited budget. Those who produce great content will win in this social media economy. However, it would be negligent to say that content alone is enough. You do need to allocate resources for digital advertising if you want the content to be seen by a larger audience.

SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS ARE RENTED SPACE

At some point in the near future, social media platforms may charge companies to use their platforms. It is important to remember that social media platforms are merely rented space. Think about it this way- it is better to own than to rent property. The same is true for social media- invest the time in creating content that you “own” and if you get kicked out as a tenant of a specific social media platform (Facebook starts charging users), you can take your content and move it to another platform (Twitter) without feeling like your investment went down the drain. Diversify your social media assets so you are not putting all of your content into one network that may change at any moment due to algorithm changes, and always save a copy of your content in case the platform decides to remove your account or block your content.

WHAT YOU WILL GET OUT OF AN INCREASED SOCIAL MEDIA SPEND

When you invest in better content marketing for social media, you are getting so much more than a good post. You are getting content that can be reused and disseminated in so many different ways. For example, let’s say that you are a New York City physician who is investing in a social media content strategy, the content could be repurposed for:

• Imagery in an upcoming PowerPoint presentation at a healthcare conference
• Patient Collateral
• Blog Post Imagery
• Social Media Posts across several platforms
• Flyers

The trick is to learn how to leverage one piece of content in different platforms beyond just using it as a simple post to get the most out of it. There should be a plan for creating/producing the content and a secondary plan for the promotion and dissemination of the content so that it can reach your entire patient base in a way that builds your practice.

THE FUTURE OF SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING 

It is critical that small business owners begin to understand why they have to pay more for a similar level of social engagement as they received before. Similarly, it is also important to understand the bind that agencies are in when business owners decide not to increase budgets for social media marketing services. If a social media agency carries on without a proper budget for boosting posts and producing the required creative, a limited number of people will be viewing the content, and the ROI may be limited.

If you are planning on hiring a social media marketing agency in 2019, equip them with the proper resources to create the necessary content for your business to compete in a saturated digital ecosystem. This will benefit your business and you will see stronger results, better creative and a more substantial long-term ROI.

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Instagram for Business: 5 Ways to Make Your Next Brand Activation More Instagrammable

Branded Activation Unicon

When it comes to showcasing your business, you want to make sure you stand out from the clutter and have something that is Instagrammable.

Marketers are taking a cue from the success of pop-up experiences such as The Museum of Ice Cream to Rosé Mansion.  The new trend? Creating Instagrammable experiences on a micro level for small to mid-size businesses for branded activations.

As publicists and social media marketers, we are asking clients, “where do people want to take photos?” prior to launching any new experiential business activation.

Figuring out how to make something more Instagrammable for social sharing is now built into the initial business or launch plan. It is no longer an after thought. If it’s not memorable enough to share on social media platforms, did it ever even exist?

However, if you can’t hire a Westchester Public Relations firm to create press-worthy activations for you, steal these tricks from us to make your corporate brand activation Insta-Worthy:

Leverage social media for corporate event ideas. If you have already chosen an event theme but need more ideas to bring the activation to life, search relevant hashtags on social media. For example, search “Corporate Event” on Pinterest, #CorporateEvent on Instagram or the full phrase on Facebook. If you are going with a unicorn theme, try searching under #unicornparty and create a mood board of everything you find to pull inspiration from.

Make it experiential. Think about how you can make the event more Instagrammable with user-generated content. Turn the brand activation into an experience that people want to share on social media. Add visual elements to make the activation pop, such as a flower wall, a balloon wall or even a colored background. People crave shareable social experiences, so think about how you can create this for them.

Create a custom hashtag. One way to capture photos is to create a custom hashtag that attendees can use on social media. Be sure to make the hashtag visible with signage at the event. You can follow the hashtag on Instagram to keep up with all of the tagged images so people can view the images post-event.

Think visually. Sometimes the greatest ideas come from visual elements that are trending in pop culture. For example, we recently did an activation for Crowne Plaza White Plains for ‘Best of Westchester,’ which included a pop-up bar and over 3,000 unicorn drink floaties. We promoted the drink floaties on social media before the event and during the event. Everyone wanted photos with the unicorn floaties and they were the hit of the event! Plus, people kept them after the event for pool parties, which was an added bonus! Think about how you can create a branded visual item that people will want to put on their own Instagram feed, and that they will want to keep long after the event has ended.

Don’t forget the swag. The best part of any PR event is always the swag bag. You can create custom swag bags and include branded items with the name/details of the event. For example, if you are planning a corporate event, you can give guests custom branded cookies with your logo.

Last but not least, don’t forget to invest in a good photographer!

Do not make the mistake of spending money on swag and branded activations and forgetting to photograph all of your hard work. These branded assets can be leveraged for other marketing materials long-term if you capture them on camera.

If you want to compete in a saturated Instagram market, you need a high volume of fresh content, which comes in the form of branded images. Sure, you can take some of these yourself on an iPhone, but if you want to make your feed stand out, you will need to heavily invest in a photographer quarterly for branded assets.  The photos can be distributed across all of your social media platforms.

More marketing dollars are being deployed for traditional photographers than ever before.  In fact, there is a resurgence  of hiring traditional photographers for Instagram marketing because having strong visual branding and fresh creative is key.  Photographers working alongside social media marketers can help your business by creating a professional agency appearance on your social platforms without paying agency fees.

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Healthcare Public Relations: Why Every Doctor Needs a Personal Brand

healthcare public relations firm

 

Why Public Relations Is Vital For Your Medical Practice

Public Relations is not taught in medical school, and yet is is a vital component of running a thriving private practice. Read The Ultimate Physician’s Guide to Public Relations to learn:

  • How to brand yourself as a medical expert
  • Why content marketing is critical for medical practices
  • 5 ways doctors can use social media marketing to promote their practice
  • How doctors can leverage a healthcare public relations firm to increase exposure and attract new patients

PERSONAL BRANDING FOR DOCTORS AND PHYSICIANS

Why is it critical for doctors to establish a personal brand? 

In today’s environment, the competition in the medical field is fiercely competitive. It is not enough to create a website, place some directory listings on Google and hope that people will magically find your medical practice.  If you want to establish trust with patients before they ever step foot in your office, building a personal brand is a great way to do that.

How personal branding benefits Doctors 

There are numerous benefits for doctors who invest time and resources in building a personal brand. For starters, it leads to more qualified prospective patients before they come in for their first appointment. It creates a relationship with patients and opens up a 2-way dialogue well before they ever visit your office. It can also cut down on incoming call volume of potential patients asking the same questions over and over again—another perk of content marketing for doctors.

Benefits of personal branding for medical professionals include: 

  • Increased notoriety in your field
  • Carving out a niche you are most known for (which will increase referrals and new cases)
  • Educating a larger pool of people beyond your patient base (which leads to more media opportunities)

MEDICAL DOCTOR PUBLIC RELATIONS

Why should a doctor hire a NY public relations firm for their medical practice? Can’t they just do it themselves? 

Public Relations builds trust and when deciding what physician to see, trust is one of the top factors.  People want to see a waiting office (or a website) filled with “As Seen In” plaques of media outlets you have been featured in from third-party sources. Subconsciously, this makes them feel more comfortable with you and builds trust. However, even if you have top tier media mentions but poor Google Reviews, there will still be inherent trust issues that a long-term reputation management strategy would be more likely to remedy.

A healthcare PR firm can help you..

  • Learn how to speak in sound bites
  • Get quoted in national media
  • Become a national phenomenon in your specialty
  • Create a personal brand that turns you into a physician star
  • Submit awards and nominations on your behalf to help you get more “Top Doctors” plaques on your wall

So, what do people in healthcare PR do and how can they help your practice?

Healthcare PR specialists pitch medical experts to the media. They bridge the gap between large healthcare issues and offering up subject matter expertise who can condense these complex medical issues into sound bites that people without a medical degree can understand.

What is medical practice public relations and healthcare PR?

Medical Practice Public Relations is the practice of keeping a doctor in the news. Whether it is commenting on current trending health items (ex. the opiod crisis) or getting quoted in trade publications, medical PR keeps your practice visible. Another added benefit, and perhaps the most overlooked benefit of medical practice public relations, is the link juice you receive from high-quality media outlets every time you are quoted. All of these backlinks help build your authority over time with Google. So really, you can either hire a top PR firm, or an SEO firm- or both- but there is no avoiding that the work needs to be done for a medical practice to stay visible.

healthcare pr tip

 

Why most doctors have a PR problem..

The majority of local physicians rely on traditional advertising methods and direct marketing to attract new patients. At one point, this was the tried and true way to build a practice, but with the advent of digital PR and social media, it is no longer the only effective way to build a medical practice.

Why would a local medical practice need national media exposure?

National media outlets do not only entail the big ones most people commonly think of such as Fox News or CNN. The great thing about the disruption of traditional media is that there are so many different digital channels to market your practice.

For example, Web MD, Healthline or even high ranking podcasts can all full under the national media umbrella today.

As a local physician, you may think national media exposure would be a total waste for your practice because you can only serve local clients.

Here is why that is wrong.

People in local areas still read national outlets, so if you skip national media, you are making a big mistake! Plus, national media is a great value proposition and brand differentiator. This helps you attract new patients.

Traditional advertising in print publications simply can’t compete from a reputational standpoint with the amount of credibility gained from third-party media endorsements. Media coverage is the #1 way to get credibility for physicians. And yes, the top doctor award you pay for and the sponsored content sections still count as print ads. That is not the same as PR!

Hiring a public relations firm for your medical practice

As consumers, we choose service providers largely by what the media dictates and by what we find on Google. So what makes you think it is any different for how people hire physicians? People want to see that you are quoted as a medical expert in national tv outlets or on digital sites and blogs. They don’t just want to hear you say why you are the leading cardiologist. They want to see other media outlets show why you are the leading cardiologist through national validation from the media on the claims you make on your practice website. Patients value media exposure much more than you think!

Here is the harsh reality.. 

If you are not marketing your practice and publicizing your medical practice through a systematic and ongoing PR campaign, patients are more likely to look past you and choose another physician who has branded their practice in a more visible way. When they search on Google, they want answers to their medical questions. Wouldn’t it be great if you were the one answering their questions as a quoted medical expert in articles? Yes! It would!

Benefits Of Public Relations In Healthcare

What are some of the Benefits Of Public Relations In Healthcare?

Healthcare PR Benefits:

There is a direct correlation between physician influence and increased visibility in the media. Plus, PR for your medical practice can lead to the following…

  • More inbound leads with prospective patients as a result of PR
  • Higher retention rate with current patients
  • Can demand higher rates with new patients as a result of national media coverage
  • Press coverage can lead to paid speaking engagements or brand endorsement deals
  • Ability to grow your practice by attracting top talent and doctors
  • Increased visibility to referring physicians

HOW DOCTORS CAN CONNECT DIRECTLY WITH THE MEDIA

This is an e-mail we received from a NY physician interested in our medical PR services. Unfortunately, many doctors have not had great luck pitching the media on their own. Many doctors have tried using HARO and hear crickets back. Why? Because pitching the media takes skill and requires a substantial amount of time. Time, unfortunately, it not something most doctors have a surplus of!

“I’m still fairly early in my career and need to better establish myself as an expert to gain trust for business expansion pursuits. Our caseloads are generally full at the practice, but marketing to attract higher-paying clientele is always a good aim too. I’ve tried cold-calling reporters to volunteer for pieces on mental health, but to no avail. I have a competitor who seems to have excellent PR and I’m jealous because she is even more junior than me but has greater name recognition!”

Is HARO (Help a reporter out) a replacement for PR and personal branding for doctors?

Haro is a great resource for doctors to build media mentions. However, responding to Haro queries is not a comprehensive public relations campaign for your medical practice. If you are looking to build referrals with other physicians, conferences and events may be a more suitable approach to achieve that goal. It is important to note that there is an art to pitching the media and crafting press-worthy responses for Haro. Some doctors may be more likely to craft responses back to these queries in medical jargon, which is not necessarily what a reporter is looking for if they are writing a consumer piece. Having a Public Relations consultant who specializes in the medical field would be ideal. If you are just starting your practice, then Haro is one of many great tools to keep in your arsenal. Here are some great PR tips on how to use HARO to increase your response rate and write a great HARO pitch.

Can traditional media exposure grow your medical practice? 

Absolutely! People love to see their Doctor on TV. In fact, we recently just landed one of our medical PR clients on “The Doctor’s” TV show in Los Angeles. It has done amazing things for her practice!

What do I need to know before hiring a New York public relations firm to promote my medical practice? 

The number one thing you need to understand is the amount of time it takes to work with a healthcare public relations firm. You also need to have time in your schedule to respond to their press requests, usually on a minute’s notice.  If you enjoy having a very scheduled day with no interruptions, a healthcare public relations firm may not be the best approach. Doctors who get the most out of working with a medical PR firm answer the media immediately when they call. You also need to know that everything is a balancing act between the PR firm and the media outlet.

Even if you spend two hours answering a press request and craft a one-page response, only 2 sentences may be used in the article. You have to be comfortable with the inherent lack of control that comes with working with a medical Public Relations firm and the media. Things often change very quickly and you need to be able to adapt to that. Also, think about what kind of media is preferable for you. For example, if you don’t have the luxury of shutting down your practice for the day when a TV producer calls and wants you on set in an hour, radio may be a better approach for your medical practice.

Does a doctor really need a NY Public Relations firm to promote their medical practice? 

Yes, unless you are a super savvy social media influencer who has already amassed thousands of followers on your own, you should consider working with a medical Public Relations firm. The majority of doctors you see quoted in the media don’t miraculously land those spots. They simply don’t have time to be pitching themselves to media or managing the tedious work that is entailed with media relations outreach. They are focused on their medical practice and seeing patients. Sure, anyone could technically do PR successfully on their own if they put in the time, but from my experience, doctors have very limited time and marketing themselves is simply not at the top of their list. They want to focus on practicing medicine, not on the business of medicine.  This is where we come in and help!

What are some critical elements of a public relations campaign for a doctor?

Getting quoted in digital outlets, feature articles on your practice in regional publications, radio appearances on trending news topics, award submission/ nominations for top doctor categories, pitching for conference speaking, promotion of conferences, coordination of marketing materials for conferences, content marketing, social media marketing, and promotion of press hits on social media. The list is pretty long…medical practice marketing and PR could be a full-time job!

Why does a medical practice need to be visible if they have nothing newsworthy to promote in the media?

I constantly say that we don’t do marketing- what we do is medical practice communication. Doctors need practice marketing the same way they need to drink water, sleep or eat. It isn’t really up for debate. It is a critical component of the way that people communicate today. You are either in the conversation or you are completely left out of it.  It is better to have a hand in mitigating risk and managing the conversation than to let angry patients trash your reputation online or make false speculations.

Doctors don’t have the luxury of pausing marketing campaigns either. If they expect to build real relationships with a community, they can’t pause the conversations for months at a time. Imagine trying to build a relationship with someone but saying, “I have nothing new to tell you, so I am just not going to speak.”

The details are in the daily interactions- that is the ‘life” and the pulse of a medical practice. Those are the patient stories people want to hear. But expecting this to be a big media blitz to start or stop at your leisure is not at all what healthcare marketing is all about. To reap the benefits of medical practice marketing and PR, you need to make a long-term commitment (and financial investment) to stick with it and understand why you are doing it. It isn’t because you have something to promote. It is because it is what the new patient of today demands of your practice. The medical practices that choose to ignore this truth will lose out to the practices that are embracing this and will, unfortunately, become obsolete.

Look at any social media savvy practice owner and ask them how they have built their medical practice. The majority have done very little traditional advertising and gotten most of their referrals through patients online via social media marketing and personal branding efforts. They would never think of pausing social media, PR or marketing because it is so ingrained in their digital DNA. They don’t view any of this as marketing or PR, they view it as living and communicating.

MEDIA TIPS FOR DOCTORS: HOW TO POSITION YOURSELF AS A MEDICAL EXPERT

Here is the good news. You already are a medical expert. The tough part is over!

Now, the fun part begins: learning how to position yourself as a medical expert to members of the media.

Our motto is: Package, pitch, promote.

How to Build Your Personal Brand as a Physician (a 3 step process) 

Step 1: Package yourself as a medical expert. Put together a well crafted bio and headshot with your medical credentials.

Step 2: Pitch. Pitch your expertise as a medical expert on trending news stories. Let the media know your talking points on different health outbreaks. Be sure to include your opinion with talking points!

Step 3: After you have secured press placements, make sure to promote the news coverage on social media. Build your personal brand on social media by keeping track of all of your media placements so you can easily share them with members of the media, and with patients!

Key Takeaway: What do all successful doctors know about branding themselves? They know that frequency and volume are the most important component of a healthcare PR strategy. You cannot do one podcast and expect to develop a personal brand overnight. The key is to do many interviews over the course of your entire medical career in different media formats to continue building your brand as a medical expert in the media.

SOCIAL MEDIA FOR DOCTORS

Why do Doctors need social media?

Many people ask, “Why would a medical practice use social media?” The answer is simple: users media consumption needs have changed, and it is no longer enough to reach prospective patients through traditional media vehicles. If you want to reach millennials, you need to be active on social media. Plus, if you want to reach baby boomers, social media is also critical, especially Facebook!

How does social media help healthcare?

Social media helps healthcare because it enables you to take control of the narrative. One of the most common complaints we hear from doctors is that there is so much misinformation and fake news spreading around on digital platforms. Social media enables physicians to dispel those myths by creating content that not only helps patients, but also helps those way beyond your patient base (and can even help the media too!).

What are some successful social media marketing strategies for medical practices you would recommend?

The best marketing strategy for a medical practice includes a heavy focus on content marketing. Although it takes a lot of time to sit down and write these articles, it is instrumentally helpful for building the brand of your medical practice. If you successfully implement a content marketing strategy for your medical practice, you are creating a resource library of educational content for prospective patients. This content will give patients a real understanding of your deep knowledge base in a specific area.

instagram marketing tips for doctors

The first place potential patients go to when visiting a website is typically the medical practice’s blog—if you don’t have any information on it, you are missing out on a prime opportunity. The bounce rates are also typically higher for medical practice websites that lack strong content. Investing time and resources in targeted landing pages on service offerings, optimizing your site and investing time in content marketing would be the first place to start if you are serious about marketing your medical practice.

BONUS material: Click above to read out full article on how to grow Instagram followers for your medical practice!

Why is content marketing crucial for medical practices? 

Patient needs have infinitely changed. Unfortunately, they expect a steady flow of information coming from your practice. If they look up a medical practice that has no content or strong referring backlinks to their site, this is troublesome. Or perhaps a Facebook page for the practice that has never once been updated.  All of these are red flags to the social media savvy millennial consumer today when searching for a doctor.

What are some benefits of social media marketing for medical practices? Will it drive new patients? 

Social media marketing is great for maintaining a steady flow of communication with your current patient base. For example, many of the medical practice Facebook pages we manage receive consistent comments, likes and shares from their current patients. As a doctor, you may think, why am I paying a social media marketing agency to market to my existing patient base if I already have them as patients? The reason is because every time they are sharing or engaging with your content, it is being promoted to their entire friend list which could be in the thousands.

These are all potential new patients for you, many who are located in your geographic area. Practices that are more active on social media also have patients that feel more “connected” to the practice. Another perk of social media marketing for medical practices, particularly with millennials, is that they don’t have to pick up the phone to call you. They can get their question answered directly from Facebook or Instagram through a comment thread or Direct Message. For many millennials, myself included, that would be reason in itself to choose a doctor (someone who communicates with you the way you like to be communicated with!).

What are two ways doctors can use content marketing to promote their medical practice and attract new patients? 

If you have invested time and resources in a great piece of educational content, make sure it is optimized with relevant keywords. Next, promote it in the right media channels. A great way to do this is through targeted Facebook ads. So, if you are a dermatologist in NYC and write a piece on the top 10 ways to achieve greater skincare, target the post to people in your demo by hobbies, age, location, interests. You may also consider retargeting as an additional component.

PERSONAL BRANDING ON SOCIAL MEDIA FOR DOCTORS

How can a doctor leverage social media marketing to build their personal brand? 

Social media marketing is ideal for personal brand building for doctors.  It gives you a platform to share your press mentions with others in your industry, which can indirectly lead to other speaking opportunities at medical conferences or more social media. mentions. The social media savvy doctors on Instagram are crushing it today- they have become the new “influencers” of the medical field- and as a result of social media, many have even bypassed having to hire a traditional Public Relations firm because the media comes to them directly (through direct message!).

What are some social media marketing mistakes doctors make when promoting their medical practices? 

The biggest social media mistake doctors make is that they ask their office manager to run social media marketing for the medical practice. Another mistake is not consulting with legal counsel before launching a social media marketing campaign for your medical practice. For example, the law can be tricky with what medical questions you answer on social media platforms or what type of patient information is revealed and transmitted through secure and unsecure channels. Someone who is an office admin, or even a social media specialist, may not know the legal intricacies. Social Media Marketing is great for building your medical practice, but it also infinitely opens you up to legal risks if not handled properly. It is critical to invest in the right resources. Social media moves at a rapid pace so there needs to be a plan for responses on behalf of the medical practice. Another obvious mistake is being overly self-promotional or still using social media like it is a traditional ad.

HOW TO BUILD YOUR PERSONAL BRAND AS A PHYSICIAN

Personal branding tips for physicians

Think about what area of expertise you want to specialize in as a medical expert for media queries.

For example, do you want to be branded as an expert in Crohn’s disease? As the leading spinal surgeon?

If you were booked as a medical expert, what would the lower third refer to you as on screen?

Before I start a healthcare public relations campaign, I always do a deep dive discovery session with a doctor.

It is critical to create a personal branding strategy for the doctor before you can execute a larger healthcare PR strategy for the medical practice.

REPUTATION MANAGEMENT FOR DOCTORS AND PHYSICIANS

How would you get media for my medical practice so that the first search results on Google are positive?

One of the benefits of digital PR for Doctors is that it will help to push down negative reviews and Google results you are not happy with about your practice.

Consistently publishing new content and being quoted in high-profile media outlets (both consumer and trade) will help positively impact rankings. However, PR is still not a guarantee that negative reviews will disappear entirely. A proactive reputation management strategy paired with PR will do wonders to combat any issues.

As a healthcare PR firm, our focus is on a mix of content marketing, digital PR and social media. We are not focused on quick 1 hit wonder press hits. Instead, the goal is to keep you visible for your subject matter expertise as a thought leader which will have the greatest impact on search rankings and visibility over time.

We specialize in Public Relations for Doctors and private medical practices. We get our clients consistently mentioned in high-profile media outlets online and quoted for their expertise around timely news topics in their specialty niche.

However, it is important to note that despite our best efforts, publicists do not control Google search results, regardless of how good they are! We discuss this in our latest article as being one of the top 5 misconceptions about publicists and public relations (scroll down to PR Misconception #5)

PR Firm for Doctors: Medical Practice PR 

Ruby Media Group has executed dozens of successful public relations campaigns for doctors.  Through our award-winning health and wellness PR division, we have secured hundreds of impressions of earned press coverage for doctors and medical specialists in national media outlets including Allure, Men’s Health, Shape Magazine, Dr. Oz Magazine, Popsugar, Ask Men, Everyday Health, Radio MD, Vice, Healthline, Readers Digest, Newsweek, Fox 5 NY,  People Magazine, New York Post, Harpers Bazaar, Women’s Health, Prevention Magazine, TodayShow.com and hundreds of other national media outlets. RMG’s public relations campaigns for doctors establishes NY physicians as the go-to doctors in their field.

As a leading healthcare PR firm, we represent doctors in specialties including cardiology, dentistry, primary care and more! We also work with hospitals and top NY physicians to gain massive earned media results for clients. We have access to a wide network of regional health experts available to the media at all times. Additionally, we have a solid understanding off HIPPA issues pertaining to medical social media.  We help doctors distill complex medical issues into actionable healthcare tips for public consumption.

Public Relations Services for Medical Doctors 

Interested in increasing media exposure for your medical practice? Click here to view Medical Practice PR, RMG’s division dedicated entirely to healthcare public relations for doctors, medical practices and NY physicians. Click here to see case studies of media coverage and press placements we have generated for our medical PR clients. Ruby Media Group is a recognizing leader in healthcare PR. Personal branding in medicine is done strategically and methodically. If you want to learn how private practices brand themselves, email us for a copy of our free webinar. If you are looking for a PR firm for Physicians in New York, NY, contact us today!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

As the CEO of a top healthcare PR agency, Kris Ruby provides public relations services for doctors, hospitals and leading physicians in private practice.  Kris Ruby has 12+ years of experience managing and executing public relations campaigns for doctors.

pr firm for doctors quote

 

PR Firm for Doctors Webinar: How traditional media can grow your medical practice, fast!

Let me guess. Someone promised you the golden ticket to DIY PR. You may have even purchased a course called, “How to earn media coverage without hiring a PR firm.”

Yet here you are, reading this article, because you know the false promises of these courses failed you and just didn’t deliver.

Watch the full webinar to learn:

  • How media can attract more patients and increase the visibility of your medical practice
  • Why you need to bring on a PR firm (and stop wasting time and money on DIY PR efforts)

BONUS: Learn my Top Medical Practice PR Secrets

The top 3 ways medical experts break into the media including:

  • Positioning newsworthy medical cases
  • Tying into breaking news stories of the day
  • Tapping into the power of Medical Trade Publications (a hidden gem for feature interviews!)

Do you want more media exposure for your medical practice?

Yes! Teach me how to grow my practice

PUBLIC RELATIONS FOR MEDICAL DOCTORS RESOURCES

Media Tips for Doctors 

How to Leverage Social Media to Develop a Personal Brand & Increase Media Exposure 

Brand Yourself: Why Every Doctors Needs a Personal Brand 

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10 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Chance Of Media Coverage

PR pitching mistakes

How to Get Media Coverage For Your Business

Securing press coverage for your business is a continual process.  Pitching the media can take months before a journalist is interested in picking up your story.

DIY public relations guides teach business owners how to get their pitch picked up.

But that is only half of the equation!

Business owners are often caught off guard when the media replies to a pitch they sent out and is finally interested in writing about them.

If you don’t have the proper assets to give to the media when they are ready to interview you, you may be sabotaging your golden opportunity for earned media coverage.

In this article, you will learn:

  • How to prepare for media interviews
  • How to pitch the media & press
  • 10 pitching mistakes to avoid

10 PR & Media Pitching Mistakes 

As a seasoned Public Relations specialist for over a decade, I have seen Executives sabotage themselves when they try to pitch the media. They routinely make the same mistakes which hurt their media relations efforts and can kill a story. But luckily for you, you can learn from their mistakes and from my industry knowledge to get more traction for your PR campaign.

Avoid these PR mistakes!

1. Not having high-resolution photos: It perplexes me how many entrepreneurs pitch the media and do not have a simple high-resolution photo or headshot. This is an absolute must if you are pitching a personal branding angle to a journalist or if you are trying to secure a column in a trade publication as a contributor. If you don’t have a high-res photo, you can delay the entire process. You also need to have branded lifestyle photography for feature articles or human interest stories. If you are pitching an entrepreneurial angle, an editor will want to see you in action, meeting with clients or doing what you say you do best. Newsrooms are severely understaffed, so don’t expect a reporter to send a photographer to your office for a photo shoot.

2. Wearing clothing that clashes on camera:  If a producer wants to book you for a national television segment, they will want you in the studio within a few hours. Finding television friendly attire that looks good on camera can be time-consuming. Start looking for outfits well before you are ever booked for a TV segment. For men, this can be as simple as a nice suit. For women, bright-colored dresses with short sleeves or three-quarter sleeves work well. To avoid any on-camera surprises, make sure you have tried on the dress sitting down to see how long it will appear on screen.

3. Using an outdated executive bio: Do you have a recently updated executive bio that can accompany all of your outbound pitches to the media? If not, start working on this now. You should have a few different variations of your bio: one for trade publications, one for consumer pitching and a different version for bylines.

4. Missing contact information:  This sounds simple, yet so many people skip this obvious step. They pitch the media and do not include an email address or a cell phone number to reach them on their website. Journalists don’t want to spend time submitting lengthy contact forms to reach you. Make your contact information visible in the footer of your site to increase your chances of visibility. If you are going to provide a phone number, make sure it is a direct line, and not a spammy 1-800 number.

5. Missing media collateral:  If you are pitching a human interest story to the media, journalists will want to see some basic information. This makes their lives significantly easier so they can review these pertinent details working on the story. It may also spark new story angles they may not have thought of.  Include FAQs about the “why” of your business. Try to answer all of the questions you think they may have so they can pull in relevant details from the Q&A or fact sheet. Always send this in Microsoft Word and avoid sending a PDF.

6. Including photos without image names:  Journalists work on several different stories at a time and speak with different sources. If a journalist requests photos, make sure each photo has a file name instead of the regular “DSC2019.” Naming the image file will also give you an added SEO boost if they decide to run the images with the story. Think about the search terms you want to rank for when considering what to name each file.

7. Not having additional sources on file: If you are a doctor who is pitching a broadcast segment about a new health epidemic, make sure you have other sources lined up to support the claim. You sitting alone in a dark room discussing the story is not a complete segment. The media may want to speak with someone who was impacted by the epidemic, a professor on the epidemic and also have you provide your medical expertise on the story. They are also going to want b-roll footage as part of the package. Make sure you have all of this lined up before you pitch the media.

8. Using expired Dropbox links:  Set up a Dropbox account before pitching the media. There is nothing more frustrating to a journalist than emailing a source numerous times and waiting to get the story assets they need, especially because of something like an expired Dropbox link.

9. Missing major newsworthy talking points:  If you are pitching yourself as an expert, you must be frequently consuming the news. A journalist doesn’t want to hear that you have never heard of the story they are working on that is trending in your industry. If they call you for a quote about a story and you have no idea what they are talking about, they will seriously question your credibility. I set up Google alerts for my industry so that I am always well-versed to comment on breaking news.

10. Lacking knowledge of what the media likes:  If you want to be quoted in the media as a subject matter expert and thought-leader, educate yourself on what journalists are looking for in expert sources. You can search on Twitter under the #PRFail hashtag to see what journalists hate. If a journalist asks your opinion, they aren’t looking for a one-line response. If you give them a one-liner, they are less likely to quote you. It is better to give more substantial content to a journalist that they can pull quotes from then to give less.

Not following these public relations tips could reduce the likelihood of being included in a story.

How do I get the media’s attention?

Start by following this list!

Media Pitching 101 Checklist:

  • High-resolution headshots
  • Lifestyle Photos (horizontal)
  • TV-ready attire at the office (in case the media calls!)
  • Updated executive bio
  • Contact information is easily accessible
  • Updated media collateral
  • FAQ document in Word
  • All photos are properly named
  • Additional sources are ready to comment
  • Dropbox links are active (not expired!)
  • Google Alerts set up for your industry

How do you approach a journalist?

Give journalists what they want, how they want it, when they want it and in the preferred format they want it in.

How to get major media coverage for your business 

Sick of sabotaging your chances at media coverage through failed DIY PR attempts that lead nowhere? Contact us today to start increasing exposure and visibility for your business.

Media Interview Preparation Resources

Media Interview Checklist

Media Training Guide

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kris Ruby has over 12 years of experience pitching the media. As a seasoned public relations specialist, Kris Ruby has secured thousands of media impressions and press placements for clients in national publications. Ruby Media Group is an award-winning NY Public Relations Firm and NYC Social Media Marketing Agency.  The New York PR Firm specializes in healthcare marketing, healthcare PR and medical practice marketing.  Ruby Media Group helps companies increase their exposure through leveraging social media and digital PR. RMG conducts a thorough deep dive into an organizations brand identity, and then creates a digital footprint and comprehensive strategy to execute against. Specialties include content creation, strategic planning, social media management, and digital public relations. RMG helps clients shine in the digital space by extracting their strengths, developing story ideas, and crafting compelling news angles to ensure journalists go to their clients first as story sources and thought leaders. Ruby Media Group creates strategic, creative, measurable targeted campaigns to achieve your organizations strategic business growth objectives.

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Social Media Marketing Job Search Tips

Social Media Marketing should enhance your resume, not detract from it! 

 

NY Social Media Marketing Agency Owner Kris Ruby of Ruby Media Group was recently quoted in Brit + Co and AskMen discussing How to make your social media profiles job search ready and How to Use Social Media to Land a Job. Social Media Marketing is a critical component of your job search. Social Media can either help your job search or hurt it. Taking the time to develop a personal brand and clean up your social media profiles can pay dividends in landing the perfect job. Below please find our top social media marketing tips for Job Seekers to keep in mind. Use these tips to ensure your social media profiles are PC & Scandal Free!

Social Media Mistakes Job Seekers Need to Avoid 

Not deleting politically charged social media posts that could be seen as offensive- Landing a job is already challenging enough without adding politics into the mix. Your future boss may love you, but if they see a political post that goes against their political beliefs, it, unfortunately, could sway their opinion on your candidacy for the role. Call it unfair or even illegal, unfortunately, social media does come into play during the hiring process.

Forgetting to update your social media privacy settings- Expect that employers will most likely look up your social media during the interview process. You want social media to showcase the best possible version of you and to support what you are saying in your resume. Social media should add to your overall interview package- not take away from it.

Not updating your bio on social media profiles- Your bio on Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter should reflect the role that you are seeking. Use this prime real estate to your advantage. For example, if you are seeking a luxury marketing job in Westchester, NY, your bio should say Luxury Marketing Specialist— Westchester NY not Fashion Marketing NYC. Create a profile for the job you want to get so that your brand matches up on every network to coincide with your resume. There should be no discrepancy between what you are saying you are passionate about vs. what can be found on your social media.

Forgetting that Instagram Stories can be screenshotted– Even if your social media profiles are on lockdown, companies can be wise with having other millennial employees follow you and view your stories. Just because it disappears does not mean that someone hasn’t viewed it. Keep this in mind when searching for a job and be more cautious with what you put up in your Instagram story.

How to Use Social Media Platforms to Show Off Your Professional Achievements

Twitter

Your bio on Twitter should reflect the role that you are seeking.

  • Create a branded cover photo and upload a high-resolution photo as your main image.
  • Follow other thought leaders in your industry and engage with their content
  • Favorite and RT the people in your industry who you are looking to connect with or ultimately want to work for.
  • Link to the URL of a personal web site and maximize this social media “real estate” space in your profile for maximum impact.

Instagram

Show what you Know

  • Use Instagram Stories to showcase different work-related projects.
  • Save all of the Instagram Stories as “Highlights” with branded thumbnail images.
  • Use your Instagram feed as a way to “show” your portfolio of work. For example, if you are an accountant looking to switch firms, you can write tax tips in the notepad section of your iPhone and post a series of these images to your feed.

Facebook

Engage in Industry Groups

  • Share relevant articles to show you are actively engaged in your field.
  • Join industry Facebook groups. Recruiters are often in these groups and can find you from them.
  • Target Facebook ads to a select audience of industry recruiters to get on their radar (showcasing thought leadership content you have written).

Personal Branding Tips for Job Seekers on Social Media

The job candidates who stick out are the ones who use social media to their advantage by developing a personal brand. Identify your most unique attributes and choose a niche area that you want to be an expert in to stand out from the competition. Also, be sure to create a personal brand website with a portfolio for employers and recruiters to view your previous work. You should invest in a nice high-resolution headshot that can be used on all of your social media profiles. Do not use any old iPhone selfie shot— make sure it is professional!

Recruiters aren’t the only ones who will be looking at your social media profiles. Your potential colleagues will also be scoping you out on Instagram or Facebook!

Here are 3 ways to use your social media profiles to show you are a fun person to work with:

Showcase Your Hobbies- Do you volunteer? Do you love animals? What makes you tick? Your social media profiles should reflect that. For example, if you love animals and spend time volunteering on the weekends, this could help you in the interview process if the company you want to work for is very into animal rights and works with a rescue group.

Share Travel/Food photos- Do you travel often or love to eat out? One thing that 99% of people have in common is a love of great food and travel. If this is part of your life, showcase some of these images- it can show your colleagues that you enjoy being part of the vibrant downtown scene in your city and that you know what’s trendy.

Actively post on social media- Believe or not, many recruiters are fed up with the traditional recruiting channels and turn to social media to look for new candidates. Make sure you are active on LinkedIn to increase visibility and get found. Your social media could actually be the reason you land a job, instead of the reason you don’t get the job!

Use the 5 to 1 rule

Social media is inherently meant to be “social” and people ultimately miss the mark when they fail to show that they are a real person. Often, their posts can appear very robotic when they take this approach.  Many people are ultimately afraid to show a more personal side because they believe it appears unprofessional.

The truth is, people hire and work with people they like. If your social media appears like a series of ads, no one is going to be that interested in working with someone who is just selling to them. The most successful people on social media are those who have mastered the balancing act of showing personal and professional. This builds a relationship with your community and makes them that much more interested when you do have a professional accolade to share. Use the 5 to 1 rule. Every 5th post can be something personal which shows a different side of you with hobbies, interests or family.

Making sure your social media profiles are well branded is only half the battle. Social Media can also cost you your job if you misuse it after landing your dream job.

SOCIAL MEDIA JOB RESOURCES

 10 WorkPlace Etiquette Mistakes You are Making on Social Media. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kris Ruby is the CEO of Ruby Media Group, a NY social media marketing agency. Ruby has more than 12 years of experience in the social media marketing industry for top brands. Most recently, Ruby was named one of the Top Women in Digital Marketing by Izea. 

*Date last updated 2019

top women digital marketing
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5 Reasons Your Social Media Marketing Campaign Bombed

Didn’t get what you expected from your last Social Media Marketing campaign? Here’s why.

Social Media Mistakes

You have invested a great deal of your marketing budget and valuable time in social media marketing, but you may not be getting the return on investment (ROI) you hoped for. You’ve read about other businesses who are thriving on Twitter, attracting customers from Pinterest and Instagram and making money from targeted Facebook ads, but yours isn’t one of them. Before you pull the plug on your social media marketing campaign, take time to review what is and isn’t working and refine your strategy. When trying to assess what works, be sure not to skip over the basics. Review the following key areas every quarter. Not paying attention to some of these very simple rules could be the reason why your campaigns are tanking every month. Remember to invest in a social media marketing strategy up front, before engaging in social media, to avoid making critical mistakes.

You don’t know who your target audience is: First, do you really know who your customers are? Are they teens, young millennials or baby boomers? Mostly men or women? The content that you put up on social media should be of interest to your customers, but you need to know who they are first. If you’re unsure, spend some time researching who is buying your product or services and who is engaging with your content. If you don’t have a crystal-clear idea of who your buyer persona is, your Facebook advertising campaign will also under perform.

You never look at analytics: What content is performing the best with your target audience? Do they like images, video or long form content best? Out of the content you created, what generated the highest share count? If your followers love to engage with pictures, but do not seem interested in back-and-forth discussion, Instagram may be a better choice. Measure the shareability then tweak accordingly. Also, be sure to dig deeper than basic Facebook insights. Familiarize yourself with Google Search Console and Google Analytics. Review how much traffic is being driven from social media back to your website, and look at the sources that are driving inbound leads to your site.

You spread yourself too thin: Are you spending hours filtering photos for Instagram and seeing little to no results? Your target clientele may not be active users on Instagram. According to studies, the average American spends roughly 40 minutes per day on Facebook. This may be a ripe opportunity that you have completely looked past if you are more focused on Instagram or Snapchat. You need to find out where your customers are and then focus on the social media networks that perform best with your prospects. For example, your target clientele might want six-second Snapchat videos verses long YouTube videos. Do not spread yourself thin just to make sure you are “everywhere.”

You create boring content: Is your content even shareable? For example, you want your customers to know what a great staff you have and you are posting office photos daily. While customers care about customer service, if they are not sharing or commenting on these photos, stop posting them. Instead, try focusing on the benefits of your products and services and provide tips or articles that help your customers live better lives. Stop wasting time creating content that your customers are not engaging with. Rule of thumb: if you wouldn’t share the content you are creating, stop creating it. If you can’t personally see yourself even giving it a measly like, why would someone else like it?

You don’t respond: Are you tweeting out questions and not responding when your customers answer? Do your followers tweet and tag you, but you don’t interact with them? According to Entrepreneur Magazine, almost half of the millennial segment — and one in three consumers overall — say they are influenced by social media and use it to make purchasing decisions. Customers build relationships with companies through social media, so you need to take time and respond to them. If they do not see that you are responding, they will leave you behind in the social media dust.

But really, the number one reason why your social media campaign bombed? Because you are inconsistent. Social media is a daily practice. You have to post consistently to build an audience and get results. One hit wonders don’t do very well on social media. You can’t post religiously for two weeks and then ghost your followers for two months. Your audience won’t build up trust in your brand and won’t rely on you to provide consistent, steady content. Lack of consistency is the number one reasons most social media campaigns do not take off. Occasionally, small businesses with mediocre content will perform far better than large-scale agency campaigns simply because they post daily and put themselves out there. Half the battle is consistently using the technology and engaging with your audience. Devoting time daily to your presence on social media is a must in order to grow your followers and succeed. Without it, you will perpetually be in a failure-to-launch phase. Even the most expensive New York social media marketing agencies won’t be able to help you if you are not committed to consistently creating new content and measuring the performance.

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How to Market Your Medical Practice on Instagram

Instagram Marketing for Doctors Instagram Marketing For Doctors  

How is Instagram Stories similar to Snapchat? Which social media platform is better for a medical practice? 

Instagram stories is similar to Snapchat because it enables you to share the best “live” feed moments of your day through photos and videos. You can also add in location, tag other accounts and even draw on your photos. Regarding which is better for medical practices, that depends on where you have already built a patient base. For example, if you already have 1,000 active followers on your business account on Instagram, then it makes more sense to leverage Instagram stories for greater visibility. However, if you have 5,000 people following you on Snapchat, then more people will see your live Snaps then on Instagram stories. Use the live streaming features of the platform you already have an established following on. Instagram stories makes more sense than Snapchat for medical practices because anyone can publicly see them- you don’t need to add someone as a connection to view the story.

How can doctors make the most of these new social media changes to grow their Instagram followers? 

Physicians can make the most of these changes by integrating live streaming into their daily business practices.  It is no longer enough to just post aesthetically pleasing photos on Instagram or Snapchat. If you are skipping out on live streaming, you are missing out on the entire social media experience of what fans are expecting to see from your account if they follow you.  Furthermore, as more of these networks experiment with new features, there is a tremendous opportunity to be one of the first to start using them before everyone else figures out how to. This means more eyeballs on your medical practice services- for a cosmetic surgeon or someone in aesthetics, this can be substantial.

What are some other ways medical practices can increase their Instagram followers and engagement? 

Medical Practices can increase their Instagram following through planning out their Instagram “grid” of photos a week or two before they ever post anything. This will help to establish a solid Instagram brand aesthetic, which is important to their potential followers. If someone is thinking about following a doctor on Instagram, the first thing they will do is look at their last 9 photos. If they look disjointed and unbranded, someone is unlikely to follow the medical practice. The next way medical practices can increase their Instagram following is through leveraging influencers. For example, if you are a top doctor in Westchester County, you should reach out to the blogger/influencer in your town that everyone goes to for advice.

Even if that influencer isn’t looking for a specific medical treatment you offer, they may know a writer who is.  Invite them in to experience a new procedure and have them post photos and live stream their experience. Then, regram their posts from your practices page.  This will help to increase followers as you will pick up some of their followers in your geographic location, which is highly targeted and can have a high conversion rate.

A third way to increase engagement on social media is to start following the hashtags in your industry and town and comment on those photos. Like them, favorite them and leave comments to show you are engaged. You can also DM (direct message) potential followers to strike up a conversation, as long as it isn’t salesy or spammy!  We also recommend tagging other accounts in each Instagram post to increase followers. This will display the photo on the “tagged” section of their Instagram page. Potential patients interested in finding a doctor on social media will look there first.

How can medical practices repurpose existing content for Instagram posts? 

One of the best ways to repurpose existing content for Instagram posts is to regram photos of patients who have posted photos at your office. This is often an underutilized part of a medical practices Instagram strategy. However, make sure that everything you regram and post on social media is HIPAA compliant. Be sure to check out our list of 13 social media mistakes your practice is making that could cost you legal trouble, including regramming without attribution.

What are some other tips to consider when building out a healthcare social media marketing strategy for my practice on Instagram?

Tip: Strategically Hashtag. Do not make the mistake of only hashtagging industry related keywords. This does not help potential patients find you and only helps others within your industry find you, which won’t expand your digital footprint or increase followers if you are looking for leads on Instagram. For example, if you are a NYC Surgeon, hashtagging #surgeon #Doctor #medical does not necessarily help those find you who may be looking for solutions to their health-related problems. Hashtagging keywords related to what potential patients would search for is a better strategy.

Tip: Leverage Instagram stories.  Because anyone on Instagram can view your story, you are much more likely to be seen by potential new patients than you are on Snapchat, where you have to manually add someone to view their content. Instagram stories is a great opportunity to be found by more people.  Be sure to include your handle and use the hashtag feature within the story as well as adding your location. This will help your business account get picked up in large stories such as the Instagram “New York Story.”

Tip: Add video to your content. This may seem pretty obvious, but the majority of NY Physicians still opt to post regular, static based photos on Instagram instead of videos. If you really want to become a top healthcare influencer or dramatically increase your followers, you need to invest in video production. The NY physicians that are most successful on Instagram are leveraging video and basically have their own TV channels on Instagram. Give people a reason to tune into you.

Tip: Do not share your Instagram posts to every other channel. This is a big social media mistake medical practices make on Instagram to save time. They connect their Instagram account to Facebook and every other social media channel. However, Facebook will actually rank these posts lower in your feed because they prefer to see posts directly shared on their platform. What your practice posts on Instagram should not be the what it posts on Twitter or LinkedIn. You need to diversify content instead of mass posting to all of the other channels. Be sure not to make this embarrassing social media mistake, including having your practice manager running all of your social media!

Tip: Comment on others posts. One of the best ways to grow your medical practices Instagram account is to comment and like others posts. This is a better approach than mass following hundreds of accounts and unfollowing everyone that doesn’t follow you. Spend more time engaging with the content you like and the followers will organically come.

HEALTHCARE SOCIAL MEDIA RESOURCES 

Social Media Influencer Marketing: How To Work With Influencers To Grow Your Brand 

Social Media Marketing Pricing 

Healthcare Public Relations: Why Every Doctor Needs a Personal Brand 

5 Reasons Your Social Media Campaign Bombed 

13 Social Media Mistakes Your Practice is Making That Could Cost You Legal Trouble 

10 Embarrassing Social Media Mistakes Your Practice Is Making 

30 Tips To Boost Your Instagram Marketing 

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