Why Public Relations Is Vital For Your Medical Practice
Public Relations is not taught in medical school, and yet it is a vital component of running a thriving 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 physician website, place some medical directory listings on Google and hope that potential patients 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, healthcare branding and content marketing lead to a direct increase in more qualified prospective patients before they ever come in for their first appointment. It also maintains a relationship with existing patients and opens up a 2-way dialogue in-between office visits.
Plus, it cuts 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.
If you want your medical practice to rank on page one of search engine results, public relations is the best way to achieve that goal.
Digital PR builds up your digital authority, trust and authenticity factor in the eyes of Google.
Google prioritizes trusted sites, and the best way to build trust is through a strategic PR campaign. It is not enough for you to say you are the best doctor. You now need to be referenced by other media sites as the top doctor.
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 opioid 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. Word of mouth marketing is simply not going to cut it if you want new patients to find you online.
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 health and wellness 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 medical blogs. They don’t just want to hear you say why you are the leading cardiologist (and neither does Google). 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.
FACT: 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 medical 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 instead of another doctor? 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
- Demanding 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, is 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.
For example, if you are looking to build referrals with other physicians, attending conferences and hosting medical events with referring physicians may be a more suitable approach to achieve that goal.
There is an art to pitching the media and crafting press-worthy replies to journalist queries.
Some doctors may be more likely to craft responses back to queries in medical jargon, which is not necessarily what a reporter is looking for if they are writing a consumer-focused health article.
Hiring a Public Relations consultant who specializes in the medical field ensures that you have the highest possible chance of getting quoted.
We know how to package quotes and prioritize incoming media requests. We work around the media’s schedule, not your patients schedule. Our ability to consistently prioritize media requests with doctors is why our medical experts consistently get quoted in the news. Want in? Apply to become a new client today.
If you are just starting your practice, Haro is one of many great tools to keep in your arsenal. But keep in mind that it is not an integrated PESO strategy approach.
BONUS: 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.
LISTEN: PR FOR DOCTORS PODCAST (1 HOUR!)
PR Branding for Doctors: Why Every Doctor needs to Develop a Personal Brand
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 on their own. 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! This is why most physicians choose to outsource their medical PR campaigns to our public relations agency for doctors.
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 medical marketing in the traditional sense of the word. Rather, 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 accusations. You worked too hard to let someone else control the narrative. And when you take a passive approach to digital PR because you think your practice doesn’t need it, you let others control the destiny of your practice.
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 have obtained 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 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.
The first place potential patients go when visiting a physician’s website is 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 higher for medical practice websites that lack strong content. Investing time and resources in creating targeted landing pages on service offerings, optimizing your site, and crafting compelling content is the first place to start if you are serious about marketing your medical practice.
BONUS material: Click above to learn 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 of 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 building their practices at exponential rates. They have become the new healthcare “influencers” of the medical field. As a result of social media, many have 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 insecure 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 healthcare marketing resources.
Social media moves at a rapid pace, so there needs to be a plan for HIPAA compliant 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).
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.
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 of 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 recognized 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 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 PR for Doctors 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
*Date last updated 2020
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