Even the most unknown physicians, hospitals and clinics have a physician brand story to tell. As brand consultants, we help our clients uncover these tales when they answer these seen questions for us.
To gain media coverage for our clients and their brands, we must be able to find interesting stories and share them in an appealing and simple way with journalists, patients, facilitators, and others who might be so inclined to promote their physician brand to patients and referring physicians. The problem is, not all stories are obvious. People in healthcare may wonder what would make a journalist take interest in writing their lives and work.
Every physician or clinic has stories, expertise or advice to share. The trick is to find and package the stories in an interesting way to catch a journalist’s attention or gain the confidence of a referring physician or consumer seeking a solution for a medical condition or concern.
Share the physician brand stories within your practice or clinic by asking yourself the following questions:
1. What is different?
What are you offering that no other medical practice or clinic offers? How do you differentiate yourself from your competitors? Journalists are always looking for something different or unique. How you came to build the practice or the clinic, the services you offer or the unique way in which you offer them are all potential stories. Include in these types of stories what it means for the consumer and what benefits they gain.
2. What is new?
There is a reason it is called news; journalists are interested in things that are timely and attracts attention from their audiences. Know their audiences and help them solve a problem of how to connect meaningfully with that audience by giving them a topic upon which to focus. If you launched a new treatment, service, or technology, don’t wait a week to tell journalists about it. Spread the word before and as it happens.
3. What are your patients and referring physicians interested in?
If there’s a run on a specific product or service, ask yourself why it’s happening. For example, if surgical procedures at your clinic or hospital have tripled in the month leading up to summer, make this into a story. Keep an eye on what your target audience is talking about, because this is a true indication of what they are interested in. Can you comment on the topic they care about?
4. What are the trends in your specialty?
Every industry goes through times of growth, cutbacks, evolutions and changes. When these situations arise, step forward as an expert spokesman or spokeswoman to comment on these topics.
Has a new technology just come out that will change how you treat patients? Offer to discuss with journalists the impact it will have on your industry. If you do this consistently, reporters will start to see you as an industry expert and come to you for opinions.
5. Are there evergreen stories to tell?
Evergreen stories are those that come around every year, such as Christmas, tax time and school holidays. If you can link your brand to events like these, you might be in luck: Journalists and broadcasters are looking to fill their publications and timeslots with stories relating to the time of year. How a patient can use their tax-free savings HSA or HRA accounts can serve as a topic near tax time and also at the end of the tax year. It can also serve as a topic connected to checkups and preventive services.
6. What has your brand accomplished?
What milestones has your clinic or hospital achieved recently? If you won an award or were recognized by peers or published a paper, let journalists know. Though reporters aren’t interested in mundane activities such as employees of the month, they will care if it is interesting and why it is a big deal.
7. How has your clinic or hospital helped someone overcome adversity?
Everyone loves a story about overcoming a problem and succeeding despite setbacks. How did you help a patient overcome this obstacle to improve their life or their health? Explaining how you help others conquer difficulty allows your audience to learn from the story.
Once you have answered these questions and found your stories, start pitching them to journalists, publications and other media outlets that are interested your company and specialty topics,