5 Ways To Get Media Coverage As a Health Professional
As a health professional, you will probably care about the following topics: prevention of premature death and disability, maintenance and enhancement of quality of life, and personal growth and development.
In other words, you want to improve access and quality of healthcare for the population.
Media is an instrumental tool to bring facilitate changes in knowledge, beliefs, attitudes and behaviours about health.
Let's say you want to give advice and tactical recommendations, nationally or regionally, or an important message about the COVID-19 pandemic in order to spread awareness to the community. Some key messages that you want to communicate are:
"Wash Your Hands"
It is evident that you will need this platform to gain credibility. You get your message and information out to thousands of people at once. Utilising the media can help you by getting people to pay attention, and also in developing an emotional connection with your audience.
Not to mention - that if a newspaper writes a news article about you, this is great publicity. Good publicity has a larger impact on your reputation than an advertisement because it comes from a third-party. And, it attracts patients and consumers.
All these things sound easy right? So, where do we start?
This way is the first strategy that you should consider. Start by brainstorming to find relevant media platforms that touch the people you want to reach. Think about reaching out to weekly-edition, ethics or special interest publications. Identify as many people as possible by category, section, topic, or interest.
The secret here lies in the fact that the purpose of any commercial media is to attract an audience.
You might want to target dental health patients, or maybe you want to target people with nutritional issues. Whatever it is, your best chance of successful publicity will be to tap into their goal.
One of the advantages of networking is that it helps you become more visible to the right people.
Being a member of BMI Healthcare, or any other well-known health group will increase your prominence. Offer to speak at events, or to help out at conferences too. Find ways to make your local media accessible to you, and you might increase your chances of being approached for a quote.
Write press releases
A press release is a compelling news story written and sent to targeted members of the media. You write a press release to pique the interest of a journalist or publication.
Journalists are interested in well-written and informative press releases. Give them a clear, descriptive headline that tells the story, with easy-to-digest language, that explains the benefits of your whatever you are offering to local patients and consumers.
Journalism explains how to write the perfect press release for journalists. Including a quote, background notes, contact details and a good quality photo are amongst the pointers.
Take part in fundraising activities
Taking part in fundraising activities can reap dividends in editorial coverage. If you or any of your team members managed to help take action in Australia for the bushfires emergency with WWF, for example, send out a compelling press release with photos, and ensure you are available for interviews. Be prepared to share your thoughts.
Approach local journalists
Introduce yourself to your local reporters if you attend an event and see them around. Be friendly, offer to show them around, but don't be pushy.
You can also introduce yourself through email. Send out confirmation emails to editors, assistant editors and feature writers. Editors always appreciate when you let them know that they were the best contacts for your pitches.
PR Couture suggests Mondays and Tuesdays as best days to send the confirmation emails.
These are 5 of many possible ways to get media coverage. Remember, your story has to be newsworthy and relevant to your target media outlets’ readers, viewers and listeners. Bear in mind that publicity's effectiveness depends on being able to help news media outlets get what they want.