What’s new and exciting at your medical practice?  Is it newsworthy?  Should you be sharing it with your local media? It may sound intimidating, but it’s really not hard and “earned media” is free marketing for your practice.  It’s also a great way to increase your brand exposure and enhance your reputation.  The key to getting your story picked up is to be sure it is newsworthy. What’s the hook?  Content ideas include news about your providers learning a new cutting-edge procedure, your philanthropic involvement, bringing on new providers, a ribbon cutting at a new office location or health awareness months.  Local media can aide in marketing your medical practice to potential referral sources and patients. Here are 5 tips to get your story out.

1. Write a press release.

You may not have any training in this, but it can be as easy as submitting a Word document and adding your logo and your contact information at the top. At the bottom, include a short summary about your medical practice.  This is called a boilerplate.  You may already have some great content on your website that you can simply cut and paste. Come up with a title and have the key point in the first paragraph. The rest of the body of the release should include the who, what, where, when, why and how.  You can include one or two quotes from the key person in the story, which may be the doctor or the practice manager. If the story includes a community partner, co-brand the release and include a quote from them.

2. Determine your media contacts.

Have someone in your office research the radio, TV and newspapers in your community and put their contact information in a database. Some news stories may be better for TV (especially if it’s an event) and some will be better as newspaper articles.

3. Send your media release.  

This is best done via email.  Don’t forget to post the release on your website, too.  Even if no one picks up your story, your patients, referring doctors and potential patients can read about you and your medical practice through your releases as they research you.  Be sure that you take some time to jot down a few key thoughts in case they call you to interview over the phone or in person.  You want some short, quick statements that make your point and cast you as a smart and approachable expert.

4. Consider the power of social media.

If you get coverage, post the links to your story on your website and in your social media posts. Ask your staff to like and share these on their pages to broaden the reach. If it’s a strong story, you may even want to put a little money behind the post and boost it for a few weeks so that even more patients and potential referral sources in your community can see it. This can be as little as $10!

5. Thank the reporter and offer to be an expert!

It’s always nice to reach back out to the reporter who covered you and thank them.  Take the time to explain what your medical practice is all about and how you can be a resource or subject matter expert for them on stories that apply to wellness, health or your specialty. Who knows – maybe they will ask you to be in future stories they are working on!

Good luck on getting your story out there!