As the owner of Victory Public Relations, a health and beauty PR firm, I spend a significant amount of time chatting with people about public relations. It’s a conversation I always enjoy, in part because I learn something new each and every time. The thing about PR is that while everyone has heard of it, surprisingly few people understand its many nuances. That misunderstanding often leaves doctors confused about how PR can work for their practice and in the worst cases, disillusioned with public relations as a whole.
Public relations is a valuable resource for medical experts who want to achieve a number of different goals. A strong PR campaign helps to build credibility among both potential and new patients, peers, and influencers. It can also be used to highlight accomplishments or other distinguishing factors. In order to know whether a PR campaign is the right step for your practice, we recommend asking yourself these questions first:
- Do I understand what PR is?
- This is basic, but so essential. I have witnessed firsthand people invest in PR despite not fully understanding how it works – most often confusing it with advertising. Here’s the deal: at its core, public relations is the practice of building a reputation (also known as a brand) through earned media exposure. That means publicists work with editors and producers of print and broadcast media to develop stories that accomplish two things. They generate the kind of content media requires and establish the brand narrative essential to building your reputation. Like most industries, PR is constantly evolving. Today social media, events, appearances and influencer relationships also play a prominent role in PR.
- What is the PR product?
- Most people incorrectly assume the placements that come as a result of their PR campaign are the entire point of that campaign. While they are incredibly powerful and super exciting, the reality is that those placements are just the very tip of the iceberg. The work a publicist does to identify your practice’s brand message, and then to spread that word among influential media members is an essential part of building a strong reputation. The third part of the PR puzzle is putting the media placements to work for your practice.
- What will a public relations campaign do for my practice?
- First and foremost, it ensures that the people who write about and cover your field know who you are and what you do. Once a strong strategy is put together and executed on, a sustained public relations campaign ensures that you are represented in the media. That media exposure (in magazines, newspapers, blogs, television shows, etc.) will lend credibility to your name, eventually impacting existing and potential patients. It will also help you gain prominence within your field of expertise.
- How long does it take?
- There are both short term and long-term goals defined in a public relations campaign. The best publicists will ensure that they deliver short-term results, but the real work of building a reputation happens over a period of time. The best bet here is to speak openly with the PR expert you’ve hired. Asking questions about what to expect in the short term (daily, weekly, and monthly basis) will help you better understand whether pursuing the long-term benefits of a public relations campaign is something you’re comfortable with.
Public relations is an important part of any practice’s marketing strategy. The key to getting the most out of yours is understanding the essentials, ensuring that you and your publicist are on the same page regarding expectations, and maintaining an open line of communication.
If you have any questions about public relations or how it could work for your practice, please feel free to contact Andrea@victorypublicrelations.com