Getting local media attention is the equivalent of a third-party endorsement of your urgent care and a can drive patients through your clinic doors.
However, a public relations campaign can be a long-term time investment. If done properly, it can be far more effective than traditional advertising.
Urgent Care Public Relations Goals Are Different.
Most urgent care clinics view public relations (PR) as just another check box on the marketing checklist. As a result, press releases with no interest to local media are submitted over and over again to no avail. Your marketing goal should be business profit, but your public relations goal is long-term, building relationships with your local media and ultimately your community.
Ultimately, PR is about building trust. As a result, PR success doesn’t happen overnight. It can take many years for local publications to begin to trust you enough to utilize you as a source for their articles. You build this trust by understanding the needs of the publication and your community so you can develop story ideas that are more than just a pitch for your business.
Where to start your urgent care public relations.
A shortcut is to hire a company that specializes in local PR. They usually already have established media connections. We help our clients build story pitch books complete with a calendar so they can stay in front of media prospects on a regular basis without wearing thin. We know how to create stories valuable to the audience as well as consistent with the local media company’s brand.
Developing a story ideas break through the story pitch clutter is not an easy task. You should begin to develop a rapport with the reporters that cover the types of stories you will pitch. Usually there is a medical beat reporter, but given the shrinking staffs of many media outlets, that role may not exist. Call your assignment desk to ask for the name of individual reporters.
Once you know your medical reporters or producers, call and mention their segments you’ve seen. Then ask what kinds of stories they are interested in reporting. Always be conscious of their time and keep your pitches short and to the point.
Urgent Care Television Coverage Is Difficult But Powerful.
Coverage on your local news is a difficult prospect, but provides powerful reach. Here are some ideas for pitching television stories:
Keep it short.
Consider events, but make sure it’s something different. A grand opening happens every day. Even if they say they may come, they don’t make the decision until that day so don’t get discouraged if they don’t show up.
Email the idea then follow up with a quick call within a half hour. Communicate efficiently. Email the media outlet, then place a phone call within a half hour later to follow up.
Is it timely? Time your pitches to current news or new trends.
Ask the question: “Is the entire viewing area interested in this, or just my area?
Pitch to more than one station. Or even other news outlets. Sometimes newspaper articles can become a TV story.
Avoid calling on Mondays or Fridays and call in the middle of the day, starting around 11:00 am to about 3:00 pm. These are slower times.
If you’re doing an event, schedule it after 11:00 and before 3:00 pm as well. Reporters can make these times easier.
Ready To Do Urgent Care Public Relations On Your Own?
You can reach out to the media on your own. It will take a while to develop the relationships that an agency already has developed, so be patient and conscious of their valuable time.
Here are some additional tips:
Include the press release in the body of your email, not as an attachment. Reporters receive a lot of email and are wary of digital viruses.
Offer to send photos or video clips, but don’t attach them to your initial email.
Keep your press releases short. One page is perfect.
Always Include contact information (email and phone number).
Public Relations can be a powerful tool, but like all marketing efforts, you have to be consistent. If you don’t have the time to work on relationship building every week, consider outsourcing to a professional.
The Kyte team combines experience in health care marketing (including hospitals, insurance companies, physician networks, medical equipment and software companies) combined with an understanding of the retail needs of an urgent care. We’ve developed proprietary software and systems proven to drive traffic and build a patient base for this unique industry. We know your challenges because we run our own urgent care group. In fact, that’s how Kyte started, by applying CX principles in the urgent care setting, eventually creating a success model that we now apply to urgent care clinics across the country.