Anyone in healthcare public relations, from providers, hospitals, medical organizations and device manufacturers knows that earning organic publicity is increasingly difficult. So, how do you get your news into the competitive mix?
With the healthcare industry in the midst of a massive shift, technology is at the helm of the revolution.
The lines are blurring between the healthcare industry and the progressive technology world. Electronic health records (EHRs), artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning, telemedicine, robotic prescriptions, etc. are increasing patient safety, bettering outcomes, and improving health care one advancement at a time. With so much progress being driven by technology in the health world, our target audience is expanding to include technology-focused outlets as well as healthcare and business trades. To reap the benefits of these new opportunities, it’s important to be aware of what technology reporters are interested in, what they find valuable and how to grab their attention in a crowded, rivalrous space.
- Be timely: Noteworthy news is consistent in the healthcare industry, so creating a steady drumbeat of favorable news is crucial. Whether it’s a new initiative from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), a breakthrough discovery or a move by tech giants like Apple, Amazon or Google—if your client’s story is not “new” or “disruptive”, it’s history. When pitching a feature story, making the connection between your client’s news and the timely trends, whether it’s through thought leadership or taking a stance on a provocative subject, can give your client a voice in the midst of the rumble.
- Be aware of your language: Healthcare terms and policies can be tough to digest – especially for writers in the tech trades who are new to the space. The majority of reporters aren’t in the weeds of the industry and may have a surface-level understanding on the subject. No one will complain because you have made something too easy to understand. Technology reporters specialize in the technological aspect of news and may lack the background of the industry significance unlike a health reporter, so feel free to give background and explanations when you see fit.
Being clear, accurate and honest in what you say is vital. Avoid excess verbiage, acronyms, clichés and super-technical talk even with sophisticated audiences. Plain language over buzz words, every time.
- Know the publication/audience: There’s a world of difference between publications like ZDNet, Becker’s Hospital Review, Forbes, TechCrunch and MindBodyGreen. Each has its own style, tone of voice and perspective, but the healthcare space itself is covered in each— whether you realize it or not. Do your homework and read the publication to identify ways your idea could weave into their current storylines or where they’re lacking relevant commentary and thought leadership. Reporters can be open to new ideas, especially if you develop the topic for them!
- Select the right targets: Reporters have personal interests within their areas of expertise. Do they frequently cover news around AI or video games? Are they interested in the people developing AI technology or the ones using it? Read articles that the reporter has written and craft your pitch so it is useful and appropriate for them. Maybe your client works in the healthcare industry but has a past in the video game industry like Matter clients Kit Check and Level Ex? Think outside the box and target a reporter who, for example, would be interested in the intersection between video games and health tech. If anything, an introductory call, even just for background, can foster relationships and future story ideas.
- Disrupt the clutter: If I had a dollar for every time a reporter responded to a follow-up note with “apologies I missed your initial message, I get hundreds of emails a day” … To break through the noise, make your news eye-catching when they’re scrolling their inbox! There’s no shortage of news being sent to them, so how do you make yours stand out? Craft your pitch and subject line to make an impact—play it up and don’t be afraid to dramatize the subject line, pulling at what that reporter wants. Incorporate the unusual, unique or remarkable. Ask yourself, what is the most intriguing aspect of the news and are there statistics that will draw the reporter in? In a sea of a million other product releases, breakthrough discoveries and news announcements, make yours stand out.
Although it may seem like a lesson of PR101, it’s important to focus on the basics when trying to get your message across to a specific audience—don’t overdo or overthink it. Industries like healthcare and tech are crossing-over and inviting more opportunities to tell larger, wide-reaching stories to expanded verticals in the media. One thing is certain – technology is here to stay in the healthcare industry and by drawing cross-vertical connections and building off the excitement behind it, it will help PR professionals better land clients in the right headlines.