If you’re a physician looking to market your practice or reach out to new patients, keep in mind that physicians, more than those in other professions, can benefit from an effective media campaign. Press coverage reaches their target market, drives patients their way and gives them validation and credibility. The public generally learns about the latest medical breakthroughs, news, or studies via the media. It is an avenue they trust and trust is the bottom line when it comes to health care.

Physicians that are featured in the media are seen as the experts, whether they are featured in their local newspaper or on the Today show. Doctors and health care specialists can present themselves as media go-to experts by offering the media relevant and timely stories.

Although marketing a medical practice via print ads or commercials can have some effect, that approach has inherent risks. No patient wants to feel that he or she is being “sold”. Patients want to see someone they trust, someone they feel is the best in their field. It is that validation and trust factor that comes with being featured in the media. For example, if a prospective patient reads an article that features a physician in the New York Times or USA Today, or sees a doctor interviewed on CNN or on a network nightly news segment, chances are that physician will be viewed as an expert, as a leader in his or her field who can be trusted.

Public relations is also important because a PR campaign is not just about marketing; it is also about educating the public. An effective media campaign educates and informs. Used effectively, media relations can not only build a practice, it can educate and introduce new concepts and perspectives and shape the ideas of a community. Because of that, it’s important that physicians see and present themselves as educators.

Physicians need to keep in mind that their best media stories are not about themselves, but about their patients. A transformational patient success story with a strong narrative is what the media is searching for. If you’re looking to reach more patients, bring a story to the public, or position yourself as an expert in your field, you’re best approach is to make a list of patient’s who have interesting impactful stories they can tell. You want these stories to illustrate how lives were changed or transformed.

There are a number of different media outlets available including Dr. Oz, CNN, the Today Show, Men’s Health, Shape, the Wall Street Journal and hundreds of other media outlets. Before presenting a story match the various patient stories to the appropriate media outlets. For example, a story about a ten-year-old struggling with Autism would be pitched differently than a story about the latest in bio-identical hormone replacement therapy. Meet with the patients and review the questions that the media could ask them. Make your patients as comfortable as possible with the process. Remember, these patients are not only telling their stories, they’re representing you and your practice. You want them to be articulate and the presentation to be accurate and appropriate.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2011

Author's Bio: 

Anthony Mora Communications, Inc. is a Los Angeles-based public relations company that has placed clients in: Time, Newsweek, 60 Minutes, CNN, USA Today, Oprah,The New York Times, Vogue, and other media. Anthony has been featured in: USA Today, Newsweek, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The BBC, CNN, Fox News, and other media outlets.