Recently, one of our clients here at Vantage Clinical Solutions, Kent Bond of Impact Physical Therapy of Hillsboro, started a community outreach program in the Hillsboro, OR, area that strives to combat the growing incidence of overuse injuries in youth sports. And he wanted to get the word out.
Called “Keeping Kids in the Game,”Â Kent began spreading the word about the program by establishing relationships with local youth sports leagues, an ideal first step, but he had his sights high. Passionate about elevating safety and prevention in youth athletics, he wants all young athletes, parents and coaches in and around Hillsboro to know he offers education as well as free pain and injury assessments for kids in sports.
“In my mind, if we get to the point of saturation, when we don’t know how we’ll be able to accommodate all the kids, that’ll be a great problem to have,” Kent told us.
It sounded to us like Kent needed a seriously large megaphone. And so we hooked him up with one: his local media.
A consistent media relations effort is an essential component of doing business, even if you feel you don’t always have anything of value to share, which of course is nonsense. As a medical professional, a private practice owner and an active community member, you do have value to add to public conversation. The media wants your news, stories, expertise and perspective.
Why make the effort? Instead of an answer, let us show you how Kent’s media efforts paid off:
Coverage like this, not just television coverage, but also articles in the local paper and even mentions on a popular health blog, are simply priceless. It’s one thing to tell people through advertising, the web or social media channels that you’re great at what you do; having someone else relay that message, vetted journalists who do it for free, greatly elevates your professional credibility.
â€œWe had two coaches contact us almost immediately after this aired, and we continue to get feedback,â€ Kent said of the response to Impact PTâ€™s coverage. â€œNot only did this spread word about our program, but the coverage gives validation to current clients and contacts that, â€˜Wow, we made the right choice going with Impact.’â€
The marketing team here at Vantage Clinical Solutions consistently helps clients connect with their local media entities through the development and distribution of press releases, business/staffing news, event and program announcements, and story pitches. And while not all press releases find success within a market, some, like Impact’s “Keeping Kids in the Game” press release, push all the right buttons.
Let’s take a closer look at why this particular press release worked, an analysis that offers plenty of takeaways that can be applied to your practice’s media relations efforts:
It Pitches a Story, Not an Idea: This is an important distinction. Kent’s message to the media wasn’t, “Come do a story about my awesome program.” It was crafted in a way that told a story about overuse injuries in kids, how they’ve become epidemic, and how it led him to form this special program. An idea is ambiguous; a story provides context that makes a topic relevant to a general audience.
The Story Was Timely: Timing was an important consideration when pitching the Impact story. Not only are specialization and overuse injuries currently hot topics in the world of youth athletics, but spring youth sports leagues are starting up in the Hillsboro/Portland area. When considering the relevancy of a story pitch, consider the question of why a particular story’s relevant right now.
The Story Was Visual: Media of all types are increasingly thinking more visually about stories. Even radio is savvier in creating visual pictures through sound. Impact’s “Keeping Kids in the Game” is chalked full of opportunities for visual snapshots, kids playing sports, exercises and stretches in the clinic, injury assessments, etc. When considering a story pitch, ask yourself, “What would this story look like?”
Impact Is Consistent: This pitch wasn’t Impact’s first contact with his local media. Kent has remained active in sharing news, stories and trends with media in the Hillsboro/Portland area, establishing himself as a credible resource within the worlds of health, lifestyle and movement. Such credibility ensures his ideas, while they not always lead to coverage, certainly get noticed. It also puts him on the short list of credible sources writers/journalists can call when they need an expert perspective on another story.
â€œIf youâ€™re doing something good in the community, if you have viable services, you need to make sure youâ€™re teaming up with the appropriate parties so you can get your message out there,â€ Kent said. â€œVantage uses their knowledge of the market and the press to put topics in a form that appeals to journalists and makes them want to tell our story.â€