Beginning with basic local public relations for your practice and raising your profile among current and prospective patients
Public relations (PR) is an important facet of your practice and is different than marketing or advertising. Local public relations seeks to tell a narrative about your product and service to the market:
- Why should they notice your practice and what you do?
- Why should they care?
- And lastly, why should they spend money on it?
Local public relations may seem daunting, but here are the basics to help you take the next step toward growing your chiropractic practice with little effort and local results.
Public relations and types of media return
Public relations is all about communicating with your patients or potential new patients to earn their trust. The role of public relations is to inform people about the importance of chiropractic and to learn more about who you are, your expertise and your overall brand. Unlike marketing and advertising, public relations is for all intents and purposes free.
There are three types of media: earned, owned, and paid.
- Earned is primarily what public relations is. It is an unpaid showing in a publication that is not your own, such as a newspaper or online. Perhaps it is from an influencer, a blogger, or the general media discussing an event or your clinic’s anniversary. A press release sent to a trade magazine announcing a new addition to your practice, a new service you are offering is an example – but note the content must be deemed “newsworthy” and not If it’s deemed you are selling something, the publication will consider this advertising and require payment.
- Owned is principally your marketing, your website, blog, social media accounts, and your emails. A strong newsletter can be a very powerful tool. This is where you can self-promote yourself, highlight your services, educate your customers and prospects, and keep the line of communication open.
- Paid is essentially your advertising in all forms. You foot the bill in order to have some sort of featured position in media or something similar. In fact, this can include press releases in the form of paid content and can include speaking engagements.
Why you should care about local public relations
It’s simple: PR builds credibility. People will sooner trust a story they see in the news, written by that publication, before an advertisement that was paid for by the practice.
You may decide to reach out to the media regarding your event or holiday special, etc., and the key here is to represent your practice well. Your main goal is to build a relationship with the market that you are aiming at gaining patients from.
How to begin: in-house or PR firm?
One option, if the circumstances are right for you and your practice, is to hire a PR firm. However, paying money to an outsider is not necessarily the best way to illustrate what you are about.
Notably, only you can adequately represent yourself because only you know the ins and outs, what defines your practice, and all of the other nuances that set you apart. Following a few steps can make you your own expert in media, and at zero extra cost:
Google as a Tool — Use Google as your broad-reaching search engine to find out what your local radio stations, newspapers, magazines, and television stations are. Reach out to all that you come across, because it is paramount that the public learn your name and expertise. You could be quoted, featured, or be able to write your own segment. H.A.R.O. – Help a Reporter Out – is a free service used by editors and reporters to search for experts. You can sign up to receive daily notifications. Watch the due dates as they are very strict!
The Power of Television — Local stations always want to feature new content and get viewers to start new real-life inquiries about what they saw, especially morning shows. Send them an outline or press release of content you would feel comfortable speaking on, and don’t forget to mention when you are available.
Social Media in a New Light — You may be familiar with using your practice’s social media to market your service, but how about connecting with news outlets and journalists on social media? You could tag them in a post, message, and reach out any time. Social media is an around-the-clock entity. While you are at it, you will be growing your online community, a very advantageous side-effect. Remember, the best part is, this is all free!
Community Service — Projects that help the community will in turn allow the community to help you. Not only will this aid in the opinions of chiropractic in general, but this community backing will translate into backing you and your practice. Now what does this look like? Well, it may be as simple as organizing a health talk for the local area, or a free in-person workshop or online meeting.
Raise your local profile
Remember to incorporate your media appearances into your website or posts with video. Show off what you have accomplished with your public relations efforts.
More ubiquitous name recognition among the public is your goal. You will gain patients through multiple avenues due to this. Don’t forget to put effort into the very immediate sides of PR, as this is your image: how does your office look and feel, how does your staff behave and appear, how do you conduct yourself both to patients and your staff?
People are naturally going to see a practitioner that they are familiar with or trust, whether they found this information out from others, or by themselves from the media. Local public relations is an excellent method of outreach that helps to grow your network and takes little effort. Your chiropractic story, and your validity in your claims or mission, can only benefit.
ROB BERMAN, MBA, is a partner at Berman Partners, LCC, a medical device sales, service, and marketing company. Berman Partners specializes in new and pre-owned therapeutic lasers. He helps doctors improve patient outcomes while increasing their income, and has held a variety of marketing roles during his career. He can be contacted at 860-707-4220 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or through bermanpartners.com.
CINDY DONALDSON is CEO of Red Barn Consulting, LLC, a strategic marketing, sales and business operations consulting firm located in Connecticut. Red Barn’s niche is working with small- to medium-size companies helping them find their voice, tell their stories and increase revenues by creating and implementing strategic processes and aligning them with innovative marketing and sales plans. She can be reached at 860-469-8090 or email@example.com. For more information about Red Barn Consulting, visit redbarnconsultingllc.com.