How planning a good public relations story locally can rocket your business and bring in new patients
A media spotlight or public relations story, even just one, can help your practice grow, both at the initial impact of the news feature or piece of content, and in the years after when it “lives” on the internet.
Brian Meenan, DC, of Premier Chiropractic Clinic in the South Hills Pittsburgh, Penn., area knows this all too well. After one of his chiropractic videos went viral, it brought more patients through his doors after it earned 12,000 new subscribers overnight.
8.5 million video viewers
Meenan began utilizing the video platform TikTok in October 2019 under the username @drbrian_chiropractor. TikTok is a social media platform designed to allow users to create, post and watch short videos. Typically, these videos are set to music, with the poster lip syncing to a specific song, either using the original author’s words or making up their own.
“At that time, there weren’t many professionals on the platform,” says Meenan, though many of his patients were encouraging him to get on the site and post. This encouragement paid off when, on April 11, 2020, Meenan created a video that caught the attention of more than 8.5 million viewers.
A friend from chiropractic school had dubbed over a popular tune with his own words and encouraged others to do the same. So, that’s exactly what Meenan did while showing viewers how to do a simple stretch for easing back pain. Soon, the number of views started to grow exponentially, even earning him around 12,000 followers in one night. When asked what made that video so appealing to so many people, Meenan shared that “it was a catchy tune.”
Although Meenan first got the idea to use TikTok from his patients, it wasn’t until he read a story about a DJ who was able to “blow up” his online presence with these types of posts that he decided to take further action.
“I reached out to all of the big papers in my area and offered to do a press release for them,” he says.
Repurposing successful content
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette picked up the story, publishing it on their website.
“My website views went up a ton that day,” Meenan says. His online followers have grown as well, to more than 268,000. Perhaps the best part is that this effort has also increased his patient list.
Meenan shares that his practice gained approximately 20 new patients in 2-3 months due to his TikTok presence alone. Since this platform has a high base of younger users, many of the new patients are in this age range.
“The youngest is about 20,” Meenan says, “and the oldest is about 32.”
How can you start a good public relations (PR) campaign that helps you grow your business and increase your clientele?
A public relations story: showcase your expertise
“I think the best way to create awareness is to show off your expertise,” says John Goodman of John Goodman PR. Goodman has previously served as publicist for “Good Morning America,” “ABC Evening News,” and ABC’s “World News Tonight,” but now spends his time helping his own clients develop a higher level of brand awareness.
That’s essentially what Meenan did by sharing the stretch that is helpful to relieving back pain. He highlighted his ability to help patients who struggle with this issue, ultimately bringing more patients into his Pittsburgh-area practice.
Blogging for your various channels
If you’re not good with videos, Goodman shares that one way to show your expertise is to “create a blog on your website and post stories that relate to your patients’ medical challenges.” Talk about the type of results you’ve been able to provide for patients who struggle with certain health conditions.
If you tend to work with an older population, for instance, post about how to improve balance. If you specialize in sports, talk about injury treatment and prevention. If some of your patients are willing, highlight their individual experiences. Have them put into their own words how you’ve been able to help resolve their chief complaints.
“To spread these blog posts beyond your website, post the links to your stories on social media,” adds Goodman. With around three billion users worldwide, social media platforms enable you to get in front of your target demographic by appearing on the same sites they are already using. “This will not only showcase your expertise,” says Goodman, “but will also create awareness and possibly help you gain new patients.”
Goodman stresses that social media is also a “great, free way for chiropractors to share positive patient results and new therapy options.” Think about all of the good things you do in your practice and share them there.
If you find that social media is too time-consuming or you don’t understand how a particular platform works, there are still ways to gain the advantages of these sites without posting or trying to become an expert yourself. One option is to hire a social media company to do your posts for you. Another option, says Goodman, is to “pay a college kid, who will be less expensive.”
Utilize all your resources
Goodman also suggests that chiropractic professionals subscribe to services that revolve around getting you a public relations story or more PR. For instance, HARO — which is short for Help a Reporter Out — is “a free service where reporters seek sources for their stories,” explains Goodman. “By monitoring the daily feeds, it’s possible you’ll find reporters seeking sources for stories relating to chiropractors.”
This helps you get your practice in the news and increase your patient base. You can even partner with a local university’s PR or communications program, some of which provide services as class projects.
Finally, “you can always hire a public relations professional,” he says. This is someone who will actively seek media opportunities that can get your practice in the spotlight with a public relations story, helping you grow your business faster and more effectively in less time.
Christina Debusk is a freelance writer who specializes in content related to natural health and wellness, personal development, and small-business marketing. She can be contacted through ChristinaMDeBusk.com.