One of the key goals of marketing your neurology or PM&R practice is to become known as a likable expert in your community. One of the best ways to achieve this is by becoming a media expert that news outlets can turn to when they need subject-matter expertise for a story.
It may seem as if Dr. Oz and that ilk have that role locked up, but it isn’t quite as difficult as you might think to carve out a media niche for yourself. Whether in print, online, or onscreen, journalists need medical professionals to provide accurate information and to lend an air of legitimacy to their reporting.
Here are a few steps you can take to be top of mind for the reporters in your area.
Make yourself available. There are several websites that connect reporters with experts for their stories. Sign up for services such as Help a Reporter Out, ProfNet, or Expert Engine to receive emails about, or to be found in searches for, your specific area of expertise.
Pitch a story. You don’t have to wait to be contacted; you can reach out to news outlets with your good ideas. Pay attention to the news and think about how you can put it in perspective for the outlet’s readers or listeners. Think like a reporter here and consider what their audience wants to learn about. What does a national story mean for your local community? Is there new research that could affect their health? Is there a seasonal topic that needs to be addressed?
For example, a neurology topic isn’t going to be popular during the current coronavirus pandemic, but you could provide insight for those with other medical issues about how to get the care they need during this challenging time, discussing the safest ways to interact with the healthcare system, including utilization of telemedicine services. There is a way to make your expertise newsworthy.
Remember that you’ll be talking to the non-medical community. They don’t speak medicalese, so you need to be able to discuss a topic in layman’s terms. Demonstrate that you are comfortable with that in your pitch and other communications with reporters. If it doesn’t come naturally to you, try the Plain Language Thesaurus published by the CDC to get more comfortable.
Show that you respect a reporter’s time. They work on tight deadlines and need a quick turnaround when they ask for an interview or a comment. Let them know immediately if you are available or not and provide what they need in a timely manner.
Ask for future opportunities. When you work with a reporter, let them know you’d love to be contacted again. Promise to help them yourself or, if you don’t have the needed expertise, to help them find someone who can.
You have a career’s worth of expertise to share with the world. By becoming a media resource, you position yourself as the likable expert in your community. Best of all, you’ll get to share accurate health information with the public while making it easier for patients to find you when they need you. It’s truly a winning situation for everyone involved.