As a health care content marketer, do you ever wonder why some hospitals and health care companies get the lion’s share of media coverage, while others struggle to get attention for their health news?
Those who get consistent media coverage know the secret to health news success — forget you’re a content marketer and pretend you’re a reporter. If you haven’t spent time in the ranks of a newsroom before moving to marketing, here are four simple steps from a health-reporter-turned-content-marketer.
1. Think like a reporter
The single most important thing you can do to get the media to cover your story is to put on your reporter hat. Write in Associated Press (AP) style and produce the story as a reporter would.
For starters, it helps to offer multimedia elements that are produced as if a journalist created them. Your multimedia should look and feel like it was created by the outlet(s) you are targeting for coverage. Be sure to include high-quality photos, video interviews, and b-roll footage shot in TV news style — this includes professionally produced video footage that is shot and edited using TV news style sequencing. If you put it together like a journalist, they may use your story as written or produced — hopefully with your brand messages included.
Here’s an example of video content my company, MediaSource, produced for our client, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center:
Now compare that to the way WABC in New York used our content. Look familiar? This shows that if you think like a reporter when you are putting your content together, actual reporters might use it as is — with your messages intact.
2. Be timely
Before crafting your story, ask yourself, why does this matter at this moment in time? Evergreen stories can get lost in the mix of a busy newsroom. If your story doesn’t include timely, breaking health information, find a way to tie your story to something relevant, such as today’s headlines, the time of year, national health observances, pop culture, or other timely events.
3. Include a real-life story
Make your content meaningful for your audience by including the story of a real person who is affected by your health topic. Be sure to screen your participants in advance of your release so that you can be sure they are media-ready, and don’t forget to get the proper hospital consent forms signed beforehand.
Here’s proof that well-produced video content featuring a compelling real-life story can provide amazing results: A story that MediaSource produced for the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) promoted the growing trend of men undergoing plastic surgery. What helped this story spread like wildfire among the media is that it featured an “average Joe” (who happened to be named Joe), who had a facelift, and was willing to let us share his experience on camera.
This content was seen by more than a billion people and received coverage on nearly all major national media outlets, including CNN, ABC, CBS, CNBC, “The View,” nypost.com, “Dr. Oz,” and NPR. It garnered an advertising value of $3.1 million and contributed to an increase in procedures for ASPS. It was also awarded the only 2012 national Bronze Anvil from the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) for digital PR work in the video news release category.
4. Educate your expert
A dynamic, well-trained expert can help you attract high-quality coverage. Your story should include a credible medical expert who can speak in a layperson’s terms about the issue. Consider a spokesperson who is comfortable speaking publicly and can summarize the message into a few short sentences. If your expert isn’t experienced in media interviews be sure to offer media training in advance of the release.