Competition for space in the healthcare sector – like many other markets – can be fierce. For those looking to expand their public relations efforts in this market, the key to building successful campaigns means keeping up with the best PR practices as well as tailoring strategies and tactics to fit each clients’ unique needs. Paying attention to the basics will ensure success and keep the program on track.
Here are our five tips you can use to generate awareness and build lasting relationships in the healthcare industry.
1. Know the Facts
When practicing public relations, it is essential to understand the industry that your client serves. As demonstrated by the arrival of COVID-19 in the healthcare market, it is a rapidly growing and often complicated field. As a result, its critical for a PR agency that serves healthcare clients to be aware of the regulations that affect the delivery and administration of healthcare as well as the impact that they will have on their clients.
How can this be accomplished? Clearly, there is an increasing demand for communications professionals to possess a greater understanding of industry trends. Reading industry trade journals, blogs, and newsletters will keep the team current, and may even lead to additional opportunities for the client. A comprehensive understanding of the industry will help you produce effective messaging for each organization.
2. Keep it Simple
In many cases, the topics that healthcare industries address can be extremely complex. Ideally, creating a strong foundation of industry knowledge will allow you to avoid jargon and be as clear as possible in your messaging. When addressing the public, avoid using phrases that are extremely technical. It is vital to develop messaging that the everyday person can understand.
PR professionals in the healthcare industry should be prepared with supplementary information and additional communication resources to support messaging in alternative ways. Consider providing an infographic with a news release. Even though editors and reporters prefer a concise pitch, if you pique their interest, it is valuable to have backup data, photos and fact sheets already on hand.
3. Know Your Audience
It may seem like a no-brainer, but it is especially important in healthcare communication to take the time to understand not only your client’s target audience, but also each media outlet.
Understand the outlet’s tone, stance and audience before reaching out. Place the most relevant and important information at the top of your media materials, and make it easy to find essential information first.
4. Make it Timely
In a healthcare industry that is rapidly evolving, especially in the current climate, PR professionals must ensure that their message is relevant and newsworthy. If your pitch isn’t an announcement about something recent that is impacting the current news cycle, then find a way to tie your message to an industry trend or current event. You can take this a step further by localizing your message in the region that will be impacted the most by your information.
Remember, an audience is much more receptive to a health-related story when they understand how it affects their daily lives. Even if a topic is trending nationally, or today even globally, it will make the greatest impact when connected to your audience on a local level. You can increase your impact by emphasizing emotional connections that show how your services have helped someone in a real way. Especially now, we can form meaningful connections with an audience and increase the effectiveness of a pitch by sharing compelling stories about a specific patient or family.
5. Make Use of Social Media
Social media looks different in healthcare PR than in more traditional consumer markets. Build a following through thought leadership, combined with authentic and consistent engagement with your audience, on social media platforms to expand your reach effectively.
Use social media as an opportunity to engage with the public, provide health information in a creative way and increase awareness of news and industry discoveries. As a tactic, social media allows healthcare organizations to strengthen key relationships by responding to patients publicly, highlighting programs and essential personnel in a positive manner, and position the entity as a part of their community.