Doctor’s P.R. presents a guide for physicians to appear on television news & talk shows.
A pr agency for doctors & medical equipment manufacturers shows how medical public relations can build public awareness on local and national T.V. shows & news stories.
By Gary Grasso, Director
Los Angeles, CA - Securing an appearance on a television news story or in a live talk show interview is an excellent way to educate the public, build awareness and drive demand for your medical practice or related business. Even smaller markets usually have a few TV stations. The good news is that each station may hold several opportunities for you to gain coverage if you know whom you should approach and how to go about preparing and sending your story proposals.
Let’s take a look at a typical local TV station and opportunities for coverage.
The health reporter / health producer
Health reporters and producers are specialized in their field and they usually plan their stories in advance, and have access to a camera person in most situations. This means that once you have a story scheduled for taping with a health reporter, the odds are that he or she will show up as scheduled and tape your story. General assignment reporters are more likely to be reassigned at the last minute.
To prepare your approach to local health reporters, first watch the local newscasts and view some of their reports to familiarize yourself with their coverage. Then, carefully compose the elements of your story proposal, or “pitch”. Keep in mind that since television is a visual medium, your success will often depend on what you can offer to “show and tell” – elements such as treatment demonstrations, patient comments, illustrations video and before-after photos for cosmetic procedures will all help the media person to decide to cover your story.
Your next step will be to research the TV station’s phone numbers- online searches of the station’s websites will usually yield the station’s phone numbers for the newsrooms. (In some cases the websites will list email addresses for the newsroom and individual reporters, including the health producer and / or health reporter) Ask for the name of the health producer- if the station does not have a “health producer” ask for the health reporter. Leave a brief phone message about your story idea and include your cell phone number & email address. If you have found the reporter’s email address, it’s a good idea to send an email proposal as well.
The morning show producer or guest booker
Your appearance on a live morning show can do more to build public awareness of your practice than spending thousands of dollars on advertising. You’ll be able to talk about a specific service that you provide, answer questions, even demonstrate a cosmetic procedure and show its benefits. Best of all, you can communicate your message to the public without being edited. You can mention your website, announce a special event, almost anything important that you’d like the public to know about.
Most guest segments will run approximately three to five minutes. To increase your chances of getting booked on morning shows, be sure that the proposal that you send includes the following elements:
1. A concise description of the topic you are proposing, what’s new about and how it benefits people.
2. Does the story relate to a trend or innovation in medicine or aesthetics? Include that information.
3. DESCRIBE THE VISUAL ELEMENTS – Can you do a live demo, or can you provide a brief video of the procedure or service you are promoting? List what you can provide for the audience to see – before & after photos, a medical device
or other “props”, maybe a patient who could appear with you and describe her or his results and satisfaction with the procedure. The more visual you can be, the better.
4. Include a few photos, background info on yourself & the procedure.
5. Make it timely - Suggest a few dates for your availability, about 2 weeks in the future, but indicate that you are flexible with other dates as well.
The assignment or planning editor or manager
Now we’re in the area of “breaking news” or general assignment reporting. To be successful, you’ll need to have some flexibility in your schedule for the day, since the assignment desk is generally concerned with “same day” news coverage. (Planning editors will also work on stories for the near term, usually a few days in advance.)
To promote your story, send an email to the assignment and planning desks and indicate the date and time (usually the same day) that you are available to be taped for the story. It’s usually best to send your story proposal in the morning- around 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m.
The benefit of approaching the newsroom is that you may gain same-day news coverage, which will appear on the afternoon or evening news broadcast.
The downside is that you may not know until the last minute whether the station will send a reporter, and your story coverage could be “bumped” by a breaking news story.
Whatever type of television coverage you achieve, you’ll usually gain new patient inquiries immediately. You may continue to receive inquiries for weeks or months afterward as people decide they are ready to call, or as they notice you again in other types of media or advertising.
Next topic: Securing a guest segment on national T.V. shows.
For more information on medical public relations, contact doctor’s p.r., the leading p.r. agency for doctors, medical equipment manufacturers & related products. Contact Gary Grasso, director at ggrasso@doctors pr.com or visit http://www.doctorspr.com
Doctor's P.R. is a public relations and medical news agency which has specialized in the field for 16 years. The agency represents clients across the United States.
Here's an example of a TV news story placed by Doctor's P.R. in the Philadelphia market: