Navigating Your Career

Dermatology Media Relations: When to Hire an Agency

Dermatology Media Relations – Part II

So you want to participate in media articles as a means of growing your dermatology practice. Time to call the professionals, right? Not necessarily. Here are three situations when to use a media relations agency and four tactics that you can do on your own.

When to use an agency:

You’re in a large media market.

If you’re in a large metro area, you will likely have a more challenging experience with media relations unless you use an agency. There are more options for physicians to interview and more media outlets to consider. A media relations agency can help you know which reporters to target, especially since the agency’s professionals likely have relationships with some of those reporters. In addition, an agency can help you hone your pitch so you stand out from the rest.

You don’t have the time.

Creating a solid media list, and developing and sending pitches take time, and that very well may be time that you don’t have. A media relations agency can do the work for you, allowing you to focus on patient care and running your business.

You don’t feel prepared.

Does the thought of a media interview make you weak in the knees? A media relations agency can provide you with media training, including practice, on-camera interviews. You’ll become more comfortable and learn pointers for improving your skills.

Don’t want to hire an agency? Don’t worry. You can do many media relations tactics yourself.

How to do media relations on your own:

Take advantage of existing resources.

If you are affiliated with a university or hospital, then you likely have access to your very own media relations professionals. Housed in the Public Relations, Communications or Marketing departments, these professionals’ sole job is to promote the university or hospital’s doctors and services. Let your media relations staff know you are interested in working with the media. If you are unprepared for interviews, they can provide you with media training. 

Develop relationships with reporters.

If you’re out and about promoting your practice in your community, you may run into reporters at benefits, galas and community festivals. Introduce yourself and find out their interests. If they cover health news, look for ways you can provide an expert angle to their coverage. If they don’t cover health news, ask for introductions to their colleagues who do. (I’ll provide additional ways to network with reporters in my next article.)

Send relational pitches.

Once you have met a reporter, keep the relationship going by occasionally sharing story ideas. Reporters are always looking for their next story.

Share quality information on social media.

If you want to be viewed as an expert by the media, be an expert to your patients on social media. Provide your take on the latest dermatology issues in the news. Tell your patients about your research studies. Use it as your personal forum where you can be the expert. Chances are a reporter who sees this may consider you to be an expert, too.

Pros and cons

Choosing whether to use a media relations agency or not comes down to time, money and interest. While an agency has greater access to media contacts, reporters appreciate the authenticity of a source relationship that does not have to run though a third party. Therefore, consider the resources you have and determine the best approach for you.

In my next article, I’ll address how to pitch the media yourself.

If you missed part 1 of this series, make sure to check it out here.

Did you enjoy this article? If so, find more article on Running a Practice here.