The Power of the Press in Attracting New Patients
Dr. Neil Baum, aka Dr. Whiz, is a successful urologist from New Orleans, LA. In this video, Dr. Baum discusses how to create and maintain relationships with local media and in turn, get placements that will increase the number of new patients at a medical practice.
Nothing can boost the visibility of your practice than to be interviewed for newspapers and on radio and TV. Capturing the attention of the news media requires earning a bit of trust from newspaper editors and reports and TV producers. In my practice, I’ve been able to do this by writing a few emails to journalists establishing myself as an expert in certain areas of medicine and thereby worthy of an interview.
Getting started begins with looking for health news stories that are currently receiving media attention on a national level. Or finding a local angle to a story about a famous celebrity or sports figure facing a highly publicized medical condition for which you can provide treatment. Another tactic is to discuss a new device or a new technology for treating a common medical problem which the news media finds newsworthy.
Let me provide you with an example. I read an article in Reader’s Digest (show slide) about using pomegranate juice as a treatment for prostate diseases and even reducing the risk of prostate cancer. I sent an Email to a local health and science reporter on the article. A producer in the same TV newsroom responded and we scheduled an interview in my office later in the week. This gave me time to arrange a visual and to purchase several bottles of pomegranate juice for the interview.
Another example was a discussion about the no-scalpel, no-needle vasectomy. I used the same approach as previously described and had the instruments to show how it is done. The kicker was that I showed the reporter how to perform a vasectomy on a rubber band.
Of course, the first program on pomegranate juice did not directly result in anyone calling my office to buy juice. However, thousands of TV viewers learned my name and specialty, which can build what marketers call brand awareness – that is, some of those viewers no doubt remembered my name later when they needed someone in my specialty. Meanwhile, the second TV news story directly generated 35 calls, 12 appointments, and 10 vasectomies.
Developing relationships with journalists
Let me offer a few suggestions for developing relationships with journalists that may pay big dividends. First, prior to any press interview, provide a fact sheet for the interviewer with the bullet points you would like to cover. Next, for television and radio interviews, let the producer know what props or visuals you have available. Finally, send the interviewer a list of suggested questions that you are comfortable answering. Remember, every news outlet wants to look good through the experience of a great interview. After the interview, I always send a thank you note or email to the interviewer. This frequently guarantees that being asked back.
Bottom Line: Becoming a media darling is a possibility available to perhaps most doctors. Public visibility through the press is a wonderful way to showcase you and your practice, which creates an increase in the number of new patients soon calling your practice.