With all the wrangling going on in Washington, D.C. over healthcare reform, wouldn’t it be nice if all of our elected officials took the time to set aside their political differences and read the following simple, yet powerful, poem by William Arthur Ward, and then, more importantly, took its words and meaning to heart? I know I’m being idealistic, and there’s not a snowball’s chance in hell it’s going to happen, but what if?
Believe While Others...
By William Arthur Ward
Believe while others are doubting.
Plan while others are playing.
Study while others are sleeping.
Decide while others are delaying.
Prepare while others are daydreaming.
Begin while others are procrastinating.
Work while others are wishing.
Save while others are wasting.
Listen while others are talking.
Smile while others are frowning.
Commend while others are criticizing.
Persist while others are quitting.
As the name “public relations” implies, this marketing tool includes methods and means by which an organization or individual (your practice or you) seeks to promote a favorable relationship with the public (your target audience of potential new patients and/or referral sources). Public relations (PR) methods and means may include such tactics as:
• Press releases (newsworthy announcements)
• News & feature stories
• Radio interviews
• TV appearances
• Special events (e.g. health screenings or health seminars)
What are you doing that is newsworthy? Healthcare is among the most popular and sought-after news topics in America. Hardly a nightly TV news segment passes without some bit of health-related news being presented to viewers. These stories often cover new treatments, new medical technologies and new ways of coping with various diseases. But they also present stories about doctors, dentists and physical therapists donating their time to worthy health causes in their communities or helping sick and needy people overseas (e.g., Doctors Without Borders, etc).
Many practitioners give to their communities. Many more do pro bono work here and abroad. And all too often, the public never hears about the terrific humanitarian work being done by these hard-working, dedicated individuals.
Public relations can be more cost-effective. Anyone with money to spend and something to sell can run an ad. And that is often the tactic you resort to when you want new patients for a particular treatment or procedure. Of course, advertising has its place in your marketing mix but PR is often less expensive and more effective at building your credibility and gaining trust.
With PR, you don’t pay for space or airtime as you would with a print ad or TV spot. A typical TV news segment, for example, might be three-four minutes long. That’s three-four minutes of airtime you don’t have to pay for. Compare that to a typical 30-second TV commercial that may cost thousands of dollars or hundreds of thousands (depending on the size of your market).
A simple press release, properly written and presented, can often generate much better results at a fraction of the cost of a print ad. If your story is picked up, there’s a much better chance that it will be read and believed than any paid print ad.