Healthcare PR – Is it better to work with a Specialist or a Generalist?

By Mark Macias

In the healthcare sector, is it better to work with an industry-related PR firm that specializes in healthcare, or will you get better results with a generalist PR firm that works with different types of industries?

You might think this is partial advice since Macias PR runs health tech and healthcare PR campaigns for clients in the B2B and B2C space, so let me first start with my healthcare experience in the media.

Healthcare PR – The View Inside the Media

As Executive Producer with WNBC in New York, I oversaw the healthcare, medical, features and consumer units. Publicists, reporters and producers all pitched me their healthcare related ideas. Likewise, I also approved all healthcare scripts and story ideas from reporters and producers. As a Senior Producer with CBS, I produced healthcare and medical stories – and pitched complicated healthcare stories in the morning news meeting.

When I used to read media pitches from publicists, I could always tell which publicists worked at a hospital and which worked at an agency. The publicists who worked inside the healthcare industry always used medical jargon. It was like they wanted to impress me with their medical expertise. Problem is – I didn’t get a medical or biology degree. I got a degree in journalism and political science, like many other journalists.

This is why – generally speaking – most generalist PR firms will have a better understanding in how to frame a medical story. They will also likely have an edge when it comes to explaining the complicated story to reporters and producers, regardless of the journalists’ background.

I’ve also seen it as the owner of a PR firm when I am speaking directly with reporters and producers about story ideas. Their time is valuable and they don’t want to waste valuable time trying to understand the healthcare payoff. They want me to explain the angle to them quickly, so they can decide whether it is a story their news organization will want to pursue.

Do I Hire a Generalist or Specialist with PR?

If you are debating between hiring a PR firm that specializes in healthcare PR or a generalized PR firm that works with different industries – take a look at what they have delivered for their other clients. If you see diverse stories in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today or CBS News, you might have a winner because it took a smart publicist to explain the complicated healthcare angle in an easy-to-understand way.

Macias PR was named the 2016 “Financial PR Firm of the Year – USA” and the 2015 “PR Consultant Firm of the Year – USA” by Finance Monthly. We have launched and led media campaigns for clients in healthcare, finance, tech and the nonprofit sectors. The founder of Macias PR – Mark Macias – is a former Executive Producer with NBC and Senior Producer with CBS in New York. He is also a PR contributor with CNBC, providing media analysis, insight and crisis advice on timely business topics.