Healthcare PR – The first 60 Days of your Campaign Launch

By Mark Macias

You will always perform better in team sports and business when you have a game plan in place. It’s no different with healthcare PR, especially when a media launch involves different messages from different departments.

In healthcare PR, a 60-day game plan becomes even more significant because it typically requires a better understanding of the research and/or data needed to launch the media campaign. If you’re getting close to launching a healthcare or healthtech media campaign, here are five items to line up before your official product or service launch with the media.

Your Healthcare PR Plan

  1. Data – If you’re using any data for your media campaign, make sure you acquire it before your campaign starts. Data can take days or weeks, and there is nothing worse than waiting to launch a PR campaign because the data isn’t available.
  2. Product Availability – This might sound like common sense, but make sure your product is available for the public during your media launch. If you plan on updating the product in the few weeks after the media campaign, consider promoting the more updated product version with the media and brand it as an advanced look at the upgraded product.
  3. Line up your Experts – Healthtech products and services require experts to explain how it impacts consumers’ lives. Make sure your expert speaking about your product or service is vetted and knowledgeable on the topic. Investors don’t count as experts. If you’re pitching a healthtech app, reporters don’t want to speak with your investor relations person. They will want to interview the person behind the technology.
  4. Source your Research – If you’re making healthcare claims, you better source your material because any solid reporter, including inexperienced reporters, will want to hear about the research behind the product or service.
  5. Identify Potential Clients or Customers for the Narrative – The best PR stories are told by others. If you can line up customers, patients or enterprises who use your product or service, your story will sound stronger (and less like an advertisement) when you pitch health, medical and tech reporters.

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.

Healthcare PR – Pitching Medical Reporters

By Mark Macias

The bar for securing healthcare and health tech stories is much more difficult with local and national news outlets, which means your media strategy and editorial campaign need to be that much stronger from the start.

Generally speaking, healthcare and medical reporters are more educated and more suspicious of stories that aren’t backed by science or peer-reviewed studies. Yes, that is a very broad statement but during my time with NBC and CBS in New York (as an Executive Producer and Senior Producer respectively), as well as my journalism years in Phoenix and Miami – I repeatedly observed how medical and health reporters analyzed story ideas with more skepticism.

This difference in editorial style was even more pronounced in New York.

Healthcare PR in New York

During my time as Executive Producer with NBC, I oversaw the consumer, health and medical units, approving scripts and story ideas from producers and reporters. It was much harder to sell  medical reporters on news stories. Even when I – as their boss – wanted to pursue a medical story, I frequently had to sell the medical reporters on the substance or research behind the story.

These reporters were also more educated. The medical and health reporters with NBC all had post-graduate degrees that included an MD from Harvard, an MD from Yale and a PhD from Princeton. The medical reporters at CBS also had MD and experience in the hospital.

I’m sharing this information not to brag, but to help you see that if you want to run any media campaign targeting the health or medical reporters, you must make sure your media strategy is full of substance. Don’t think you can get away with fluff, or internal science that has little merit outside of your company.

Take the time to identify strong editorial angles that are backed with objective research. If you take these initial steps before you launch your healthcare or health tech PR campaign, you will have more success with your media placements.

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.

Healthcare PR – Do Press Releases work?

By Mark Macias

There is a belief in healthcare PR that press releases posted on the PR newswires can get your story on the news. Don’t be misled by those promises from your PR firm or the PR newswires that these news releases will lead to media coverage.

Healthcare reporters and producers are highly suspicious of any form of advertisements. They are typically the most educated and least susceptible to press releases that make bold claims. Every healthcare reporter knows press releases on the PR newswires are nothing more than advertising.

During my time as an Executive Producer with NBC, I oversaw the consumer, health and medical units. I approved the story ideas from producers and reporters, and I signed off on their scripts. It was much easier to get stories by the consumer unit than the medical unit.

In the case with NBC, I worked with an MD from Harvard, an MD from Yale and a PhD from Princeton. All three of these medical correspondents could identify BS stories a mile away. There is no chance in the world these medical and science reporters were going to the PR newswires to look for story ideas. They go to the medical journals first.

Press Releases Don’t Work with Healthcare PR

If you’re trying to get a healthcare or medical story on the news, don’t waste your time with press releases distributed by PR newswires. You will have more success by identifying the true news narrative and reaching out to the reporter or producer directly.

And do your homework before you pitch. If the medical or healthcare reporter is an MD, you should expect the bar to be higher. That means – no hype. Tell it like it is and your story will have more credence from the start.

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.

Top 10 Healthcare PR Firms – The Back Story

By Mark Macias

Type in “top 10 healthcare pr firms,” “top 10 tech pr firms”, or any other “top 10 pr firms” derivative and you will see different websites that rank PR firms. The top-10 lists lead consumers and business owners to believe that PR firms are ranked by a legitimate source, but here’s the inside scoop.

These lists are paid placements. That’s right, PR firms pay to be on that list. I know because they emailed my PR firm and asked if we wanted to pay to be on their top-10 list.

My firm passed on this offer because we had already won the 2015 “PR Consultant Firm of the Year – USA” award – and that was an authentic honor given by researchers and journalists with Finance Monthly. Not some made-up site that gives away awards based on money.

Top-10 PR Lists are Paid Placements

10BestPR is actually an incredibly smart idea. Consumers love to break down products and services by rankings, so why not assume they will do the same when researching their PR firms? Hopefully, most entrepreneurs and business owners will dig a little deeper than these top-10 PR lists.

Do your own homework. Ask the PR firm for a media strategy, ask to see their case studies and speak directly with the media strategist who will lead your PR campaign.

But even if you don’t have the time for that, please, please, please don’t fall for any top-10 PR website list. You’re smarter than that.

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.

Healthcare PR – Is Bigger, Better?

By Mark Macias

If you type top-10 healthcare PR firms on Google, you will see websites that rank PR firms by revenue. Edelman PR is at the top of the list bringing in $854 million as a whole and $154 million as a healthcare PR division. But do the bigger healthcare PR firms deliver more media placements than smaller, boutique PR firms?

Unless you’re Coca-Cola or Walmart, those types of retainer fees are reserved for the multi-nationals and publicly traded companies who can afford to pay $100-thousand-plus a month for PR representation.

If you’re like most businesses, you don’t have $25 thousand dollars a month for a retainer fee. Your total yearly marketing budget is probably closer to $25 thousand for the year. Here’s the good news.

You Don’t Need to Hire a Big PR Firm

Don’t be deceived by those big numbers.

PR is not about numbers. It’s about MEDIA strategy.

A short time after I left CBS, I consulted two global PR firms under NDAs. Both were big names in the industry. This experience allowed me to see how they work from the inside. It was eye-opening how little media strategy and knowledge these PR teams have. I’m not saying that to disparage their PR expertise. I’m trying to shed light that these PR firms bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars a year are not bringing the equivalent market value to their clients.

Inside Story of how Big PR Firms Work

Throwing bodies at problems doesn’t work in corporate America, and it doesn’t work in PR. More people on a project just causes more bickering, debate (which can be good, but typically leads to a stalemate). It also ignites poor communications channels.

I saw that consulting these global PR firms. Politics set in as SVPs questioned who this former media guy was (ME) – with no PR experience – telling them what to do. They thought they had to know more about PR based on their decade long career in the industry. They didn’t realize or understand how every morning I pitched story ideas and got real-time feedback from journalists and news managers.

If you have a PR budget, don’t assume that you need more bodies to succeed on a project. You need a solid media strategist and a team to execute. If bodies thrown at a problem with your business don’t work, assume the same with your PR firm.

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.