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.

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.

Healthcare PR – Strategies to Get your Healthcare Organization on the News

By Mark Macias

How do you get your healthcare or healthtech business on the news?

If there were a news algorithm to that formula, trust me, the code would have been hacked and posted already. However, there are ways to increase your chances for coverage with the healthcare media by following a few strategies.

4 Strategies for Healthcare PR

  1. Don’t Use Medical Jargon – Poor communications is one of the biggest reasons most solid news stories are ignored by the media. The reporter or producer simply didn’t understand the story. This is usually because the healthcare journalist was lost during the definitions. If you are looking to hire a healthcare PR firm, make sure your potential PR partner doesn’t use medical jargon to communicate with reporters. Get a solid understanding in how your PR firm is pitching your healthcare services to the media because if outsiders don’t understand it, your media campaign will fail. Sure, a few healthcare reporters deep in medical jargon may understand the story with medical jargon, but in today’s media landscape, those people are rare. Always communicate complicated healthcare stories in simple ways that any general consumer reporters will understand.
  2. Alert the Media – Many healthcare organizations believe in press releases and the PR Newswires will thank you for it. Here’s my take on that. No healthcare reporter or producer is going to the PR Newswires to find a story idea. If you want the media to hear about your press release, you need to alert them to it. That means calling, or emailing them. Don’t wrongly assume an expensive press release will motivate the healthcare journalists to call you.
  3. Stay on Top of the Healthcare News Cycle – During my time as a Senior Producer with CBS in New York, I always tried to read JAMA and all the other trade journals. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the time to read every journal and frequently, I would miss solid, timely story ideas because I was never alerted to the news. If your industry has a solid report coming out in the trade journals, make sure you alert the healthcare writers to it. Email them the study and explain in a simple and easy to understand way – why this news impacts their readers.
  4. Relationships Matter – I always say that media contacts are not a media strategy. They are an assist. A good reporter contact will be more receptive, but that being said, a large portion of our media placements in healthcare, finance, tech and other industries were secured without ever meeting the reporter in person. But in healthcare, it is a little different. Relationships with journalists matter more with the healthcare media. Healthcare reporters frequently have to turn more enterprise stories than traditional news reporters and that requires a steady flow of ideas. Healthcare is usually a specialty so if you are in the know of healthcare trends, you will have an edge with these types of campaigns. This is why even when I don’t have a healthcare client to pitch, I always make sure our team continually communicates solid news ideas to the various healthcare and medical reporters. It also makes them more receptive to our pitches when we are pitching our own clients.

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 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.

Healthcare PR as a Patient Lead Generator

By Mark Macias

Healthcare PR is one of the most effective ways to introduce your healthcare services to new clients, regardless of whether you are in the B2B or B2C space.

Earlier today, I met with a potential client in the B2B healthcare space that gets paid for their services via third-party insurance providers. Their marketing director explained her concerns about targeting consumers via the news media because she feared they didn’t have the money to pay for their services. She wanted to target insurance companies that pay the bills.

It sounds logical, but it’s also similar to the chicken or egg theory – which came first?

I think it’s more effective to target consumers first – and let them come to you. If your story gains traction, patients will call you or their insurance providers, finding out how they can qualify for your services.

But patients won’t know about your healthcare services unless they hear about it. You can try targeted ads, direct email marketing campaigns or even sponsor local healthcare fairs, but on a larger scale, nearly all consumers get their healthcare information from the news.

This is why nearly every local TV station and newspaper has a reporter devoted specifically to covering healthcare. News publishers know consumers turn to the local news for their healthcare updates.

During my time as Executive Producer with WNBC in New York, I oversaw three medical reporters and two medical producers, approving their scripts and story ideas. Those healthcare and medical segments frequently got higher ratings than most other hard news segments, which is why they were frequently the promoted story of the day.

How Healthcare PR Generates Leads in B2B

Let’s say you are a substance abuse treatment center that gets paid from insurance companies. Your internal data might show that consumers won’t pay out-of-pocket for your services, but that doesn’t mean a prominent story on your healthcare organization won’t drive consumers to seek out your services.

Macias PR works with a healthcare organization that gets paid primarily through government contracts. We secured a prominent profile story for them in the New York Post, which led to 800 calls in one day, according to their CEO. Those were all new patient leads who could potentially sign up for their services.

So if you’re looking for new ways to introduce your healthcare services to patients – including the B2B space – think first of the consumer. If you get them on board, the rest of the healthcare service providers will follow.

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.

PR Firm of the Year – Finance Monthly Award

By Mark Macias

New York City is full of energy, and it’s a driving force behind Macias PR. Manhattan gives our team close proximity to journalists, it ignites fresh ideas daily and keeps us in the center of the media capital of the world.

Yes – the city can be challenging at times, but like any other game, the spirit around you tends to lift you and take you to a more competitive level. Here’s a look at the City that inspires us and continues to take Macias PR to higher levels.

The energy from New York City is part of why 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.