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Getting publicity for your medical practice can help you build credibility, foster thought leadership and set you apart from the competition. Since the most popular industry trade outlets and blogs have large, built-in audiences and social media followings, contributing content or having a journalist write about you and your practice can increase referrals from other physicians without devoting a ton of time and money to create consistent content for your own site.

If you’ve never pitched a story idea to a trade outlet however, the process can seem confusing, difficult and daunting. Sure, you could hire a public relations agency, but retainer fees cost thousands of dollars and of course, you’re never guaranteed a media hit.

With a bit of insight about how industry trade outlets decide on the stories they publish and a few simple steps, you can pitch industry trade outlets on your own and get free publicity for your practice.

Do your homework

You might have published a groundbreaking new study or have an amazing story idea, but that doesn’t mean it’s a story every trade outlet wants to publish.

First, identify the medical publications your peers are reading and study their content to understand the types of stories they cover. Most outlets post submission guidelines which explain the types of stories they’re looking for, what to include in your pitch and who to send the pitch to. Although you can pitch the same story idea to several outlets, make sure to tailor the pitch—and the headline—for each outlet and write it in their voice and style.

Offer a unique story idea

Topics like the ACA, physician burnout and healthcare marketing might have a high search engine optimization (SEO) rank, but for an editor to be interested in your story, there has to be a news hook or new spin—it can’t be too similar to a story they’ve already published.

If you have a story idea that’s timely and relevant, a unique spin or a fresh perspective that would appeal to the outlet’s audience, you’ll have a better chance of getting publicity. When writing your pitch, be sure to also back up your idea with updated statistics, new surveys and studies.

Don’t talk about yourself

Journalists and editors need story ideas so don’t send them a blatant sales pitch about you, your practice, or a new service or product you invented unless they ask for it. Sending a press release is okay, but always lead with the story.

Send a personal email

Instead of sending your pitch to the general email address or contact form, take the time to search for an editor or journalist’s email and send a personalized pitch to them.

Make it short and sweet

Journalists are seriously strapped for time and inundated with pitches. In fact, according to a survey by Fractl, 57 percent say they receive between 50 and 500 pitches a week and only 35 percent say they sometimes read them.

When you write a pitch, include a strong subject line, get to the point quickly, “show, don’t tell,” why the story should be published, keep it short—1 to 2 paragraphs max and use bullet points for easy readability

Offer video

According to a report by Cisco, consumer internet video traffic will account for 80 percent of all consumer Internet traffic by 2019. And trade outlets and news sites are catching on by using more video in their stories to improve (SEO), brand awareness and engagement. 

By sending a video clip that helps tell the story you’re pitching, you’re providing more value to the outlet to increase traffic and social shares of the content.

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