Twice a year I’m asked to speak at a national media conference with other journalists, editors, bookers and producers. The conference is for authors, entrepreneurs and small business owners—many of whom are physicians who want to get national media coverage.

After we give our best tips for how to pitch the media, there’s a “pitch fest” where the attendees offer their best story ideas to see if we’re interested.

Last year at the conference, I met a plastic surgeon who specializes in cosmetic procedures for men. Just a few days before the event his publicist had coincidentally pitched me a great story idea I planned to write about. Yet he had also clearly done his research because when we met, he knew exactly what types of stories I wrote about and pitched me another great idea that my editor picked up.

A few days after the interview, I got my mail and there was a small card from the physician—a note thanking me for using him as a source.

I nearly fell off my chair. I had written hundreds of stories over the years and that was the first time someone had ever done that. Not only did he go out of his way to show is appreciation, but he made an effort to establish a relationship with me so that I would keep him top of mind the next time I needed a source with his expertise.

Of course, sending a handwritten note isn’t going to get your medical practice coverage—all of the other pieces have to be in place too.

Although getting the media’s attention can challenging, with some simple strategies you can land more interviews in no time.

How To Get Media Coverage For Your Physicians

1. Be Helpful

A few months ago I was working on a story for FIRST for Women magazine.

I contacted a well-known health source who has specific expertise in the subject I was covering. I needed to interview a “real woman” source so I asked her publicist if she could refer one of her clients and we would also plug the expert in the story. There was a chance we might also interview her for a portion of the story.

Two days later after she said she’d look into it, she told me her client wasn’t interested because it was too time consuming and too much work. As a result, she missed out on opportunity to be cited and possibly quoted in a 2-page story in a leading women’s magazine that has a readership of 3.6 million.

2. Be Flexible

It sounds so obvious but you be surprised how many publicists pitch me and then when I ask to set up an interview, their physician isn’t available. In fact, last month I contacted several major hospitals because I needed a source for Everyday Health. Most of them said the deadline was too fast while others simply never got back to me.

The publicist who was able to set up an interview fast? I’ve already interviewed her source twice.

Doctors are busy, but if you’re trying to get your medical practice media coverage, make sure they have some flexibility in their schedules. Perhaps they can fit in an early morning or after office hours interview.

3. Lead With The Story

The media are inundated with hundreds of pitches every day so the chances that they’ll be interested in your story or even read your pitch are slim.

Although they need sources from top medical institutions and credentials matter, what they really need are stories.

Whether it’s the sneaky medical condition you’ve never heard of or an alarming new diet trend you’ve noticed among your patients, it’s the stories that will get you in the door—not necessarily your book, product or protocol.