Over the course of my career as a health journalist, I’ve interviewed dozens of doctors who want to drum up media coverage for their medical practices, their health care companies or their new books.
When physicians land interviews and get publicity, it helps them build trust, credibility, and brand awareness.
Publicists know that getting the media’s attention is never easy, but with some simple strategies, it is possible to land more interviews and it doesn’t have to take a ton of time. Here are 3 ways.
1. Be Helpful
When I was working on a story for FIRST for Women magazine, the second best-selling women’s consumer magazine in the U.S., I contacted the publicist for a well-known doctor about a story.
I needed to interview a “real woman” source, so I asked if she could refer one of her clients and we would plug the doctor in the story. There was also a chance for her to be interviewed as well.
Two days later after she said she’d look into it, the publicist said they in fact, weren’t interested because it was too time consuming and too much work.
Landing media opportunities can be really challenging—even with a publicist—so I say, when an opportunity presents itself, go for it.
2. Be Flexible
It sounds so obvious, but it’s shocking how many times publicists pitch me their clients and then when I ask to set up an interview, the physicians aren’t available.
For a story I was writing for EverydayHealth.com, I contacted several major hospitals because I needed a source. Most of them said the deadline was too fast while others simply never got back to me.
I found a publicist who was able to set up an interview—and fast. She was so helpful that I interviewed her source for a second story too.
Physicians are extremely busy but if you’re going to pitch the media, your clients need to have some flexibility in their schedules. Besides, most journalists will set up interviews before or after “normal” business hours to get the story and make their deadlines.
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 pitches are slim.
Although the media needs sources from top health care systems and credentials definitely matter, they also need timely, relevant, newsworthy stories.
Whether it’s the sneaky medical condition you’ve never heard of or an alarming new diet trend, it’s the stories—not necessarily your book, product or protocol—that will land you media coverage.