Healthcare and the News Release

Healthcare News Release RIPThe news release is dead or dying public relations tool. This declaration has been made for a few years but is it really?

Arguably it isn’t—especially in healthcare where new research, technologies and other newsworthy developments are prevalent. They are alive, well and still are relied upon by media. So while we shouldn’t kill the tool, a quick demise should be brought about to the misuse of the news release.

For example:

  • Overuse—aka the release a week syndrome. Really?
  • Misapplication—sending out information under the guise of “news” that is not urgent or current. Seems a logical gauge, but one that often isn’t used. Really examine what you are trying to share – is it really news release worthy or should it be a targeted pitch, a social post or even an email blast that skips the media altogether?

It’s time to kick those bad practices (or convince those that you are working for that they need to be axed) and make the news release work for you. Six tips to put you on the right path:

  1. Subject lines

Email is still the best way to reach editors and reporters and AdWeek reports the subject line determines whether your email get read 85 percent of the time. Crafting subject lines that get opened is crucial.  Treat your subject line like a headline. Some tips:

  • Be brief, think five to six words max
  • Focus on the benefit, don’t sell and don’t use jargon or buzzwords
  • Use “you” whenever possible
  1. Don’t forget the “New” in News

By its name, the value of an effective news release is that the information is unknown until the intended recipient sees it. If what you’re sending is already public on your website, on your social media channels, in your paid ads what’s the point of getting it in front of media?

  1. Be prepared to share the rest of the story

A news release is a VIP invitation for media to be brought into the inner circle to help you tell your story to the people you really want to reach. Of course share the facts but be colorful, paint a vision and then offer sources for additional content, complimentary visuals and context—see #4.

  1. Don’t forget the What’s In It For Me?

Be careful to not get caught up in talking about you, your company, your discovery, your product, your new star hire. Nobody cares. What they care about is how does that new location, that new product that new hire make my life easier, better, save me money, make me smarter, make me more attractive, achieve that dream. Tell me how what you’ve got can help me today.  Do that and you have my attention, my support or my business.

  1. Make wise use of quotes

Quotes can deliver powerful perspective and context to a news release, but so many don’t. Stating that your CEO is “thrilled” or “excited” at your news should be banned. What does a quote like this add? Instead, use this valuable real estate to share your voice and why your news is important, relevant and worth getting attention.

  1. Make it easy

Journalists are busier than ever before meaning if you get 30 seconds of eyeball time on your release you’ve made a good start. Now, get to the point, fast. Between your headline, subhead and lede you should be able to deliver the who, what, when, where and why of your news. The rest of the space (no more than a page) delivers the details. Use bullet points they can deliver a lot of detail in a condensed, easy digestible format.

Highlight relevant links, sources and make your contact info easy to find—then be available and helpful.