Newspaper advertising – even in small, local papers – is expensive. But you can get free exposure for your practice by submitting press releases about newsworthy events such as the addition of a new provider, an award or certification received by a provider or staff member, or the fact that you’ve participated in a meaningful community service event. Here are some tips for writing and getting your press releases published.
Start with contact information right at the top of your press release, including an e-mail address and phone number so that the publication you are submitting to can get in touch if they have questions. Next, write “For Immediate Release” under the contact information. Provide a headline for your release in all capital letters, followed by a subtitle in non-caps and italicized. Example:
CENTRAL CITY GASTROENTEROLOGY STAFF RAISES $9,000 FOR CANCER RESEARCH
Twenty-four staff members and doctors participate in local charity walk
Keep your press release brief and put the most important information – what you are announcing – in the first paragraph. You can then go on to explain your news in more detail in a second and third paragraph, where you might also include a quote or two to support your news. For example, “We are delighted that Dr. Gomez is joining our group. His education, training, and experience make him a great fit for our practice and our community,” said Mary Monroe, MD, Medical Director of Central City Gastroenterology.
Save boilerplate information (Central City Gastroenterology was established in 1978 and has eight providers in two locations serving area residents) for the very end. Using this format ensures that your main message is printed in the event that the publication has to cut the length of your submission due to space limitations.
Check your press release for spelling, punctuation and grammar errors. Eliminate unnecessary words within sentences so your release is clean, crisp and tight. Have at least two other people proof the copy before you hit send.
Include a relevant photo (digital, of course) with your press release.
Do not submit a press release that is a thinly veiled advertisement for your services. It won’t get published. Your release should be about something that is timely, newsworthy and interesting to readers.
Call the publication or go online to find out how to submit your press release. Smaller papers may have a single e-mail address, while larger ones may have different people who handle different topics. While you’re at it, find out which reporter covers healthcare in your area and introduce yourself. You never know when he or she might need a source for a story and contact your practice to provide an expert who can offer background information or make a comment.