The power of Press Releases

One of the most powerful public relations tools for small healthcare facilities is the press release. These tools go beyond advertising by providing valuable and actionable information for your community.

Why is the press release powerful?

It has been shown that press releases are often three to five times more impactful than an advertisement. If the newspaper is quoting your provider, it’s news! What you say carries the authority and trust of the paper and that trust is now associated with your organization.

Furthermore, many people reflexively avoid anything they think looks like an advertisement. If information about your company and services is instead part of the news content, you stand a much better chance of having it read.

Designing Press Releases

The first thing to consider is to provide your press release in a format that is easy for your target organization to consume. Most papers will accept press releases using standard templates but it pays to find out exactly what they prefer.

You need to be mindful to create a press release that is more than just advertising. The release should be of interest to the readership of the paper. It should provide information that is interesting or helpful. That said, you want to connect this information to your brand and services.

Timing Press Releases

Because people often need to hear a message several times before they pay attention, it is important to stay in front of your audience. It is a good idea to have articles in the paper about three times a month. Having relevant, timely information at the ready can help you develop a strong relationship with your newspaper and ensure you get published.

Get Ready for National Diabetes Month

November is National Diabetes Month

Each November the National Heat Lung and Blood Institute promotes National Diabetes Month. The focus for this year is linking diabetes to heart disease. Now is a good time for your rural hospital to do educational outreach to the community and to make them aware of your related services.

According to the Southwest Rural Health Research Center “Diabetes prevalence is approximately 17 percent higher in rural areas than urban areas, with previous studies (also) showing that rural adults were more likely to report a diagnosis of diabetes than urban adults.” Rural Americans also suffer from higher rates of heart disease and stroke. These are health topics vital to the health of your community.

Teaching the connection

Adults diagnosed with diabetes are twice as likely to die from stroke and heart disease as those without it. The excessive glucose levels damage the blood vessels and the nerves that regulate heart function. For these reasons, diabetes prevention is intrinsically linked to preventing cardiovascular disease.

Of course, even for those with diabetes, there is a great deal they can do to lower their risks. Proper management of diabetes is a good start. Fighting the other risk factors for heart disease which are common in rural communities is another.

Delivering clear and actionable information to the members of your community can go a long way to helping them achieve better health. Ideally, you want to connect with the community face to face to teach and answer questions about diabetes and heart disease.

A focus on risk factors

The risk factors for diabetes and heart disease cover a lot of ground. This means there are ample opportunities to connect your hospitals’ health services with National Diabetes Month this November.

Diet and Exercise are among the most significant risk factors for Type 2 diabetes. There are also a number of personal risk factors from family history, poly-cystic ovaries, abnormal cholesterol, and others.

For heart disease, you can also focus your promotion on efforts to quit smoking, management of cholesterol, or blood pressure testing and treatment.

Seek out local partners

Consider all the risk factors and think about other popular local businesses or services that you could partner with for promotion and education. Restaurants that promote healthy eating or a local gym could make great partners for pairing medical information with a means for better diet and exercise.

You could create a genealogy workshop at the local library. This would be a chance for people to discover more about their family’s medical history while you share vital health information. Any opportunity to bring your expertise out of the hospital and into the community goes a long way to building awareness of your brand and services.

All these events can be promoted using social media, press releases, or local advertising.

Don’t Wait

Now is the time to get started with planning your outreach. You don’t want to miss this opportunity to care for your community and build awareness of your healthcare services.

Focusing on Flu Shots

Flu season is nearly upon us. Now is the time to start marketing your flu vaccination services to your local community. Not only is this an important service that is covered by Medicare and most insurance plans, but it is also a great way to make a positive impression on families in your community.

Build awareness of your Flu Shot services

Many people may not be aware that they can get vaccinated at your hospital or clinic. Let them know your services are quick, safe, and professional. Use your social media presence, advertisements, and other marketing materials to get the word out.

Sponsor a vaccination drive in your community

Another great way to bring people in contact with your hospital or clinic is to host a vaccination drive. Consider teaming up with a local organization or business to host a flu shot event. This is a great way to grow your reputation in the community and to engage community leaders.

You also get the opportunity to speak directly to members of the community about their health concerns and needs. Combine this with a promotion for annual wellness visits for a powerful follow-up combination.

Educate the public with a press release

A press release in the local newspaper is a great way to explain how flu shots are safe and help protect the most vulnerable in the local community.

Show your community that your healthcare organization is an authoritative voice on health. Explain the benefits of getting vaccinated and the risks of putting it off.

List any events you will be sponsoring and emphasize that shots are covered by Medicare and private insurance.

Need help promoting your healthcare services? Call Steven R Jolly at 1-800-441-7401.

P.S. Make sure to check your Essentials Toolbox regularly for social media reminders, press releases, newspaper ads and more. If you have a special project idea, such as web design, leadership development or customer service training, don’t hesitate to contact us. As an essentials member, you have access to exclusive discounts on projects to help your hospital meet and exceed its goals.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month – It’s not too late

As you well know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Even if your hospital does not provide mammography services its a good idea to build community awareness through community outreach.

Women are most often the primary drivers of healthcare decision making in their families. By actively marketing in conjunction with Breast Cancer Awareness month you can build trust and recognition with women in your community.

Now is the time for action

If you haven’t acted already, it’s not too late. You have two weeks left in October. That’s plenty of time to get out a press release about your efforts and promote your related services through your social media presence. Show your community that your hospital supports Breast Cancer Awareness month and you are dedicated to getting women the information and care they need.

If you don’t offer Mammography Services 

You can focus your marketing on encouraging women to visit their local healthcare provider for their annual wellness exam where they can discuss risk and screening options. In addition, you can discuss the risk for Osteoporosis and consider whether a bone scan would be appropriate.

Tying the promotion of annual exams to current health topics is always a great way to do outreach. They are a key opportunity to talk face to face with your customers about your services and create a positive experience visiting your hospital.

Resources to help your outreach

There are many organizations providing outreach materials you can use to help connect your rural hospital to the mission of women’s health. The National Breast Cancer Foundation is a great place to start. They have a social media outreach program you can use to support their cause while showing your hospital is part of the mission to fight for women’s health. 

We designed Essentials Membership to provide you with timely marketing copy, templates, and strategies to reach out quickly and easily for seasonal events like this one. 

The messaging essentials

When designing your marketing materials for Breast Cancer Awareness week or any time you are tying into a national promotion, keep these goals in mind.

  • Identify the promotion you are supporting
  • Make sure your brand is visible to readers
  • Clearly, state the related service you offer
  • Focus on one clear idea for each message

CUSTOMER CARE 101: Don’t Forget Your Patients’ Family Members!

As you train your team to be compassionate healthcare professionals, take time to emphasize the relationship between family members and hospital employees. Family is a crucial aspect of each patient’s hospital experience – so it is essential to know how to treat them!

Encourage your staff members to think about the role of a family member. Family members support your patients – with their time, their money, their familial bonds, their love. They reassure your patients. They help your patients de-stress. They offer conversation and comfort.

You can offer simple guidelines to your staff that will improve interactions with family members. It all comes down to common courtesy and common sense.

Instill this mantra within each of your staff members: a patient’s family members are just as important as the patient herself.

Be mindful of first impressions. When a staff member enters a hospital room, he or she should greet the patient’s family members, taking the time to walk over to each one and shake hands. This will instantly put the family members at ease. They’ll know their loved one is in good hands – in the care of someone who is personable, thoughtful, and attentive to details.

Provide information. Hospital staff can nurture and care for family members by giving them tangible information about the patient’s procedure and health status. Taking the time to clarify points of confusion and answer questions will reassure the family members.

Remember nonverbal behavior. In addition to keeping family members up-to-date on their loved one’s status and health, employees must not forget how much is said through gestures, facial expressions, and mannerisms. A smile says a thousand words!

Know how to handle complaints. Never argue or disagree with a family member. If someone is frustrated with a situation or outcome, hospital staff should respond with empathy and compassion. Teach your employees to place themselves in a family member’s shoes; they will be better equipped to respond to angry or stressed individuals.

Mitigate stress. Ensure your staff is mindful of the fact that having a loved one in the hospital can be stressful. Family members are likely going to be concerned, worried, or confused. Staff members can counter this by smiling, being good listeners, calmly responding to questions, and providing information.

Be personal. Throughout all interactions with hospital visitors, staff members should take that extra moment to shake someone’s hand, ask their name, or simply smile. Small gestures like this forge a personal connection between a hospital employee and a patient’s family member. In the eyes of a patient or family member, a hospital employee is the entire hospital. Ensure the hospital environment is full of comfort and ease.

Your patients are spokespeople for your healthcare facility – and so are their family members and other visitors! Every mother, uncle, sister, or nephew who walks through your doors will leave with an opinion about their experience. Will they be impressed by the compassionate care given to their loved one?