5 Essential PR Opportunities for Your Rural Hospital

5 Essential PR Opportunities for Your Rural Hospital

When it comes to utilizing earned media to gain exposure for your hospital and brand, properly utilizing public relations tactics can gain your facilities valuable exposure without having to shell out big advertising bucks.

Over the last three decades of working with small and rural community hospitals, we have discovered that many of these community institutions do not really understand the goldmine of content they are sitting on. As a hospital, you have many opportunities for reaching out and getting noticed – in a crucial, newsworthy way.

Public relations is a set of practices that can increase attention and shape the perception of your business. When combined with an integrated marketing communications strategy, public relations can enhance the central messages being distributed by your hospital – creating a stronger impact in your community.

So, what are some ways you can leverage earned media to get your hospital and brands in the local media?

In a nutshell, there are five opportunities where public relations can help your hospital.

  • Serve as the central source of health-related information in your community.
  • Be a resource for important healthcare topics and trends that matter to your patients and families.
  • Coordinate events and activities that promote the awareness of your hospital’s programs in the community.
  • Evaluate and improve community perceptions and attitudes about your hospital.
  • Plan and execute programs designed to fulfill the above opportunities.

Each of the above opportunities are relatively self-explanatory while simultaneously can be a topic of discussion all on their own. When you review these five opportunities, it is imperative that you remember that public relations is more than a press release. It is a process that involves many different strategies that contribute to a stronger image of what your hospital.

A comprehensive public relations program can help your hospital build acceptance among the community, increase the credibility and claims of your marketing and advertising, break through the clutter seen through local media outlets, and reach out to the primary target audiences. The best part is that public relations can help your facility achieve these goals in a cost-effective way compared to mass advertising.

As with any marketing communication function, strategic planning will help you monitor your resources and ensure you do not overwhelm your community. Don’t continue to miss out on publicity opportunities that your hospital deserves.

With more than 33 years of experience working directly with rural community hospitals, clinics, physicians, and healthcare organizations, SRJ Marketing Communications is your resource for improving communication and stopping out-migration.

For a free consultation to discover if SRJ Marketing Communications might be a good fit for your facility, call 214-528-5775. You’ll be glad you did!

Rural Healthcare Marketing Tips – Social Media Ideas

Rural Healthcare Marketing Tips – Social Media Ideas

One question we often hear from our rural and small community hospitals is, “What do we post on our Facebook Page and other social media outlets?” You have likely wondered if you are responsible for your hospital and clinic’s marketing program.

The good news is that when it comes to social media marketing, content and ideas are abundant. You just have to think about it from your community’s perspective.

Social media involves more than just a platform for advertising. Using such media effectively means knowing what to post so that you can engage your audience and grow your presence online.

So, what kind of content should your hospital and clinics be posting online? Here are six ideas to help guide your content strategy in Q4 this year.

Health Awareness Programs

There are many important health awareness topics this fall and winter, including Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Diabetes Awareness Month, Lung Cancer Awareness Month, National Physical Therapy Month, and World Mental Health Day.

Leverage health awareness programs and initiatives like the above to create content for your social media outlets. Whether it is a tip, a fact, or a news story, share it!


Protect your community and drive people to your facility. The time is now to promote immunizations for the flu and COVID-19. Immunization clinics, partnerships with local businesses, advertising, and public relations material are some ideas to get you started.

Do not just stop there! Stay persistent in your messaging through the end of the year. After all, many significant health concerns, like the flu and COVID-19, are not going away soon.

Wellness Exams

The end of the year will be here before we know it, and we all know that wellness exams are an essential source of revenue for rural health clinics.

Because most insurance plans cover them once a year, now is the last chance to encourage people to schedule an exam before the new year!

Push the message of the importance of annual wellness exams and that it is generally a free benefit for most individuals with insurance or Medicare plans.

Diet and Nutrition

The last three months of the year will undoubtedly be a busy time for everyone. From Halloween and into the November and December holiday season, there are lots of reasons for everyone to push their diet and nutrition plans to the back burner.

Keep the importance of a healthy and balanced diet at the forefront of your messaging, starting with Halloween. A season heavily saturated with candy sales is a bad time for dental health and those with diabetes.

The upcoming holiday season can also be a challenge for diets with all sorts of heavy meals and rich desserts with which we are all tempted to indulge. Don’t let the holiday season sideline your community.

Create and keep an ongoing message about diet and nutrition. Whether it be sharing news stories often or a weekly series that showcases tips to stay on track – your community will thank you.

General Health News and Trends

Whether it be news about vaccine breakthroughs or general health and wellness tips, the Web is filled with all sorts of news stories and content worthy of sharing with your community.

Take a moment to search through major news outlets for health stories that may be relevant. The possibilities are endless.

Hospital News and Community Involvement

For the right reason, it is never a bad idea to toot your own horn. Did your hospital or facilities win an award lately? Has a team member had any life accomplishments they are comfortable sharing? Are there any significant employment anniversaries (5 years, 10 years, 20+ years)? Is your hospital participating in any community events or sponsoring something?

There is always something to celebrate. Find those gems and polish them into something newsworthy. After all, social media is nothing without the social factor – and your audience loves to see these types of posts.

Take your social media strategy to the next level. Give SRJ Marketing Communications a call! Our team specializes in online marketing for small hospitals, including websites and social media.

To learn more about how an effective social media strategy can help your hospital succeed, call SRJ Marketing Communications at 214-528-5775 for a free consultation. You’ll be glad you did!

Time for Your Rural Hospital to Start Communicating

Time for Your Rural Hospital to Start Communicating

Have your hospital and clinics been lacking in marketing and communications? We often discover that many rural healthcare organizations fail to communicate because of a lack of strategy and knowledge of where to begin.

By focusing on your messaging, finding the right audience, and engaging in communication, rural hospitals and community clinics can quickly rectify the “they’ll never know what we do” mentality.

Focus on your message

Local healthcare in many communities can be broad and diverse these days, and trying to reach every field and touch on every subject will only exhaust you and your audience. Therefore, it is essential to identify your most compelling strengths and opportunities and focus on them.

There is no need to get carried away explaining every little detail of your services in your marketing material. Let your medica providers and in-house experts do that.

Focus on the most important strengths that make for a good narrative and set your facility apart from the rest. Do you offer a service that no one else offers? Tell your audience about it!

Similarly, are there opportunities for growing patient volumes in certain areas? Physical therapy, obstetrics, swing bed, surgery? Decide what these opportunities are and develop a messaging strategy around them.

Identify your audience

By understanding your hospital’s strengths and growth opportunities, you must develop a strategy for sharing these with an audience.

Start by identifying those in your market who need to hear from you and focus your energy on them. Of course, it is not always obvious where your target audience lies, but with the right metrics, you can get a better idea.

Test your market by using data gathered from internal databases to determine what segments of your community are more likely to use your services and apply that information to your strategy.

This may seem like a simple concept, but you might be surprised how many healthcare facilities do not take advantage of the valuable information already on hand and use it to benefit their marketing plan!

Start communicating

Once you have established messaging and identified your audience, it is time to start the communication.

Sometimes it can be as simple and old-fashioned as a phone call or a mailer, but the act of contact can be one of the most powerful tools in developing repeat business and gaining leads to new clients.

A comprehensive marketing plan and budget can help dictate what tools you can use to connect with your target audiences. It can be a mix of direct mail, telemarketing, print advertising, and digital marketing. The possibilities are abundant, but a budget will help dictate how and which advertising vehicles you can realistically use.

Engage with your community

One crucial way to get information into the community is to engage with those living in your area. We often spend so much time looking over the horizon for new leads that we overlook that they are right outside the door—in our front yards!

Engage local business groups and host community events to get your neighbors involved. Demonstrating loyalty to your community and those around you can generate a lot of goodwill.

A great place to start is by joining and participating in your local chamber of commerce, Lion’s Club chapter, and community center. Opportunities will quickly arise from your participation in those organizations/groups.

Not sure how to make it happen?

With over 33 years of experience working directly with rural and small community hospitals, clinics, physicians, and healthcare organizations, SRJ Marketing Communications is your resource for improving communication and stopping out-migration.

For a free consultation to discover if SRJ Marketing Communications might be a good fit for your facility, call 214-528-5775. You’ll be glad you did!

Rural Healthcare Marketing:  Budgets & Experience

Rural Healthcare Marketing: Budgets & Experience

Right about now, many rural hospital leadership teams are reviewing and finalizing their hospital and clinic budgets for 2023.

There is a lot to consider for the new year: patient volume, reimbursements, economic outlook, among other things. So, when it comes to how to approach marketing communications initiatives in the next year, being more strategic and purposeful than is paramount.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, many rural hospitals and clinics saw a dramatic shift in in patient volumes. With that said, the 2023 upcoming spring season will officially mark three years since the world was changed because of the coronavirus. Many people have put off healthcare and many hospitals and clinics have reduced – if not stopped – their marketing initiatives. It is time to change that.

Aggressive action needs to be taken to help the community regain confidence and familiarity in their local healthcare system. They need to know who you are, what you do, and what they can expect from local providers and facilities.

This next year is going to be critical, and it will certainly not be the time to rely on an inexperienced person or organization to handle your hospital and clinic’s marketing communications strategy. The cost of finding and training a professional is just too great.

With more than 30 years of professional experience working with rural hospitals, SRJ Marketing Communications SRJ is a multi-faceted communications agency specializing in increasing the market share of small and rural hospitals by focusing on marketing, public relations, community relations, social media, and even effective website development.

Our expertise includes extensive experience in strategic marketing and the implementation of new media techniques such as social media marketing.

The time is now to begin a discussion and appropriately allocate a strategic marketing and public relations budget for 2023. Let’s start the conversation so you know what to expect for the new year and we can get started as soon as your hospital is ready.

I invite you to call me today at 214-528-5775 to schedule a free consultation. You will be glad you did!

The Importance of Public Relations in Healthcare

The Importance of Public Relations in Healthcare

If there is something the Coronavirus pandemic has shown us, it is that public relations for hospitals and healthcare organizations are critical – no matter the size of the hospital or community. News in your town can spread quickly, so responding appropriately requires perspective and action.

The practice of public relations is just one of the ways hospitals communicate with the community. This communication is not just a one-way track; there should be both speaking and listening because you’re looking at building long-term relationships that aren’t possible through one-way communication.

Getting your community involved is vital to send the message that you care and are not just throwing out information for brand awareness. Quality information on all healthcare issues will show that you are part of the community.

I believe four areas are vital when developing your public relations strategy: hospital information, public health information, educational programs, and integration with other marketing strategies.

Hospital Updates

You can communicate and get feedback from the community by publicizing announcements through press releases, public service announcements, or social media on hospital staff information or new facility changes. This communication is essential for brand awareness and your hospital’s credibility.

Public Health Issues

We all know a great example of a public health issue – COVID-19. You are the primary source for your community’s health information and needs. With this in mind, you can focus on how to share pertinent information like cancer awareness and immunizations. Bringing up these nationally recognized days is a great way to announce these health topics.

Getting your hospital in the public eye by hosting events such as free health screenings means you’ll be one step closer to a healthier and informed community. Additionally, your hospital staff will interact and be seen by the locals, giving a brighter face to your hospital. Autumn is a great time to host a flu shot and COVID-19 vaccines clinic.

Educational Programs

Getting the community involved with your hospital without admission is one of the most important public relations strategies. Through auxiliary programs or educational courses, you are not only able to provide health information to your community but get them directly involved in the process. The free PR is great, but be sure they get the message you want to spread.

Integrating with Other Marketing Strategies

Finally, you must coordinate your public relations program with your other marketing strategies. It is essential to bring a holistic approach to all your communication strategies.

Without integrating your strategies, stakeholders can become confused, or your strategies will simply not work. For example, what good is it if you have a great advertisement in the newspaper while the newspaper has written an article on how people are unhappy with their service there? Coordinating properly would not let this happen, saving time and money.

As with any marketing communication function, strategic planning will help you monitor your resources and ensure you do not overwhelm your community. Don’t continue to miss out on publicity opportunities that your hospital deserves.

With more than 33 years of experience working directly with rural and small community hospitals, clinics, physicians, and healthcare organizations, SRJ Marketing Communications is your resource for improving communication and stopping out-migration.

For a free consultation to discover if SRJ Marketing Communications might be a good fit for your facility, call 214-528-5775. You’ll be glad you did!