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.
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?
As the weather cools down this fall, more people will be thinking about common health issues such as colds and flu. With these issues on people’s minds, they will be looking to the web to find information about their health. Where does your social media account fit into the conversation?
Provide valuable information
Your social media presence is a great place to give your community important information to help them stay healthy during the cold and flu season. Post articles about ways they can protect their health.
Think about your community, the local industries, and what health risks people are likely to face in their daily lives. The better you can connect with what people are expereincing they more receptive they will be to your message.
Raise awareness of your services
Now is a great time to raise awareness of the availability of flu shots. In fact, fall is the most important time to do use your social media presence to talk about flu shots.
Get the word out. If you plan on organizing a flu shot event, promote it on your social media accounts. Keep promoting it through the season. Vary the message but keep it in the spotlight through the fall and into early winter.
Commit to better content this fall
Remember, quality content should do all these things
- Inform the public
- Be timely and topical
- be relevant to your community
Now is an important time for rural hospitals and clinics to engage their local communities, and social media is an excellent tool that you should be using often and with the needs of your audience in mind.
Don’t miss this opportunity to reach your community over social media. Need help? Give me a call – 1-800-441-7401.
P.S. Make sure to check your SRJEasyHealthcare.com 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 SRJEasyHealthcare.com essentials member, you have access to exclusive discounts on projects to help your hospital meet and exceed its goals.
For rural hospitals, every penny and every
hour counts, which is why it is important to ensure that you are using the
right tools in your rural healthcare marketing strategy. With many people
thinking about spring cleaning, here are a few tips to help you optimize your
rural healthcare marketing strategy to help you succeed this summer and engage
on your rural hospital’s website
It is well-known people use the internet to find information about health and healthcare services in their local communities. Your rural hospital’s website and social media presence are both key opportunities to provide quality content that informs your community about healthcare issues and the healthcare services you offer.
Have you updated your hospital’s website lately? Now is a great opportunity to look critically at your website as if you were a patient. What information would you look for? Is your provider list as complete as it could be? Are all your services easy to find? How can you improve your rural hospital web design?
your rural hospital advertising and marketing content
With a great rural hospital marketing strategy, hospitals have an opportunity to guide patients in the right direction and provide actionable information that they can use to make decisions about healthcare services and providers.
healthcare services can you highlight to help your community?
Swing bed program
Hospital educational programs
Availability of wellness exams
With so many other responsibilities, it can be
easy to forget that people in the area may simply not know about all of the
important healthcare services available in your community. Your marketing
program is a great opportunity for your rural hospital to connect with the
community and raise awareness of important services.
on your rural hospital social media strategy
Are you providing great content on social
media? Keep your rural hospital’s audience engaged with compelling content.
Social media is a great platform for sharing information and raising awareness
of healthcare services available in the local community.
A great rural social media program is no
longer optional. Your social media presence is a key component of your online
rural marketing program.
All of these components of a healthcare
marketing program may seem overwhelming. Most rural hospitals can’t afford to
hire a full-service marketing agency. That is why we developed
SRJEasyHealthcare.com. Our membership-based service is like a rural hospital
marketing agency in your pocket. Members have access to ready-to-use press
releases, radio scripts, advertising, social media and discounts on services
like rural hospital web design so they can implement their rural healthcare
marketing strategies each month.
To learn more about our marketing program for rural hospitals and clinics, check out our website or call us at 1-800-411-7401 for a free consultation.
Marketing is most effective
when a healthy communication channel is open with the audience, and PR can
facilitate the creation of this channel. Public relations for rural hospitals
make way for establishing a connection between the hospital and the community
it is associated with. At the same time, Rural Hospital Marketing is also
gaining importance since it ensures the holistic growth of the hospital, making
it more approachable for the people in the community.
One of the most effective
forms of marketing is word-of-mouth publicity. When public relations helps
rural hospitals forge a lasting relationship with the people, it develops
trust. And when people place their trust in the hospital, this gives way to
publicity for the hospital free of cost! In this article, we will see how
exactly public relations can help people so that rural hospital marketing can
It can help establish two-way communication
For rural hospital marketing to be successful, two-way communication is required. If marketing is viewed as a unidirectional channel where information is only broadcast and the audience is expected to consume what is served, the marketing potential is not fully utilized. A bidirectional communication channel fosters trust and open communication. So, in the case of a rural hospital, the marketing strategy can be developed and improved based on the opinions of the community. Public relations for rural hospitals bridge the gap by making sure the connection between hospital management and the public is monitored and maintained continuously.
It helps to establish a lasting relationship with the community
When a good relationship
created with the community, the people know that they can give feedback and
that it will be taken seriously. They understand that the hospital management
cares for their welfare which further strengthens the relationship. This helps
bring out serious issues in the system and helps the rural hospital better
manage expectations. When you want to involve the community in your marketing
efforts, it is crucial that the involvement does not happen only when they are
sick and need to be in the hospital on account of that. Thus, establishing a
connection with the community by letting them know that you care for them works
It aims at empowering the community through awareness
Timely information must reach
the community via proper channels. When they receive honest and balanced
information, the credibility of the hospital gets established. However, it is
important that the community implicitly trusts the source of information.
Public Relations for rural hospitals make sure that the right information
reaches the right people through the right channels. This makes rural hospital
marketing much more practical and helpful rather than just a method to create
brand awareness. It also makes sure that the community is empowered and served
It can educate the community through targeted events and programs
It becomes the responsibility
of the hospital management to take educational programs for the benefit of the
community. And the benefits are two-way. Apart from benefiting the community,
it also helps with the PR. Under public relations for rural hospitals,
educational programs can be undertaken. During these programs, the message which
the hospital wants to associate itself with should be conveyed subtly but
strongly. The publicity with the intended message reaching the entire community
within a short span helps with brand awareness automatically. And no marketing
strategy works better than word of mouth publicity.
It can create awareness about public health
By creating awareness of public health issues such as cancer awareness and screening, the importance of immunization, etc. there is a huge potential to reach the wider community. Under public relations of rural hospitals, events can be held on national days dedicated to awareness to have a good impact. Rural hospital marketing becomes better streamlined when it is aligned with the goals of the community too.
Another excellent strategy to
create brand awareness about the hospital is by holding health check-up camps,
free screenings, etc. The hospital staff also gets a chance to interact with
the people of the community making way for trust and a personal connection.
This not only leads to a healthier community but also makes sure the hospital’s
brand earns respect and trust.
Public Relations can be used in sync with other marketing strategies
Aligning your marketing
strategies with the activities under public relations is the ideal approach for
rural hospitals to achieve good results both in terms of marketing
effectiveness and better benefits to the community.
Proper alignment also ensures
that the stakeholders are aware of the hospital’s position on all issues and
have a good idea about the success of marketing. This leads to the development
of the rural hospital as a whole aided by the efforts of the staff, the trust
of the community, the backing of the management, and good marketing.
This alignment and
coordinating also help save a lot of time, money and resources in the long run.
And what you ultimately have is a flourishing rural hospital, one in which the
community places its absolute trust. Thus, public relations can achieve the
best results for rural hospital management when done in sync with marketing
Marketing strategies aren’t always top priorities for hospitals and clinics in small communities. Marketing tends to be done as ideas come up and needs arise. While it’s good to be flexible, not committing to planning a rural hospital marketing strategy can mean lost opportunities and lost revenue.
Sitting down to update your marketing strategy and identify areas of opportunity will help your hospital save time in the long run by setting expectations and giving you a schedule that fits your resources.
Set goals and look ahead
The key to planning ahead is knowing where you are so you can make the right steps for your rural hospital marketing plan. Assess where your marketing strategy is now and decide where you want it to be during a specific and measurable period of time.
Budgets are always on the minds of rural healthcare leaders. Knowing what is realistic to accomplish using the resources you have will help you adjust your strategy when necessary and prevent you from going over budget. It’s also important to know what aspects of your rural healthcare marketing strategy get you the most bang for your buck. For many rural hospitals, this could be the swing bed program or physical therapy.
Look at what is coming up on your hospital’s calendar. Think about the types of events that seem like a natural fit for the hospital; or events that you want to highlight. In May, for example, you could focus your marketing materials on Hospital Week and Nurses Week as opportunities to raise awareness of your rural hospital’s healthcare team.
Choose the right marketing tools for your goals
It’s important to prioritize your marketing materials so you can maximize exposure and engagement. A press release in the local newspaper, for example, is worth 3 to 5 times the cost of an advertisement of a similar size. This is because it is a story and not a paid advertisement.
Also consider other marketing opportunities, such as a radio advertisement or a newsletter or direct mailer.
Think about how you can use your online presence to add to your rural healthcare marketing and public relations strategy. Leveraging your rural hospital’s social media presence is an important and cost-effective way to connect with your community.
Dedicate the right person for the job
Rural hospitals often don’t have enough money in the budget for a dedicated marketing team. That’s why they often choose to spread some of the responsibilities to various members of the team.
While this is a good way to get more out of your marketing budget, it can prove difficult to coordinate when team members don’t know exactly what they are supposed to be doing.
Dedicating the same person to check the main email account every morning will ensure that it isn’t forgotten. Having one person to update the social media accounts will make sure you speak with the same voice. Consistency and clarity are key to a smooth marketing operation.
Having your rural healthcare marketing materials ready in advance will alleviate the rush to get everything done as events and deadlines approach. Knowing at the beginning of the month what needs to be done every week will help guide you and your team toward what you are preparing for. If you have your marketing materials on hand and ready to use, you will be able to meet your goals!
A rural healthcare marketing strategy will pay dividends
It is no secret that rural hospitals have small budgets, and resources for rural hospital marketing are often the first things to go. However, keeping your healthcare facility in front of your community and raising awareness of your providers will help improve trust and slow out-migration. The key to doing that is working on your marketing strategy – making a plan, knowing your resources, and dedicating the right person for the job.
SRJEasyHealthcare.com is a membership-based program that takes the stress out of rural healthcare marketing by providing the marketing tools and marketing support you and your team need. As a member, you have access to powerful marketing tools such as press releases, social media posts, advertising and more so you can spend more time on your other myriad tasks.
To learn more, check out member benefits or call us at 1-800-411-7401 for a free consultation.