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.
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.
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!