By Ansley Gogol, Media Relations Specialist
Last week, members of our media relations team attended PRSA’s 2017 Health Academy Conference in Orlando, Florida. Healthcare PR practitioners from across the country (and even internationally!) packed up their business cards and sunscreen, and headed to the most magical place on earth—Disney World.
For those who aren’t familiar with this annual conference, it’s the place where healthy business approaches and healthcare communicators intersect to better their practices and learn from each other.
Our very own Lisa Arledge Powell, CEO of MediaSource, was asked to chair this conference for the second consecutive year. Following years of serving on the Executive Committee and as a speaker, Lisa was tasked with planning the event and securing several top-notch speakers. I might be biased, but I think she did an awesome job!
Throughout the week, we discovered everything from how to spice up brainstorming sessions, to hands-on crisis drill techniques, to identifying fake news. Here are a few of the key takeaways we brought back with us:
Whether you’re managing a crisis or telling compelling stories, digital newsrooms are your best friend.
We heard time and time again that video storytelling wins every time. It’s more important to show your strengths rather than explain your talking points. Not only do you need to arm your team with the ability to tell a story, but you need to show a true life story with an “ask.” In the healthcare PR world, MediaSource strives to do this every day through compelling patient and doctor testimonials in the form of digital content. You’ll notice that at the end of each story on our newsroom, there isn’t a call to action. We drive patients to certain hospitals by showing success stories consumers can relate to, rather than telling viewers outright to venture there.
Keep relationships with journalists strong by being a vital source to them.
Various panels of healthcare journalists explained to us PR professionals how we can better our relationships with their teams and outlets. MediaSource lives by these three rules of thumb they mentioned as we pitch new stories each and every day:
Keep Pitches Short & Sweet. Journalists have limited time and a short timeframe to make editorial decisions.
Tell Us Results! Get to the good stuff right away -- new treatments, new devices, etc.
Highlight Patient/Doctor Stories. Again, show...don’t tell!
Once you’re seen as a vital resource in a journalist's eye, you become a go-to expert on various topics and can use a strategy we like to call “newsjacking.” During newsjacking, you can insert your experts into the everyday news cycle. To do so, those initial relationships are key. After successfully providing journalists with expert commentary from our clients -- even just one time -- MediaSource often receives inbound requests from journalists on other topics in which they need outside knowledge.
If you’re not getting butterflies every day, you’re not trying something new.
As most of you in PR know, brainstorming innovative story ideas and speaking up in big meetings can be tough -- especially with client roadblocks like budgets and corporate approvals. In the most magical place on Earth, that Walt Disney dreamt up, this session was particularly inspiring. We learned that when developing new ideas, think “yes, and…” rather than “no, that won’t work...” when in a room full of coworkers. Your team can always narrow down an idea later, but it’s extremely important not to hinder creativity right off the bat. Your team is your best idea factory, so keep those internal relationships strong, build each other up and dream BIG.