We’ve come a long way from kids hawking newspapers on street corners, collecting money from anyone who felt like forking over some coins for a chance to catch up on the day’s headlines. Modern news distribution efforts range from articles syndicated across print publications to broadcast media campaigns to laser-focused online strategies. But the techniques of yesterday and today—and even tomorrow—still have one thing in common: They require actual news as the basis for their content.
We’re talking timely, important events that impact readers and listeners. It doesn’t have to be earth-shattering, but it does have to be relevant. And that’s where you come in: As the head of a medical practice, you have something going on that is newsworthy. Sharing that tidbit can serve a triple purpose: It can alert your audience to information that can help them, it can raise the profile of your business, and, when done correctly, it can benefit your website through SEO.
First, what’s considered newsworthy? The gatekeepers who decide which stories get published or land air time—and which do not—weigh potential news items to assess whether they are:
• timely (very current, as in it happened days or weeks ago, or will happen soon)
• prominent (involving a high-profile person or business)
• proximal (occurring in a location very close to where the intended audience lives)
• consequential (having a measurable impact on readers and listeners)
• novel (unique, interesting, or unusual)
Note that not every press-release-worthy item has all of these elements, but the more it has and the stronger they are, the greater chance it will be noticed—and read—by editors and audiences.
Now, where to focus your press release efforts? This really depends on the goal. If you want to see an article about yourself or your practice in a local print run, emphasize the timeliness and proximity aspects of your news item and target publications in your specific region.
If your aim is to boost your website’s ranking on SERPs (search engine results pages) online, the information still must be newsworthy, but the effort should focus more on including carefully chosen keywords and strategic links – both to your site and to other well-regarded, highly authoritative pages. The resulting release can be distributed via an online system designed for this specific task.
These efforts can be made jointly or independently, as each works as a standalone tactic to raise your practice’s profile, as well as in conjunction with the other. Any media mention—whether in a single or front-page story or on a hundred websites scattered around the country—benefits your practice.
Ryan has been copy manager for MetaMed Marketing since 2014, and wrote for the company’s various clients for a few years prior to that.