Over the last several days there has been a great deal of discussion about ABC News and reporter Bill Weirâ€™s â€śLifesaving Testâ€ť story, which was used as a health care marketing tactic to promote Dr. David Agusâ€™ book, â€śThe End of Illness.â€ť
As a part of the report, Dr. Agus put Weir through a series of tests, which included a costly body scan that’s not recommended for screening people with no symptoms of disease. The scan found calcium deposits in two arteries, which the doctor told Weir could put him at risk for a future heart attack. However, since the program aired other doctors have challenged that assessment. These discussions have lead to an increase in media coverage focused heavily on heart disease, ABC Newsâ€™ reporting techniques and the medical communityâ€™s position on the use of full body CT scans. This poses the question â€“ Was this particular health care marketing strategy effective in garnering media coverage of Dr. Agusâ€™ new book and his mission to promote health and wellness?
Often public relations executives will offer reporters the opportunity to conduct a first hand experience with a service or product. In health care marketing, this can be a very effective tactic to help garner media coverage. However, to ensure that key messages remain on point and the publicity generated is positive it requires the skills and guidance of seasoned public relations professionals.
According to one bloggerâ€™s analysis of this health care marketing strategy, â€śrather than frightening the worried well with this one reporterâ€™s anecdote, the piece could have explained what evidence-based recommendations state. They could have explained different risk categories.â€ť If executed appropriately, Weirâ€™s story should have also provided Dr. Agus with a platform and ongoing opportunities to discuss the main focus of his book â€“ the importance of individuals becoming their own health advocates.
Before beginning a proactive media outreach campaign, itâ€™s important that a company seek the assistance of a public relations professional to develop the following as a part of its health care marketing initiative:
- A strategic media outreach execution plan
- Key message development and support materials
- Spokesperson media training
These three elements could mean the difference between a successful public relations campaign and one that misses the mark.
How do you execute a successful media outreach campaign?
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