How to Publicize your Business with a Simple Press Release
Carol A. Wilcox
PREFERRED Therapy Providers, Inc.
Are you looking for some simple ways to bring awareness to your practice? Do you have news to talk about but don’t know the best way to get the word out?
Consider using a press release to help market your clinic. When used correctly, a well-written press release can help publicize your practice, attract new patients and build brand awareness.
Why press releases can boost your business
Press releases can put your healthcare practice in front of many types of media including newspapers, magazines, television, radio, trade publications, social media and blogs. The cost to prepare and distribute a press release is a small price to pay for the potential, long-term reach it can provide. When one media outlet picks up a story, it can spread to numerous other media outlets as well. Moreover, press releases are pieces of evergreen content meaning that they are around for a long time on the Internet.
There are several ways to use a press release but only if you have something truly newsworthy to talk about. Never use a press release as an advertisement. Editors get thousands of press releases each week. If you abuse the intent of a press release, you will turn off the media and risk getting the reputation of being nothing more than an online self-promoter.
Types of Information for a Newsworthy Press Release
Unsure of what is newsworthy? Think about what might be interesting, unique or special that is happening in your practice. Here are a few ideas:
Announce a new service – Have you added a new service or treatment that will enhance your practice and attract patients?
Announce an award – Use a press release to announce an award or significant accomplishment. Did your practice win an award for being the best healthcare practice in your city or town? Did you or your clinic receive an award from a healthcare organization?
New Hire – Have you added a staff member to your team? Announcing a new hire such as a physical therapist, massage therapist, acupuncturist, marketing manager, office manager or clinic director is often interesting news to the local community.
Offer an opinion on a current major health trend – Position your company as a thought leader by offering an opinion or comment on a current major health trend in your industry.
Announce a special event – Is your practice holding a special event? Perhaps a wellness screening or an open house? A press release announcing a special event will be of interest to local media outlets.
Are you opening another location? – This is another newsworthy event that may be of interest to local media outlets.
New equipment – If you have recently purchased new equipment or technology that will enhance your service offerings, a press release can showcase your practice as a state-of-the art facility.
Sponsorships – Perhaps you have sponsored an event or a sports team in your community. Or perhaps your team was involved in a community clean-up project or charitable event. A press release can show that your practice is community-minded.
Speaking engagements – If you have been asked to speak at a conference, trade show or other event, publicize it with a press release. This will help to build your reputation as an authority and thought leader in your field.
Exhibiting at a conference, health fair or trade show – If your practice will be exhibiting at a conference, health fair or trade show, use a press release to announce your attendance and invite attendees to visit your booth.
The Basics – What to Include in a Press Release
The basic elements of a press release answer the following questions:
What? – What is happening (example: A charity event)
Where? – Where is it happening (example: At a community location)
Who? – Who is involved (example: The event is sponsored by your company and 500 people are expected to attend)
When? – When is it happening (example: The event is next weekend)
Why? – Why is it happening (example: The charity event is to raise funds for a new homeless shelter and food bank)
Once you have established the what, where, who, when and why, the following components should be included in the press release:
1.) The words, News Release should be entered at the top of the page.
2.) The words, For Immediate Release and the date of the release are entered next.
3.) The Title of the release follows. Use an attention-getting headline that is factual.
4.) The First Sentence and First Paragraph should summarize what the release is all about. Along with the title, the first sentence and paragraph are sometimes the only part of the release an editor will read before deciding if it’s newsworthy enough to publish.
5.) Additional paragraphs should include quotes from individuals involved that will validate the facts stated in the release.
6.) Last paragraph includes a call to action. A call to action compels the reader to act on the information you have written in the release.
7.) Add a boilerplate after the last paragraph. A boilerplate is a standard paragraph about your company – what your business does. Make sure to include a link to your company website at the end of the boilerplate.
8.) At the end of the release, center the word, END or the characters, # # #. Either is acceptable. This shows where the release ends.
9.) Contact details – include the contact information of the person who can be contacted if the media outlet needs more information. This person could be a public relations or marketing agency that you use; a company owner or principal; or a company spokesperson or marketing/public relations director.
How to Distribute a Press Release
Now that you’ve written a press release, you’ll want to get the word out. Depending upon the subject of press release and the audience you wish to target will determine the amount of reach you’ll need. There are press release distribution services that will distribute your release for a fee. There are some free distribution services online but they are very limited in their distribution. Most services offer several choices for how and where your press release is distributed. Distribution costs will vary, depending upon the type of press release coverage you’re looking for.
If you’re on a tight budget, you can forego a press release distribution service and post your release on your own website. Link the release to social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Send your release to community publication editors directly. Best practice would be to find out the name of the editor and how they prefer to receive press releases. Most editors prefer email; however some may still prefer fax or snail mail. Keep in mind that editors receive lots of press releases; yours could get lost in the shuffle. You can follow up with a call 2-3 days later to confirm that your release has been received. Keep in mind that just because your release has been received it does not mean that it will be published.
There are many choices for press release distribution services. This chart from Top SEOs highlights some of the more popular press release distribution services.
Not a Writer? Help is available.
There are freelance writing services that can help. Some of the more popular online freelance services are Upwork, Fiverr and Freelancer. Be sure to look at samples of the freelancer’s work and carefully outline the parameters of the project and the details in a contract including timelines and agreed-upon pricing.
Doing a simple Google search using the terms, press release writers for hire or freelance press release writer will also yield many options. Some press release distribution services also offer writing services for a fee.
Don’t forget about HIPAA!
Never talk about a patient in a press release. Never provide any details about a patient condition. Never quote a patient unless you have written permission. Always get written permission to use photos of patients or children. Remember that HIPAA privacy rules apply to any type of public media including press releases. If you’re concerned about the content of your press release, have it reviewed first by legal counsel.
Need Some Press Release Samples?
Want to check out what the competition is doing? Need some press release samples to get you going? A Google search using the terms, “physical therapy press releases” will provide a list of recently published press releases. You can switch out the “physical therapy” for any other term if you want to see what other healthcare providers in different areas of concentration are publicizing.
You can also check out PRNewswire’s Latest Press Releases to get an idea of how others are writing and using press releases to help them grow their businesses.
About the Author:
Carol A. Wilcox is the staff writer and head of marketing communications at PREFERRED Therapy Providers, Inc. You can reach Carol here.
This article is brought to you by PREFERRED Therapy Providers Inc. PREFERRED is the nation’s leading payor management services network. Our expertise is working with physical, occupational and speech therapy practices – from single clinics to multiple clinic locations.