public relations

How To Use SEO the Pitch to Health Care Reporters

Earlier this week, we shared some insights we learned about pitching to health care reporters and jumpstarting your health care public relations efforts. Boston Globe columnist, Scott Kirsner, shared a lot of advice on how to relate better to journalists and his lessons translate well in regards to pitching to health care writers as well.


Read our Top 5 takeaways from “Getting Ink: Inbound Strategies for Building Relationships with Traditional Media Outlets and Bloggers”

Now, let’s explore the advice Arment Dietrich’s CEO, Gini Dietrich, shared at Inbound 2015. Her session about the power of combining media relations efforts with your search engine optimization strategy gave a unique approach to pitching to health care reporters.

Gini’s presentation; “Using Media Relations to Drive SEO,” was an intensive presentation filled with insanely helpful tricks and lessons for anyone trying to improve their health care public relations efforts. Check out her most valuable lessons:

  1. Be aware of your domain authority. You can check the scores of any of your competition as well by downloading the MOZ Chrome extension at When this is turned on, you’ll be able to see the domain authority of any website you visit. You can also see the DA scores in search results.
  2. You should pick 3-4 phrases or long-tail key terms you want to rank for and use as your anchor text. You can use Google’s free keyword planner to see how often those key terms are being searched and how competitive it will be to rank for them. You want to focus on terms with a high search volume and low competition.
  3. Trying to decide if you can rank higher than another website in organic listings? Check out their domain authority in comparison to yours. If you’re within a 10-point range, you can compete. If not, you might need to pick another term to focus on first. Gini made this analogy… If you’re walking you can speed up to beat someone running, but you can’t beat a bike. If you’re biking you can’t beat a car and if you’re driving you can’t beat a helicopter. The same rule applies for competing with higher domain authorities.”
  4. When reaching out to reporters asking to be a written about on their blog or in their articles, share a piece of valuable content within your blog that they can link to, rather than your home page. Writers want to send their readers to more content they can engage with, not a dead end.
  5. Don’t be afraid to ask writers if you can share syndicated content with them. Most publications do this, the only one who won’t is TechCrunch. Share with the writer what your health care organization does, mention that you know they syndicate content and then provide five ideas for content to share.

Want to learn more about the importance of having a strong health care public relations team, check out our article on why your practice needs a PR strategy. 

6 Reasons Your Practice Needs A PR Pro

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Okay, so needing your own public relations team is not actually scandalous as you might think. On ABC’s Scandal, the team of “Gladiator” PR pros face quite outrageous scenarios. Your practice might not deal with the same kinds of situations but you certainly have your own challenges to face, like pitching to health care reporters and keeping your practice together.

Olivia Pope, Scandal’s main character, can handle just about anything. Her clients are some of the most powerful people in the world (a South American dictator, a congressman, a governor, and a senator, just to name a few), but even they need to enlist her help every once in awhile to manage their reputation.

Doctors and their practices are no different.

Here are our six reasons why your practice could use its own team of “gladiators”:

1) A PR Pro can help foster your brand by developing campaigns and building your reputation at community events and networking opportunities. Need to get your name out there a little bit more? You can rely on them for that.

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2) When someone gives your practice a good review or promotes you on social media, you need to work to spread that positive feedback. Your PR team should keep an eye out for particularly happy patients and ask for a testimonials and help acquire more good reviews.

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3) On the same note, your own gladiator can manage and respond to negative Facebook and Yelp reviews/comments. People are most likely to provide feedback after negative experiences, so having a plan for how to handle those scenarios is imperative.

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4) They can help you become an expert authority in your community and industry. By helping you establish yourself with a significant presence on medical forums and networking websites like LinkedIn and other social media.

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5) They can plan and manage all kinds of events: from a happy hours to introduce your new doctor or technician, to an open house to showcase your facility, to community service or charity fundraiser.

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6) Consider this gladiator an inter-office staff member. They can help manage your online interactions and build relationships with other offices.

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Are you ready to get your team of gladiators together? We would be happy to help. Here is the form to request a consultation with Atlantic Health Solutions so we can get started making a difference in your practice.

How To Pitch to Health Care Reporters

Pitching to health care reporters can be challenging, but if you know some of the tricks of their trade you can capture the attention of top writers from publications like Huffington Post, The New York Times and USA Today.  The trick is realizing that there really isn’t a trick. Health care writers are people too! Keep in mind that they have a job to do too and they want to do it well, so if you can be a genuine health care industry resource to them to help produce better content, they will see the value in your relationship.


Need more help pitching to healthcare reporters? Download our Press Release Checklist

Recently, we attended Hubspot’s Inbound Conference in Boston and we learned a lot from two knowledgeable speakers, Gini Dietrich (CEO of Arment Dietrich and SpinSucks) and Scott Kirsner (Columnist from The Boston Globe). Both discussed ways to get more out of your public relations efforts, but their diverse backgrounds gave us a unique insight to what public relations professionals can do to get the attention of reporters.

Scott’s presentation; “Getting Ink: Inbound Strategies for Building Relationships with Traditional Media Outlets and Bloggers,” taught us a lot about what reporters and writers are looking for, here are our top takeaways:

  1. Journalists are skeptical by nature, but if you show them that you want to help them succeed, you’ll get farther.
  2. Your website’s “Media Inquiry” page can help you or hurt you. Contact forms will often be ignored, but if you have the contact name and direct phone number and email address of someone on your team a reporter is more likely to reach out to you.
  3. Unique bios showcasing your affinity for kickball and cat shirts can be fun, but ultimately could be hurting your chances of getting found. Meatier bios of your staff, especially your leadership team, can help you catch the attention of a reporter who, for instance, is looking for a Florida State University alum working for a health care startup.
  4. Steer clear of sending comprehensive Ebooks and whitepapers, no matter how interesting YOU find them. You are not your audience. Think about how the journalist you are targeting would search for a subject and tailor your messaging to fit them. Keep in mind, sharing infographics and short videos can be a great idea.
  5. Create lists in Twitter of reporters and writers who write about companies in your space, then tweet to them regularly about their articles. When it comes time to share your content, they’ll be more receptive.

For takeaways from Gini Dietriche’s presentation, Using Media Relations to Drive SEO, read our next blog post.

Pitching Perfect: PR Advice in Healthcare

This past Tuesday we had the opportunity to sit in on Cision’s “Pitch Smart: Media Outreach” webinar by PR expert Michael Smart. In 60 minutes, punctuated by success stories and a brief Q/A session, Michael shared his top tips and tricks for effectively pitching to the media. These pieces of PR advice work in health care as well. For those of you who missed it, I will highlight and summarize a few of Michael’s pearls of wisdom.

Ever blunt, Michael cut right to the chase beginning the webinar by stating a few bleak facts about media pitching that we already know.

  • Journalists and bloggers are incredibly swamped, so they’ve got less and less time to spend listening to pitches.
  • Traditional approaches to media relations simply don’t work anymore.
  • Sending the same pitch to your entire media list is less effective than ever before.

Given this information, it’s clear that it is our job as PR professionals to find new and exciting ways to frame “boring” stories if we want them to get picked up by the media. Michael pointed out that exploiting pop culture and using compelling content are the two most effective ways of adding value and flair to your story, thus increasing its likelihood of getting picked up by the media.

He used his past work for Brigham Young University as an example, where he took a story about BYU mathletes and turned it into a viral sensation. He did this by creating a rap video comparing the mathletes to BYU’s D1 basketball team, just as March Madness kicked off. The video linked a program that many people viewed as boring to both BYU’s successful sports team and a popular nationwide college event. Those things combined made more successful than BYU could ever have dreamed.

For most companies, however, trying to make your stories more exciting isn’t always enough to get them picked up by the media. Most companies—like ours—rely heavily on the pitch, which is why it’s so crucial that we do everything we can to perfect it.

According to Michael, good pitching revolves around something called the “80/20 Principle”, which basically states that you should spend 80% of your pitch time on the top 20% of your media list. If you’re a company that reaches out to more than 10 media contacts at a time, it’s unrealistic to think that you can devote the time and manpower necessary to customize each individual pitch. Taking this into consideration, you should select the top 20% of your media contacts and focus the majority of your time on fully customizing their pitches. For the next 30% of your media contacts it’s ok to decrease the amount of customization in your pitch, and for the bottom 50% of your media contacts it’s alright to use minimal customization when pitching.

If you’re having trouble figuring out who should be included in the top 20% of your media contacts, there are a few different things you can look for. Keep in mind your target audiences. Try to determine what types of media they’re consuming and the outlets that frequently reach them. Also, try to remember that at the end of the day, it’s all about the Benjamin’s where you’ll get your best ROI. All media relationships, specifically those in your top 20%, should either consistently drive revenue or drive valuation. These are important things to remember when trying to rank your media contacts.

Michael went on to describe exactly how PR professionals can customize their pitches. When pitching to your top 20%, make sure you do your research. Find out what industry they’re in, get to know their personal interests, go through and actually read their past work. The more you know about a media contact, the easier it will be to find ways of customizing your pitch specifically for them. As a rule, you should be both specific and sincere when pitching. Don’t just say, “I noticed you cover industry events”. Dig deeper. Actually read and reference their former work or their personal interests while finding a way to tie it to either yourself or your story. Forging these personal connections can help increase a media contact’s likelihood of picking up your story.

Michael also touched on the appropriate amount of information that should be in your pitch. If you’re pitching to someone at a top-tier organization such as The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal , make sure to keep your pitch short and sweet, giving just enough information to catch their attention. If your media contact is older he suggests ending with “would you like more information?” and if you’re pitching to a younger reporter then you’re better off ending with a link instead.


In closing, he leaves us with a few additional pieces of advice:

  • Don’t pitch over social media
  • Start following potential media contacts early, but never friend them on Facebook
  • After pitching to someone, wait 24 hours before a response and then follow up if you don’t get one

Keeping this advice in mind, here are a few takeaways and tips:

  • Find ways to reference pop culture and current events.
  • Exercise the “80/20 Principle”.
  • Follow the customization formula.
  • Ensure that you include the appropriate amount of information in your pitches.

These are all smart ways to improve the quality of your overall pitch, give you a leg up on your competition and increase your chances of getting your story picked up by the media. We’re not sure if there will ever be a formula for “the perfect pitch”, but we think Michael Smart has definitely given us a great framework. The rest is up to you!