Go from Press Release to Press Relations
By Ben Montgomery, BuildPT.com
Distributing physical therapy (PT)-related stories via press releases is a practice physical therapists are starting to warm up to.
Not only are press releases valuable in educating the public about the value of physical therapy, but such efforts also help ensure physical therapy is always part of the storyline. Physical therapists should be represented in the press wherever there is an emphasis on functional movement and exercise to improve lives and communities.
Press releases give physical therapy a way to frame their own narrative. Therefore, as a tool, press releases are quite powerful.
I’m often asked, “What can I do to make my press release more effective, to ensure it’s seen by more people?” While it’s a relatively broad question, the answer is rather simple:
Use your press releases not only to share information, but also to build relationships. Here’s how:
- Make sure your content is newsworthy. When considering a PT-related topic to promote via press release, focus on information people can use. Talk in terms of regular lives; specifically, about how physical therapy and movement can help solve problems many people experience. Such an approach will build your credibility with writers and editors.
- Distribute to people, not organizations. When creating a local media list and eventually distributing your press releases, avoid sending to general “newsroom@” or “editor@” addresses. Take the time to learn which specific writers and editors are most interested in topics related to health, activities, lifestyle, and movement, and send your press releases directly to these people, along with personal messages.
- Follow up with a call. A couple of days after emailing a press release to local journalists and writers, take the time to follow up with your contacts via a quick phone call. Don’t give them a hard pitch; simply ask if they received your release, if they have any questions for you, and point out that you’re always available should they need any professional sources for future articles. Let them get to know you and where your proficiencies lie. Use these moments to create relationships that can benefit you in the future.