Strategic Marketing and Public Relations for Today

By Michelle Collie, PT, DPT, MS, OCS

Health care continues to evolve, and despite many people’s concerns I believe the future of private practice physical therapy has the potential to be excellent. However, ongoing research demonstrating the effectiveness and value of physical therapy, providing excellent care, and getting results, are unfortunately not the only drivers for a future of success. Strategic marketing and (public relations) PR must be utilized to ensure that our value and our role in health care is messaged, so our practices and profession can thrive.

I am delighted to share the happenings of the Private Practice Section (PPS) Marketing and PR Committee. The committee’s objective is to provide marketing and public relations educational programming and tools for members to implement within their communities and with their local media. The committee continues to encourage a grassroots effort for members to have the tools and the knowledge to promote their practices and the profession of physical therapy.

The Fit Factor ( is a tool we continue to encourage members to take advantage of. This interactive, online survey increases consumers’ awareness of the scope of private practice physical therapy, drives people to local private practices, and provides a fun opportunity for people to benchmark where their physical health is compared to the rest of the population. Practices are utilizing the Fit Factor in a variety of ways; at events to capture new patients, as a means to reengage with past patients, and as an educational tool in the clinic. Practices are adding the logo and a link onto their website, in newsletters, and on social media, or having patients complete the questionnaire on iPads in the clinic. Included with this tool is a library of short, educational videos on topics from simple exercises to increase strength, flexibility, and balance, to advice on posture, ergonomics, and everyday activities.

Free for members, Marketing 101 is now available through the PPS learning center. Marketing gurus Lynn Steffes and Scott Wick have produced a series of five videos covering an extensive number of marketing and PR subjects: from developing a marketing plan and budget, messaging and branding, through to internal, referral source, consumer, community, and outreach marketing. This series is a “must watch” for all members and without a doubt will give any practice owner the skills to develop and execute a marketing plan that gets results.

Last year we provided our membership with professionally written monthly press releases. This resource has now expanded into a monthly marketing toolkit providing members with not only a press release, but also Facebook and Twitter posts and content for a blog or newsletter. Members now have monthly access to quality information that simply needs to be posted. Imagine the impact we could have if every member posted this content each month!

What’s coming up? I am excited to share that we are in the production stage for 99 Marketing Ideas. This member benefit resource will be a collection of video vignettes showcasing marketing ideas from private practice physical therapists all over the country. With specific details and real stories of effective marketing practices, tools, and strategies that colleagues have had success with, the 99 Marketing Ideas will inspire you!

I am grateful for the work of our committee members, Scott Wick and Darren Rodia and new members Anne Lamb, Jamie Bryant, and Steve Albanese. We look forward to continuing to work together to provide members with tools and education to effectively promote their practices and our profession.

Copyright © 2018, Private Practice Section of the American Physical Therapy Association. All Rights Reserved.

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