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5 Strategies to Use Broadcast Media as a Marketing Tool

January 26th, 2011 | Posted in Business Development

Using the media as a tool to further your patient advocacy plans is a fantastic idea, but there are basic strategies one must employ in order for the venture to be a success.

Marketing in the realm of patient advocacy goes far beyond building a website and utilizing social media tools to bring awareness to your health advocacy cause. Broadcast media is an older, somewhat rigid medium long set in its ways. The following tips will help you key in on specific elements to successfully merge your message with their coverage.

Craft the perfect story pitch. All television news producers reserve time during each broadcast for health news stories. For patient advocates looking to advertise or bring awareness to their cause, this is a double-edged sword because so many other individuals will be vying for the same opportunity. Airtime is precious and limited; so know that pitching your health story to a television producer relies heavily on finding the right angle. You might also be made part of a larger story package and only have 15 seconds to get your point across. Utilize every second given and be sure your message is as transparent and succinct as possible.

Do your homework. Before committing your advocacy organization to the pursuit of televised media outlets for exposure, it is of the utmost important you research the types of stories certain news programs usually broadcast. In addition, investigate the reporters that are responsible for the health-related stories for those stations. You may find some are more sympathetic to your cause than others. For example, if you run a cancer patient advocacy group and you know a local news reporter took a leave of absence to deal with breast cancer, she may be more inclined to help you get exposure for your cause than another reporter.

Stay on topic during the pre-interview. People who spend their lives advocating for patients are passionate people who, during interviews, may be tempted to answer questions outside their given field about the state of government funding or other political hot buttons. Talking about public funding and politics is good for ratings and divisive to audiences. Back away from all such material and remember that you are not the only one with a story angle. Most likely, for live on-camera interviews, you will be doing a pre-interview with a show producer. It is their job to aid the on-camera reporter about topics to discuss with you when the camera is rolling. Giving away sensitive details about the inner workings of your company or even alluding to the medical histories of some patients could get you into serious hot water.

Forget being perfect on camera. The television medium may be perceived as the realm of superficiality in the world of news media outlets. Nevertheless, viewers have been found to relate best to individuals who behave naturally in front of the camera and not as though they are acting. So, nervous habits such as shifting in your seat, looking all around you with frantic eyes to stall for time and not looking at the interviewer or camera directly can make you look suspicious to a viewer. Further, this may make them less inclined to believe you or support your health advocacy cause. Be sure to remain calm, speak slowly with a clear voice and do not be afraid to start again if you misspeak.

Utilize the medium’s advantages. Being on camera allows you advantages print journalism does not: visual aids. The online medium can allow you to insert photo stories and short video clips alongside feature pieces, but the advantage of the televised news medium is human-to-human contact. People relate best to stories told through the eyes of real people so, do not fear incorporating some patients into a segment of your on-camera interview even if only in a small sound bite. If you can clearly portray to the viewers at home the state of the individuals you are striving to help, they are much more inclined to support your advocacy program.