4 Tips to Effectively Leverage the Media to Articulate your Health Message
This week we took another look back at the Medical Technology Association of Australia’s (MTAA) recent MedTech21 virtual conference, specifically the panel discussion “How to Leverage the Media to Articulate your Message” with The Age/SMH’s Rachel Clun, BioPharma Dispatch’s Paul Cross and Health Industry Hub’s Founder, Rozalina Sarkezians. The three seasoned journalists spoke about best practice when it comes to health media relations.
You can watch the full discussion back OnDemand or read on to hear our summarised version of the virtual event covering off the main topics:
- Practical ways to pitch
- Achieving pandemic cut-through
- The power of the patient voice
- Media versus advertising
1. Practical ways to pitch
Media pitching can be a tricky one to get right. Having a good idea of a journalist’s schedule is a great way to start. Catching a journalist at the right time can be the difference between landing your company’s health story or losing it. The journalist panel offered an insight into a typical day in the newsroom and how they like to receive a story pitch. Each journalist agreed that hearing a pitch over the phone in the morning time is their preferred method and allows them to see if the story can be scheduled into the day ahead. Getting a story out with a lead time of three or four days increases the chances of success. Most daily journalists are required to write one to two stories a day and reserve the afternoon for writing, something to bear in mind before picking up the phone to pitch.
2. Achieving pandemic cut-through
The news agenda has understandably been inundated with COVID related news and it has been difficult for other health stories to get a shoo-in. During the MTAA panel discussion the journalists explained, to achieve cut-through during busy times, having a story that has real and broad impacts to a large proportion of the population is very important. Presenting stories that have some form of link to COVID is also a good strategy to have. Editors get the final say and will choose stories with the most news value and relevance.
3. The power of the patient voice
When it comes to health stories, including real-life thoughts and experiences is an effective way to ensure a story receives the attention it deserves. A patient case study can elevate a story, and media prefer to interview a person about their own lived experience. Journalists that are presented with a story containing the patient voice are more likely to choose it because audiences tend to look for authentic voices that match their own. Consumers generally don’t want to hear from company spokespeople and prefer to hear from real people they can believe and trust. Consider connecting with case studies in your company’s area of health to raise awareness and spread your message.
4. Media vs. advertising
While advertising is absolutely essential to any company’s communications plan, landing an organic media story can give your company’s message and story the edge. This is especially true when it comes to explaining complex issues. The panel explained that leveraging the media is the best way to educate the public on complex topics such as health policy.
To discuss how we can assist with media relations for your brand or organisation today, get in touch here.