Einsight

The Scott Public Relations Healthcare, Insurance and Technology Public Relations Blog

Einsights

The Scott Public Relations Healthcare, Insurance and Technology Public Relations Blog

Healthcare PR and Marketing Best Practices: How to Market Your Health Practice Online

stethoscope on keyboard

An online/digital marketing plan is essential in today’s business landscape, especially in the world of healthcare where audiences are not only seeking out information on their own terms, but they are expecting to be provided with relevant, timely and personalized information that suits their needs. If you have a health practice, you also want to receive referrals on an ongoing basis and you want to manage your reputation, making sure that potential patients are aware of what sets your practice apart from the others.

We recently read an article from Ragan’s Health Care Communication News and wanted to share some best practiceshealth info on mobile device we feel are important when developing an online marketing plan for your health practice.

  • Set clear and realistic business goals. How many patients do you want? What kind of annual growth do you think is realistic? How many patients do you think will make an appointment as a result of the information on your website? How are you going to measure your business growth? These are a few questions that should be kept in mind when formulating your online marketing plan because they will determine your marketing efforts.
  • Determine who your target audiences are.  Are you interested in treating families? Single professionals? Patients living in a certain area? These factors will also determine your marketing activities.
  • Measure and test. When you are first starting out with your online marketing plan, certain activities are going to be more successful than others and sometimes it takes experimenting to find these things out. Monitoring patient feedback as well as online metrics will help guide your marketing projects. For example, your patients may prefer an electronic monthly newsletter as opposed to daily blog updates in their inbox. By encouraging feedback from patients, you’ll be able to test and further refine your marketing activities so you focus on initiatives that produce the most ROI for your practice.
  • Decide on a budget. Having metrics in mind for how much to spend in order to get certain results will also help determine your online marketing activities for the year.

A campaign can be delivered in multiple ways to your target audience(s) and below are a few examples of what your marketing campaign might include:

  • Blogs
  • Infographics
  • Electronic newsletters
  • Surveys
  • Publishing articles on relevant medical websites

Not every health practice will have the same goals, and it’s important to continue to refine your online marketing plan so that you continue executing campaigns in the way that works best for your practice.

If you’re in healthcare, insurance, technology or other professional services industries, and need help with a PR, marketing or social media campaign, contact Scott Public Relations.


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Categories: Healthcare, Insights, Insurance, Public Relations and Marketing, Social Media, Technology

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How exercise can help prevent disease

Blog courtesy of Physiquality

exercise yoga workout

It’s probably no surprise that exercise is good for you. Doctors recommend physical activity as part of living a healthier lifestyle, and we all know it can help you lose weight and feel better. But how exactly can it improve your health?

Here are a few ways exercise can actually prevent health problems:

Heart disease

The oft-cited parameters to work out 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week (or 150 minutes a week) were published by the American Heart Association in 2011. They are part of the AHA’s simple seven rules for maximal heart health:

  • Get active
  • Control cholesterol
  • Eat better
  • Manage blood pressure
  • Lose weight
  • Reduce blood sugar
  • Stop smoking

While 150 minutes a week can sound daunting, even mild exercise is better than none. You can start by walking more, and by setting a goal of 10,000 steps a day. If you want to keep track of your progress, consider buying a pedometer to count your steps every day, or track it in a fitness journal.

Type 2 diabetes
exercise climbing stairs
Physical activity reduces many of the risk factors associated with type 2 diabetes, like being overweight and having high blood pressure. A variety of activities can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. Strength or resistance training has been shown to help reduce blood glucose levels; some studies have shown that it’s even more effective than aerobic exercise. That said, many experts advise using a combination of aerobic exercise and strength training to improve health and reduce your risk of diabetes.

Keep in mind that little things can go a long way. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park at the far end of the lot when you run errands or go to the office. Use your break to walk a lap or two around your office building. Essentially, try to sit less; recent studies show that too much sitting can double your risk for type 2 diabetes.

Stroke
doctor talking to patient
A stroke can be a life-threatening event, caused by a lack of blood flow to the brain — think of it as a “brain attack,” compared to when the heart stops working, a heart attack. According to the National Institutes of Health, “although stroke is a disease of the brain, it can affect the entire body. The effects of a stroke range from mild to severe and can include paralysis, problems with thinking, problems with speaking, and emotional problems.”

The NIH lists several risk factors for strokes, which all fall under the AHA’s simple seven plan: high blood pressure, heart disease, smoking, diabetes and high cholesterol. With the exception of smoking, exercise has been shown to reduce each of those factors. In addition, a study published last fall in the British Medical Journal found that “exercise programs were more effective than anticoagulants or antiplatelet medicines” in preventing stroke.

Mental health

Those of us that work out on a regular basis know that we feel better on the days that we work out. Now a variety of scientific studies have data to back that up.mental health depression

  • Preventing depression. A paper published last year collected data from 30 different studies that analyzed how exercise affected depression. The paper concluded that “there is promising evidence that any level of [physical activity], including low levels (e.g., walking < 150 minutes/week), can prevent future depression.”
  • Reducing anxiety. A 2010 study at the University of Georgia focused on the anxiety of chronically ill patients. The researchers “found that, on average, patients who exercised regularly reported a 20 percent reduction in anxiety symptoms, compared to those who did not exercise.”
  • Moderating anger. While exercise may not completely calm those who become angry, another study at UGA found that exercise helped to soothe angry reactions. What the results of the study suggest is that “exercise, even a single bout of it, can have a robust prophylactic effect” against the buildup of anger, said Nathaniel Thom, a stress physiologist who was the study’s lead researcher.

The Mayo Clinic points out that exercise can reduce depression both physically, by releasing endorphins and increasing body temperature, and emotionally, by improving confidence, increasing social interaction, and distracting you from negative thoughts. And a couple of different papers have found that even a five-minute walk in a natural environment (think leafy green) can lessen brain fatigue and help you relax.

To sum up, exercise improves your cardiac health, reduces your risk of diabetes and stroke, and gives you a clearer mental outlook. So put down your computer or tablet and start moving!

If you’re in healthcare, insurance, technology or other professional services industries, and need help with a PR, marketing or social media campaign, contact Scott Public Relations.

Like what you’ve read? Follow Scott Public Relations on Facebook , Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Google+. For convenient blog updates, sign up for the Einsight RSS feed!

(Note: Many internet browser platforms are discontinuing their internal RSS reader. If you are viewing this in Google Chrome the RSS feed will not work properly since they discontinued Google Reader. If you have an independent reader set up already you should be fine. If you do not, may we suggest you look to Digg Reader, AOL Reader, or our personal favorite – Feedly to handle your RSS feeds. Happy reading.)

Categories: Healthcare, Insights, Insurance, Public Relations and Marketing, Social Media, Technology

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Five Things Startups Should Expect From Their PR Firms

Blog courtesy of Bridge Global Strategies

name tag of startup founder

Getting the word out about your startup business can be challenging. That’s where the PR professionals come in. If you’ve decided to hire a PR firm, here are five things you should expect from your newest brand advocates.

Counseling and Pushback
Entrepreneurs face enormous pressure to oversee everything, if not to do it themselves. PR agencies can take a big burden off your shoulders by advising you on what to focus on and what to forgo, what works and what doesn’t. As a founder, CEO, or chief marketing officer of a fledgling startup, you can get the best value from hiring a public relations agency by asking for input and advice on your marketing and communications activities rather than deciding how to meet your needs on your own. Don’t only use your PR team as foot soldiers in your battle for visibility. You need to look for a firm that can provide a senior team leader who can act as a five-star general in advising you, the commander in chief. You should fully expect pushback from PR professionals on your own ideas about what strategies your company should pursue and when. You won’t always agree with the agency, but it’s to your benefit to keep an open mind and seriously consider the advice you get; after all, you’re paying for their expertise.

Upfront Planning
Ultimately, you are the person who knows your brand and your target audience better than anyone else, and this is one of the first things you should articulate to your PR firm.  You know what you have to offer and what you’re trying to achieve, but you may not be as clear on the specifics of which audiences you should target and what the key messages are that you need to convey to them.  You may not know how to achieve the goals or what it will cost. Ask the agency for a practical and affordable plan to meet your goals. Don’t expect to get one for free as part of a proposal – strategic planning and counselling are professional services that comes at a cost. If you ask for a PR plan as part of a proposal, you rarely get a plan that is practical and detailed enough to help you much. At the proposal stage, the agency doesn’t know you or your company well enough to give you a spot-on proposal.

The first step in starting any agency-client relationship is a briefing and planning session. During this session, which lasts a half-day to a whole day, our agency always asks for a thorough briefing on the client’s plans, what the client sees as the company’s or product’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, and how this ensuing “SWOT” chart compares with the competition’s SWOT chart. This discussion leads to a positioning statement – how the client’s company or product should be positioned in the marketplace. In turn, this leads to refining the best audiences for the company, as well as developing key messages aimed at those audiences. These are the foundations for any communications plan. You may feel you’ve already determined all of this and don’t need a PR agency to help with it. However, any good agency will want to walk you through these steps to make sure they agree with the conclusions you’ve come to and help you tweak the outcomes so they’ll be most effective when used in public relations.

Budgeting 
Another planning essential is to enter the conversation with an agency with an idea of what you can afford to pay. Find out at the start what services you could receive with your proposed budget. Most importantly, don’t make the agency try and guess your budget.
Many people are afraid that if they tell agencies what their budgets are, the agencies will come back with proposals that use every cent just because it’s in the budget. This isn’t a fruitful way to approach a budgeting discussion with an agency. Anyone can come up with a wonderful, creative plan if the budget is very generous. But what use is that if you can’t afford the budget? By the same token, if the agency underestimates what you can spend, the budget will be lower but won’t give you the momentum you could get with a larger budget. It’s a waste of both your time and the agency’s time to pussyfoot around on the question of what your budget actually is.

Goal Setting
It’s paramount to keep your goals realistic.  Hiring a PR firm doesn’t translate to a spike in leads in the first two weeks and rarely results in a feature in the New York Times after a month. That being said, the savvy startup CEO should come to a PR firm with concrete, quantifiable objectives. Often, these objectives consist of increasing key performance indicators such as page views per month, increases in sales leads, or social media interactions (such as comments on Facebook and on Linkedin group postings, new followers, retweets on Twitter, etc).The agency and the client should work together to decide on what the goals should be.

Reporting and Measurement
You and your agency must agree on a way to measure whatever goals you end up setting for your business. Web analytics will be helpful, and for budget-conscious startups, Google Analytics is a free tool that makes analyzing these trends easy. The agency can provide regular statistics on your social media audience. Furthermore, you should have a way to measure sales leads and see if they spike after the publication of any article that mentions your company or products.

If you’re in healthcare, insurance, technology or other professional services industries, and need help with a PR, marketing or social media campaign, contact Scott Public Relations.

Like what you’ve read? Follow Scott Public Relations on Facebook , Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Google+. For convenient blog updates, sign up for the Einsight RSS feed!

(Note: Many internet browser platforms are discontinuing their internal RSS reader. If you are viewing this in Google Chrome the RSS feed will not work properly since they discontinued Google Reader. If you have an independent reader set up already you should be fine. If you do not, may we suggest you look to Digg Reader, AOL Reader, or our personal favorite – Feedly to handle your RSS feeds. Happy reading.)

Categories: Healthcare, Insights, Insurance, Public Relations and Marketing, Social Media, Technology

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,