One of the greatest promotional tools you have is right under your nose, but do you know it? For companies of any size, quality marketing can be a big concern. Budgets are tight, staff is lean, creativity is tapped, and the list of obstacles continues. However, there’s one differentiating resource that every business has access to no matter what: people.
Your people are your greatest asset, and lucky for you, they’re your most powerful asset in a service-based industry like ours. The even better news? You don’t need a massive team of people, you just need one person: it could be your clinical director, your lead counselor or even your alumni coordinator.
In the world of PR there’s something we like to refer to as thought leadership, and this is precisely what your staff can offer.
Let’s face it, the quality of care that your facility provides is only as good as the individuals providing it, so why not put them in the limelight to help showcase your center’s expertise and boost your reputation?
Do you offer state-of-the-art equine therapy or have you seen unprecedented success with medication assisted treatment? It’s safe to say that you want these areas to be top of mind for potential patients, so start asking the individuals overseeing these programs to write content related to these areas of the business.
If free promotion for your facility sounds like something you’d be interested in trying, then here’s a simple three-step process to get you started:
Not sure who should be the thought leaders for your facility? There are two easy questions to ask yourself:
1. What are we really great at?
(*Be honest in this evaluation. No one facility is amazing at everything. If you try to boast false expertise, this will come through in your thought leadership content and only hurt you in the long run.)
2. What do we want potential patients to know that we’re really great at?
Let me provide some context….
Your facility might have top-of-the-line amenities, but also have a phenomenal alumni engagement program. While you’re really great at both of these areas, what would you prefer potential patients to recognize more readily? I’d suggest the alumni program, as after-care is often a top concern for individuals and families. If consumers can feel confident that they are selecting a facility that offers wonderful follow-up and care post-treatment, this may be an influential factor in their decision-making process. In this case, you’d want to position someone fairly senior and knowledgeable in the alumni department as your thought leader in this area.
Of course, that is not to say your amenities are not worth promoting. Other avenues such as third party online listings or your own website are great alternatives for marketing these strengths.
Now you’ve established who your thought leaders are, so how do you go about promoting them? The short answer is this: write compelling content and share it with publications whose readers can gain value from it. Again, there are two simple questions to ask yourself:
1. Who is my target audience?
2. What are they reading?
To elaborate, a target audience would be defined as the person most ideally suited to attend your center and reap the most benefit. For example, you might specialize in women’s programs or adolescent treatment, making your target audience women or youth respectively. On the other hand, perhaps you can effectively treat all demographics but specialize in faith-based programs. In this case, your target audience might be individuals with more spiritual beliefs or tendencies.
A target audience would be defined as the person most ideally suited to attend your center and reap the most benefit.
Once you’ve determined who your audience is, it’s time to figure out what publications they are reading. This will likely be easier with a more narrow audience, but will ultimately require some research.
After you’ve nailed that down, the real work starts. Try to find the contact information for an editor (oftentimes on the “About Us” or “Contact Us” pages) at one of the relevant publications you’ve identified and ask if they would be interested in an article about “X” from “X” at your facility. Be sure to fill in those “X” areas. Tell them who will be writing the article, what they plan to write about, and what credibility they have to speak to that topic.
So, your clinical director just wrote a great article for Parenting Magazine. What now? Now you repurpose, repurpose, repurpose! Share that content on your social media channels (you can even pay to boost it), post it on your facility’s blog (if you have one), or feature it on the homepage of your website. Yes, that article will gain visibility among the readers of the publication where it was originally featured, but it’s your job to take that reach even further by sharing it elsewhere. This is free, valuable content for potential patients. Make sure they’re seeing it.