December 26, 2014
When you see local businesses featured on the evening news, in the local newspaper or on online news sites, you might wonder if your pharmacy can get media attention, too.
Placing an advertisement on local T.V. or in the daily newspaper can be a great way to reach new patients, but paying for these promotions gets expensive. A story about your pharmacy in your local newspaper or news broadcast, on the other hand, is completely free and garners a lot of attention. The trick is actually getting a story into the local news.
Before you call your local news outlet, it’s important to know what makes a good story and what media outlets are looking for when they consider story ideas.
Check out these tips for developing story ideas about your pharmacy that your local news station will be excited to print or broadcast.
Reporters and editors often work together to decide what stories they will write and produce. To gain attention for your pharmacy from local media outlets, you need to identify a good story about your business. Maybe you’re celebrating a big anniversary, like 25 or 50 years of being in business, or perhaps your pharmacy is starting smoking cessation classes or hosting a free diabetes education workshop. These topics are just a few examples of what could make a good news story for local media outlets.
When an editor or a reporter considers writing a story, they look at multiple components. Make sure the story you’re going to suggest to your local reporters has a compelling narrative, interesting people they can interview, and visuals like pictures or video opportunities. Thinking of—and suggesting—these components ahead of time will make your story a more viable piece.
Also, be sure to approve your idea with anyone who will be involved in the story. For example, if you want to suggest a story about one of your longtime pharmacists retiring, make sure she is willing to talk to a reporter.
Network with local reporters to establish relationships. Introduce yourself to local media outlets and to reporters by phone or email. If you see a well-written or interesting story, contact the reporter and share the compliment. This can be an easy way to get an introduction.
If you connect with your local health reporter in particular, this could lead to opportunities to serve as a source of information for general health stories, like an annual piece about flu shots. Being quoted as a source about health issues promotes your pharmacy’s credibility in the community as a health care provider and builds your relationship with the news outlet.
Reporters and news editors are often wary about doing stories that promote a business, but if you find a way to connect with a charity or incorporate something that benefits the community, reporters are more likely to do a story.
Consider making your pharmacy a drop-off point for a canned food drive or collect hats and gloves for a local homeless shelter. These sorts of events are community interest affairs that local news stations are usually happy to promote.
Plus, they can promote your business by attaching your pharmacy’s brand to a project that benefits the community. And if people are coming in to your pharmacy to drop off a donation, they might also make a purchase in your front end.
If you are unsure about a story, you can always just ask. The worst that will happen is the reporter will decline to report on the topic.
Remember, news reporters and editors are busy, just like you. Many times they find suggestions for story ideas extremely helpful because they need to fill a spot in the newspaper or a T.V. segment unexpectedly. Suggesting a story is always a good idea.