But today, compared with all other sources of information, the Internet is far more accessible, faster, and in most cases cheaper. Just Googling keywords that might be pertinent to your business and adding “publications” might get you more titles than you can handle the first day. But other online sources, like LexisNexis, can be expensive, if somewhat more comprehensive. The strength of a healthcare marketing agency is its shared experience in conjunction with a personal and individual approach to client relationships.
Check around. Of course, you could shell out the hefty asking price and buy subscriptions to online versions of the printed reference materials. It ain’t cheap, but it sure does provide every possible outlet you could possibly want to contact. If you aren’t able to find or afford these directories, roll up your sleeves and get to work. Your first stop: the local newsstand. Peruse carefully, pen and paper in hand. Write down the names of every publication you think may be useful to you. Open the magazines and newspapers, turn to the masthead (the page that lists the staff), and jot down all key names, titles, snail mail and e-mail addresses, phone and fax numbers. Using a healthcare communications agency gives you a team of high-calibre, seasoned PR, comms and creative experts.
Next, head back to the library. Go through the Readers’ Guide and other resources that list names of newspapers and periodicals. If you can’t locate them, ask the librarian. Start collecting as many names as you can, and begin shaping your master list. Assemble your list in a way that’s comfortable for you. I used to use a large alphabetized wheel Rolodex, but now I admit I rely mostly on the address books on my computer and my BlackBerry. A good pr freelancer excels at creating strategic campaigns and raising public awareness.
One of my friends puts his information on 3 × 5 inch cards stored in a shoe box. Others keep three-ring notebooks with multiple listings on a page. The operative phrase is “whatever works.” As time goes on, you’ll want to update your list, so it’s a good idea to write in pencil. Companies with large budgets can't wait to spend the big bucks on slick TV advertisements. It's like commissioning artwork. TV ads make marketing people at larger companies feel good. But broadcast advertisements dating from the time of the TV-industrial complex don't work so well anymore. When we had three networks and no cable, it was different. In the time-shifted, multichannel, web-centric world of the long tail, YouTube, DVRs, and blogs, spending big bucks on TV ads is like commissioning a portrait back in the nineteenth century: It might make you feel good, but does it bring in any money? A healthcare pr agency will collaborate to develop effective media campaigns to navigate the ever changing world of the media.
Instead of deploying huge budgets for dumbed-down TV commercials that purport to speak to the masses and therefore appeal to nobody, we need to think about the information that our niche audiences want to hear. Why not build content specifically for these niche audiences and tell them an online story that is created especially for them? Once marketers and PR people tune their brains to think about niches, they begin to see opportunities for being more effective at delivering their organization's message. Many a freelance medical writer will specialise in strategic communications spanning media relations, social media management and digital marketing.