One week ago, we converted my cash-based physical therapy practice in Austin to performing all of our patient treatments online via telehealth. I have to say it’s gone better than I expected, especially since we are known for being a hands-on manual therapy practice. With that said, we’ve been able to maintain a little over 50% of our current physical therapy patients as telehealth patients. But knowing we’d lose plenty of patients no matter what, I’ve also been developing and implementing a direct-to-consumer marketing plan for our new “tele-physio” services. I’ll go into more details on what I’ve found to work well in the coming weeks, but I wanted to share something today that has already landed us new telehealth patients … free PR.
I was able to get us featured on one of the top 3 news channels in Austin! Here’s the story announcing our telehealth physical therapy services to Austin. But what you won’t know by clicking over there now is that it was a text-only article for the last 4 days, and only last night did they put together and release the video you see below. Why? More on that later.
Quick note: if you’ve ever wanted to tell me “Thank you” for the content I put out, please also check out the story at their Facebook page.Give it a thumbs up, comment if possible, and if you’re providing telehealth services, share it on your page as a way to slip in another post about your new Telehealth services!
So how did I do it and how can you also earn some PR for your cash-based practice?
I’ll give a few overarching concepts and strategies here. If you want all the details as well as my personal guidance on marketing your services and keeping your business afloat during this pandemic, see below.
A “warm” connection is always a big bonus when pitching a story to local media, but it’s not a complete necessity. Do you have any friends, family, past/current patients, or others in your network who work for any local media outlets? If not, do you know any of the above who might know someone? Ask them … put the word out that you’ve implemented telehealth services so people choosing (or being forced) to stay at home can still get the help they need to deal with pain and injury. And let them know you’re looking for local media connections to help get the word out.
You’ll then need to craft a good pitch of your story. Always keep in mind that you must craft the pitch in a way that focuses on “What’s in it for THEM?” The story and the way you frame the pitch cannot look like you’re just trying to get free PR. You have to point out the reasons this will be beneficial and interesting for their viewers. Acknowledge the stress and craziness they’re dealing with as editors and journalists, and make note that you hope to be helpful by providing a good story that is perfectly relevant to current times and the needs of many of their viewers.
Follow up, follow up, follow up!
Everyone in the media is crazy busy right now, flooded from all sides with news and pitches, so please don’t take it personally if you don’t hear back. Give them a few days to get to your pitch, and then follow up (NOT the very next day … a few days after you send it). This is a seriously important point … most story pitches don’t get a yes on their first attempt. follow up!
Another example of the power of follow up beyond getting an initial yes: Like I said above, the news coverage for my Austin-area cash-based clinic was first just a text story on their website that they extracted from the video interview clips they did at my clinic. I wasn’t satisfied with that, so I followed up a few times to send them more of my videos and gently nudge them to put together the story on video for the evening news. I drove a ton of traffic to the text article on Facebook via emails and asking friends to check it out and share their Facebook post … proving to the news agency that it would make sense to piece together a nice video version for the evening news. BOOM!
Parlay, Parlay, Parlay!
As I just mentioned, drive as much traffic, shares, comments, etc. to your story as possible … make them happy and impressed with the interaction and response. You shouldn’t have a single family member or friend that you don’t hound until they’ve shared or at least commented on the media channel’s Facebook post featuring your story.
Follow up with the media/journalist thanking them again. Further, ask if there’s any content you could help create that they think might be beneficial to their viewers and to the station. This ask should also be accompanied with a pitch of a few ideas. Don’t expect them to come up with the idea. They don’t know what you can create nor should they be tasked with thinking about it. Perhaps you could start a weekly video series on how people can stay fit and pain-free from the safety of their home? A “working from home” series/article on how to properly set up their new home office? Even if it’s something you do on your own Youtube or Facebook page rather than theirs, you might be able to compel them to regularly link to or share your stuff. Get creative. There’s tons you can do and create that will be useful and entertaining to your local community, and highly shareable by your local media.
Use social proof to get other media outlets to pick up your story
And when it comes to parlaying a media appearance, it’s also about parlaying it into PR from other publications/media outlets. Show a competing editor that your story got a big response on social media and that you could create an interesting spin on that topic for their publication/channel as well. This is a tactic many PR agencies and businesses use to move up the chain to bigger and bigger media outlets … taking a piece of local news all the way to get national attention.
Alright, above I mentioned getting my direct guidance and coaching in order to navigate your private practice through these incredibly rough waters. I’m reaching out today specifically to those practice owners who want to learn and set up the systems, sales and marketing methods that will not only help them retain current customers via telehealth but also acquire new customers even in the depths of this pandemic … Those who want to emerge from these tough times with a business much more profitable, systems-based, automated, and resilient than it is right now.
I want to help as many practices as possible to make it through these times even stronger than before. And for that reason, I’m opening up a 3-month membership in my Cash-Based Practice Mastermind group at a 66% discount. This will be a way for you to set up the needed systems and effective marketing tactics to navigate the roughest of waters in this pandemic, with the direct step-by-step guidance of an expert healthcare business coach. If you’re scrambling to figure out how to keep your practice alive, retain your employees, and continue to serve your patients and community, this is an opportunity to get the guidance you need at an incredibly low price. If you’d like to take advantage of this special promo and join me and other practice owners thriving in the midst of these crazy times, click here. This offer will end on Sunday, April 5th or after 20 new enrollees, whichever comes first. Here are the details of what you’ll get in the Mastermind:
- Weekly, in-depth Live Q&A and Group Coaching calls with me. You’ll get all your questions answered and receive direct feedback and support from me, so you can make decisions with the confidence that they have been run by an expert in private practice marketing and logistics. Note: Most members get as much or more from hearing the challenges and questions that other members in the group bring to the calls. (Also note: all calls are recorded and you will receive the replays to rewatch or catch what you missed if you can’t make every call.)
- Access to a highly interactive and supportive community of current and future cash-based practice owners via our exclusive Private Facebook group. Post your questions any time to get a direct answer from myself and other Mastermind members.
- Feedback and critiques on your website, blog posts, videos, social media posts, advertisements, etc. Post your marketing pieces in the Facebook community so myself and others can critique them to ensure higher response and maximal return on investment of your time and money.
- Training and ongoing tasks/tools to generate the type of mindset most commonly found in the world’s greatest entrepreneurs.
- Access to the resources, software, documents, and other tools used by successful cash-based practices (see the video on the info page here for more details on these resources).
- Huge savings on my other courses, workshops, and books for the life of your membership.
- Access to a training vault of all past Q&A-coaching calls – have a question on a specific topic? You can back through hundreds of calls to golden nuggets of cash-practice-building knowledge at your fingertips.
- In-depth training and guidance on telehealth, bulletproofing your practice through the chaos, and how to get more eyes on your new telehealth services.
Click here for details or to join the Cash-Based Practice Mastermind for 3 months at $99/per month or a one-time payment $247. I truly hope you decide to take me up on this offer and I see you inside the Mastermind. I am confident we will make it to the other side of these difficult times stronger than ever.