In a previous blog post, we mentioned that tradeshow exhibitors should “be prepared for media.” Let’s take a closer look into this subject, because doing it right can be a great advantage, whereas doing it wrong can cause problems down the road.
Tradeshows give you a wonderful opportunity to meet people who may become future customers, and of course you want to focus on the potential for sales and connections. However, another set of attendees is equally important, and that’s the media. They attend shows to see new products, check in on existing companies, and see what the trends look like for the months ahead.
Journalists come to the shows with packed agendas: meetings they have made in advance with companies and their publicists, lectures they want to attend, events they don’t want to miss.
You may have appointments pre-scheduled with particular reporters, and if so, we recommend that you set an alarm on your phone or watch to remind you that the journalist will be at your booth in twenty minutes. That will give you time to wrap up any conversations and prepare for a focused meeting with the journalist. Your plan should be to spend 20-30 minutes with the reporter. Hand the reporter a press kit. Don’t allow for any interruptions, and strike a balance between talking and listening. Give the reporter your direct email and phone number so they can follow up with you after the show with any questions.
Let’s talk for a moment about your press kit. This is a folder or flash drive that typically contains a press release about your exhibit/new products, a frequently asked questions document, and a product information sheet with images. We advise that press kits are developed several weeks prior to the show, that way you have enough time to print copies, and place in folders and on drives. Your publicist will use the press kits in pre-show communications and pitches with media outlets. When you arrive at the show, place the folders and press kits in the press room at the tradeshow for easy access.
And, finally a word on unscheduled media visits to your booth. The worst thing you can do is ask the reporter to come back at another time. Remember, meeting with the media is not only a way for you to position your messaging and products but it is also an important aspect of reputation management. We have assembled a list of tips that will help you when someone with a press badge arrives at your booth. Click here to download the “Be Prepared for Media at a Tradeshow” checklist.
What are your questions about talking to the media at your next tradeshow? Contact Liz Lindley at Liz.Lindley@fetchingcommunications.com for a free tradeshow publicity consultation.
A few weeks ago, we talked about how partnering with bloggers can benefit your veterinary practice. Now that you know how beneficial blogger relationships can be for your veterinary practice, we’re going to take a few steps back to talk about exactly how your veterinary hospital can attract a blogger’s attention.
Usually when we talk about bloggers, you assume that we’re only talking about the relationship between pet bloggers and consumer brands. Many consumer pet brands do often partner with bloggers by offering the opportunity for product reviews, contests and giveaways, but the way veterinarians and other veterinary service providers attract the attention of top, industry bloggers is very different.
Here are a few, easy and realistic ways you can attract a pet blogger’s attention to your veterinary practice:
Offer to Guest Blog
Bloggers often welcome the opportunity to offer their readers new, interesting and useful information from a trusted source. Before reaching out, take time to learn about them, their blog and their niche. Then craft a pitch with some topics you think would be interesting and helpful to their audience. Keep your email short and make it personal by including their name, what you like about their blog and what value your content would have for their readers.
Send Press Releases
Have you implemented a new procedure in your practice? Contributed to clinical research? Had a remarkable success story with a patient? Turn that into a press release and circulate it through a distribution service. Specialized services like PetPR.com can get your release into the mailboxes of local, national and trade media contacts, as well as pet industry bloggers, and even help you determine the best ways to leverage your news.
Pitch Media-Owned Blogs
There are a number of larger, media-owned blogs that allow for unsolicited pitches and proposals. For example, Catster.com and Dogster.com encourage submissions from writers, veterinarians, trainers and other animal-focused professionals. These sites cover a variety of topics including health, spay/neuter, nutrition and behavior. Before pitching an idea, however, read some articles to get a better idea of the types of articles they’re looking for.
Keep Your Own Blog Current
While you’re reaching out to other bloggers, don’t neglect your own blog (and if you don’t have one, it’s time to get one! See our post about blogging, and how Fetching can help). Consistently providing content on your site will help increase trust, credibility and SEO. Your content also gives potential blogging partners a better idea of your interests, expertise and writing style.
For more information about why your veterinary practice should partner with bloggers, check out our first blog post in the series.
What makes a good veterinary case study? Well, the answer depends on what you are looking to accomplish with it. Do you need content for your website? Newsletter? A veterinary trade journal? Consumer media outreach? Since all require diverse elements and different case studies will appeal to different audiences, we’re going to examine what makes a good veterinary case study for general or consumer media.
First, what is general or consumer media? National or local in scope, general/consumer media is simply the media that consumers or the general public reads or watches. It can be something as small as your community newspaper or something as large as Good Morning America. But for the most part, when Fetching Communications pitches case studies to general/consumer media, we pitch local newspapers (community and larger city-based papers) and news broadcasts at local stations. Why? Because the regional outlets are going to be most interested in a story with a local angle, i.e., the pet parent and/or veterinarian reside in the area, so it resonates with the community.
Now that we’ve defined the type of media we are targeting, let’s examine the elements that comprise a good case study for a veterinary practice.
Who doesn’t love a happy ending? Like the public, the media prefers one. They want to know that the pet made it out of the woods all right. Stories where the dog or cat may have had a near-death experience – but miraculously survived – are usually of interest to the media because they are hopeful and have a positive outcome. With all the current bad news, no one wants to tell or hear a sad pet story.
Unique visuals are typically appealing to consumer media – particularly television. Is there a compelling X-ray? A 3D model? Or is the dog or cat themselves the visual? Any collateral images that you can provide – including images and video – will help tell a more complete story and the TV station will appreciate the extra footage.
In order to have a powerful case study, you need a pet parent that is happy with the pet’s outcome, comfortable in front of the camera, and on-board with sharing their story. Not everyone will be open to this, so it’s important that the pet parent knows what will be asked of them. At the same time, the veterinarian or specialist also must feel comfortable discussing their treatment of the pet and being on-camera.
Uncommon Diagnosis or Very Common Ailment
Did the pet have a condition you have never seen before? Is it something that is happening only in your area due to environment or weather? If so, that may pique the media’s interest. Conversely, is it a common ailment or condition that affects many dogs or cats? That could also be of note because it will resonate with more pet parents in the audience.
Groundbreaking Use of Technology or Unorthodox Treatment
Was any new technology used in the pet’s treatment? Or, did you use traditional technology in an unconventional or unorthodox manner to care for the pet? Both would potentially help bolster the case study’s credibility when it comes to media coverage.
Are all five elements necessary for a compelling case study? Absolutely not. But several, like the happy ending and the people are make or break when looking to generate media awareness in papers or on your local nightly news.
Additionally, if you are more interested in television than print outlets, then it is a necessity to have some visual elements on-hand to help audiences better understand what the pet and its family endured and what you as the veterinarian had to contend with.
We specialize in developing case studies and media pitches for practices like yours. Contact Liz Lindley at firstname.lastname@example.org or click here to learn more about our media relations services. We can discuss your practice’s specific challenges and the solutions available.
Now that you’ve created a Facebook page for your veterinary practice with an eye-catching cover photo and a comprehensive “about” section, as we discussed in “Setting Up a Veterinary Facebook Page That Works: Part 1”, let’s talk about how you can amp up your presence on Facebook.
Unfortunately, just because you build it, doesn’t mean your customers will find it.
Here’s how you can start getting your veterinary practice noticed on Facebook, along with some tips to help you draw pet owners into conversations about pet health and the services you provide:
Create a community
Build a place for pet owners to come and connect with other like-minded people by posting relevant content and engaging with your fans. Not only will you be building loyalty with your past and current clients, but when Facebook fans share your content on their own pages, you’ll also reach thousands of potential new clients (and get a strong endorsement from one of their friends!).
Post fresh content on your page at least three times a week. Including a picture or video in your post heightens the interest level for fans. Also, consider releasing your posts at the time you receive the most engagement (you can determine this time through your Facebook Insights).
Make sure you’ve enabled your Facebook page’s email notifications (it’s in the settings). That way you’ll receive alerts when people post comments to your updates or if they send direct/private messages via your Facebook page. You need to respond, and fast! The online community moves at the speed of light and if you let a comment sit for too long, fans will think there’s no one manning the page. Why would they want to visit a ghost town of a page?
Also, a negative comment left to sit on a page unanswered might gather steam and you could get slammed with a slew of others chiming in to support the person or sharing their own negative comments about your business. Try to respond the same day the comment is posted, even if it’s just to take the conversation offline or say you’re following up on it and will respond within 24 hours.
Engaging with your clients/fan base is the heart of social media marketing. Don’t skip it!
Expand your reach
Once your page is created and you’ve published some content, it’s time to build awareness. Pet owners need to know your veterinary practice is on Facebook so they’ll follow you there. The way they find your page is through promotional efforts like these:
- Add the custom Facebook URL and the Facebook icon to marketing materials such as business cards, brochures, magnets, newsletters, etc.
- Place the Facebook icon/social button on your website and link it to your Facebook page.
- Write a blurb or article about your new Facebook page for your pet owner newsletter and ask them to connect with you there.
- Run a Facebook advertising campaign to get in front of local pet owners. These days, it’s a critical component to building momentum for your page. When Facebook introduced advertising, it changed its algorithm so that businesses lost most of their organic reach.
- Plan and launch a Facebook contest using an app like Woobox.com. Fans love taking part and sharing contests with their online circle.
- Review your analytics via Facebook’s Page Insights. Here you can find out when your fan base is most active on the platform and what content is performing best. By regularly checking these stats, you can determine what is working best (i.e. receiving the most shares, likes, comments) and do more of it.
Relax and let us do it
If starting and managing a Facebook page sounds overwhelming or you just can’t imagine who on your staff would have the time, or the expertise, we can help.
Fetching Communications specializes in managing social media accounts for veterinary and pet businesses and offers packages personalized to your practice’s needs. We set up pages, write posts, review your analytics, monitor comments, and develop and oversee Facebook advertising campaigns. Interested to see how your veterinary practice is performing on Facebook? Click here for a free Facebook page analysis.
Let’s discuss what would work best for your business. Contact Liz Lindley at 877.703.3824 x105 or email@example.com.
Where do pet owners go every single day? Facebook. That’s right, the giant of social media is the new watercooler where people go to hear the latest news, not only from their friends and family, but also from the businesses they care about.
There are more than one billion Facebook users and nearly 60 percent of them log into their account once a day. Even better: you can reach an estimated 98 million American pet owners on Facebook.
Fifty million small businesses already have a business page on Facebook. It’s easy to get started, but you can’t just create a Facebook business page and expect to acquire thousands of fans and generate a high level of interest and engagement without any hard work. You have to put in the daily elbow grease it takes to build a relevant audience of followers who will keep coming back to your page for useful information (or have us do it for you!).
If you want to build a robust and relevant Facebook following for your veterinary practice – a task that has the potential to drive traffic to your website and increase your brand’s awareness – you have to stay on top of the latest social trends, post timely and engaging content and interact with your audience daily. In short, your Facebook page should feel like a community for your followers – a place where pet owners want to go while spending their 40 minutes, on average, of time on Facebook each day.
Although that means you’ll need to dedicate staff time to manage Facebook as well as advertising dollars to build your fan base, Facebook is still a comparatively low-cost way to reach pet owners where they are already spending their time and looking to engage with businesses.
Ready to get started? Here are some considerations and steps to get your Veterinary Practice’s Facebook page up and running:
- Make the commitment
Like all marketing efforts, being successful on Facebook involves a commitment of time and money. At a minimum, you have to develop and post regular updates and respond to fan comments on your page daily. Ideally, you’ll post multiple times a day, create fun contests to help build your fan base and loyalty, provide coupons or calls to action, and review your Facebook Insights to see what’s working so you can do more of it.
- Set up a page
There are several decisions and steps you need to make as you build your Facebook page:
Claim your name: Type in your business name and see if a page or group has already been created. If so, try to track down who in your organization built the page and get ownership transferred to the correct person. Or, if no one in your organization created the page, see if you can claim it through the Facebook process. Alternatively, you can build a page from scratch.
Choose a category: Choose what “page type” is appropriate for your business. For veterinarians, this will be a “local business or place.” Although, if you have multiple hospitals, you may want to choose “company, organization or institution.” The “category” you then select is “pet services.”
Make it visually appealing: At the top of your Facebook page is a big area for what is called the “cover photo.” You can use stock photos you’ve purchased or others you own (and have permission from any pet or person pictured to use), just make sure they are the right size.
Tell your story: Complete the “about” section of your page as thoroughly as possible.
Reviews: You’ll need to decide if you are going to enable the “reviews” portion of your page. You can either turn it on, and Facebook users will be able to add reviews of your business, or you can turn it off. However, you cannot turn it on and then delete bad reviews. It’s all or nothing.
Custom URL: You can also get a complimentary custom URL for your Facebook page (so it’s not facebook.com/gobbled-gook…). You can add your name after the slash instead, which makes it easier to put on marketing materials later.
- There’s still more to do
But, we don’t want to overwhelm you. In our next post, we’ll share tips for maximizing your Facebook page’s impact through posting content as well as ways to effectively promote and grow your page’s fan base. (Be sure to sign up for our blog updates so you don’t miss: “Setting up a Veterinary Facebook Page That Works: Part 2.”)
- Bypass the hassle
If starting and managing a Facebook page sounds overwhelming or you just can’t imagine who on your staff would have the time, let alone the interest, we can help. Click here to receive a free Facebook page management quote from our team of social media experts.
Fetching Communications specializes in managing social media accounts for veterinary and pet businesses and organizations and offers packages personalized to your particular needs. We create pages, write posts, review your analytics, monitor comments, and develop and oversee Facebook advertising campaigns.
Let’s discuss what would work best for your business. Contact Liz Lindley at 877.703.3824 x105 or firstname.lastname@example.org.