If you’re considering reaching out to the press with information about your veterinary practice, and in particular a case study, you need a method of delivery. The vehicle for sharing your story idea is the press release, which, when formatted accurately, clearly outlines the case and the supporting facts. The press release must be written in the objective third-person voice and strictly adhere to the facts. You’re not writing an advertisement, so don’t use boastful language. Rather, the release must contain the information necessary to develop what is called editorial coverage —the articles or TV segments you read or watch to get your news.
Before you develop a press release, we recommend taking time to learn its function and format requirements.
- Location and date. Follow traditional press release content guidelines by beginning your press release with the city and state of your business, followed by the date of the release. For example: CHICAGO, IL (December 15, 2017) – (Begin your release’s text here)
- Headline, first paragraph and word count. Reporters receive dozens of press releases every single day, and hundreds every week. To give your release an advantage, use a brief and compelling headline that will catch attention, and then get to the point quickly in the first paragraph, and keep the total word count under 400.
- Stick to the facts. It may seem natural to use descriptive words such as “amazing” or “cutting-edge” or “best ever” but reporters will see those words as overly promotional, and better suited for a paid advertisement. You can still use descriptive words, but do so from a more subjective point of view. If your service is exceptional, explain why. If your service is unmatched, describe how. Make your release newsworthy rather than too promotional.
- Build a solid boilerplate. At the end of every press release is a boilerplate, which is a short paragraph that describes your organization. It should be written from the 3rd person perspective, i.e., use words such as “they” or “the practice” rather than “we” or “us”. Be particular about the website pages you point the reader to; if you have a new landing page for biographies, and the release refers to particular veterinarians, you can use that as one of your hyperlinks.
Remember, a press release is simply one tool you have for publicity. On its own, without any personal follow up, you may not see results. But if your story idea is educational and informative, and will be beneficial to the media’s audience of readers and viewers, it’s likely you may earn editorial coverage. The benefit to your practice is the simultaneous promotion of your practice and your expertise.
It’s countdown time – your booth space is reserved, hotel reservations confirmed, and your employees are ready to go to the tradeshow to represent your company. You’ve made a significant investment of time, money, and resources.
Maximize that investment with these 6 tips:
Start with strategy. In the rush of registering for a booth, take a step back and consider the reasons you are exhibiting at the tradeshow. What do you expect to accomplish? How will you leverage the exposure of having a booth with the show’s attendees? If you start with a strategy and a focus, you are more likely to have a successful outcome at the tradeshow.
Plan PR, social media and marketing. Having a few key messages for all communications at the tradeshow will help you stick to your strategy and achieve your objectives. We recommend weaving these messages into your media outreach, social media and marketing at least one month prior to any tradeshow. For publicity, prepare a press kit in advance of the show that promotes your messaging and differentiates you from similar products or services. For social media, prepare your posts in advance, and engage with your audiences before, during and after the show. Your booth, logo, packaging, brochures, and all other marketing materials should be consistent in their themes, messages, styles and colors.
Consider promotional items. Most exhibitors order all kinds of promotional goodies to hand out to attendees, but the truth is that most attendees will drop the goodies into the trash bins as they leave the show. An alternative solution is to provide attendees with something that reflects your company’s value and messaging. Any giveaway should support your strategy and objectives for the show.
Train your booth staff. Your booth team represents your company, and for the few days of the tradeshow, they will be your ambassadors. We recommend that you train your booth staff beforehand, and provide a briefing packet for their reference during the show. It is also a good idea to conduct a huddle with your booth staff upon arrival and periodically during the show to review your expectations and answer their questions. Download our checklist for training your tradeshow booth staff below.
Be prepared for media. The tradeshow affords the opportunity to meet prospects, generate solid leads, and make sales, but you also need to be prepared for journalists who visit the booth. Be sure that you have press kits available for media to take, with your contact information clearly positioned in the materials. Start a conversation, and offer to speak with the journalist on the spot, or suggest a time later in the day when you can focus on the journalist’s questions without interruption. Remember that the conversation with the media should emphasize your values and messages for that media outlet’s particular audience.
Develop a solid follow-up plan. Most conference attendees leave the show and promptly head for the airport, already thinking about the work week ahead. To stay top-of-mind, we recommend developing a thorough follow-up plan that enables you to connect with leads you met at the show. Your follow up may be by phone, email, postcard, or in-person, and no matter how you do the follow up, it must have a specific call to action. With each follow up task, study the prospect, and be prepared to explain how you can help solve their particular need.
Fetching Communications works with pet and veterinary businesses as they prepare for tradeshow exhibits. If you would like a free consultation about your tradeshow publicity, social media and marketing needs, contact Liz Lindley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anytime of year is appropriate to critically view your company’s positioning and messaging. Given the business cycle of working on strategic plans in the fall, now is a particularly good time to consider the value of Fetching Communications’ Messaging Workshops. Planning any element of your business is a process, and not a one-time event. This workshop produces a list of messages, and then a priority view of the messages deemed most relevant to your business right now. These priority messages are then woven into all of your communications materials, including the content on your website, your social media posts, your public relations outreach and pitches, as well as brochures, tradeshow marketing pieces, and any other tool you use to communicate with internal and external audiences.
Messaging Workshops are conducted in a group conference call setting, and are facilitated by Fetching Communications’ CEO Liz Lindley. The invitation to participate is sent to key staff in your pet business or veterinary specialty practice who are asked to set aside a few hours of uninterrupted time for the workshop. That’s right, no email, skype, text, or phone calls. During the workshop, the group is guided through a series of prompts and questions, encouraging everyone to offer ideas and discuss specific challenges facing your business. The call is confidential and candid, and notes are taken and organized. It is not a full SWOT analysis because the workshop generally focuses on a single product or service line rather than the entire business as a whole.
To find out how Liz can facilitate a Messaging Workshop for your business, contact email@example.com or call 877-703-3824 x 105.
Story Development Workshops
What kinds of stories are you sharing with the media? Are your story concepts generating media interest? Or falling flat, but you are not sure why? Fetching Communications offers Story Development Workshops for pet and veterinary businesses who want to gain control over their story ideas and media pitches. Through a group conference call setting, Liz Lindley facilitates a meeting to narrow down your core message, identify your target audiences, refine the core message for each audience, and develop priority story concepts to best exemplify your business and its strengths.
The deliverable – in the form of a list of messages, target audiences, and story concepts – comes quickly after the workshop, and readies you for a public relations campaign to boost your visibility. To find out how Liz can facilitate a Story Development Workshop for your business, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 877-703-3824 x 105.