PR for Healthcare Providers, Biotech & Medical Device Companies


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Presentation about the value of PR for companies developing and marketing medical products. Among many points, turning research data, clinical trial results, etc. into compelling stories and messages is discussed.

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PR for Healthcare Providers, Biotech & Medical Device Companies

  1. 1. “Cracking the Media Code” Benefits of PR for BioTech Companies Shelly Gordon G2 Communications Inc. (650) 856-1607 -- off (650) 906-5698 -- cell
  3. 3. What is PR?  Public relations seeks to identify, build, and maintain mutually beneficial relationships between an organization and the audiences upon whom its success or failure depends  PR uses the media (editorial) to tell your company story & build your brand  PR opens the door so customers are more familiar with you when sales comes to call  PR is the best way to build credibility  When investors, doctors and patients are aware of you they feel better about transacting with you  PR is one of the most cost effective ways to capture mind share, make you stand out
  4. 4. What PR Is Not  Free advertising for your products  A rolodex full of media contacts who will write about your company whenever you call  Being the star of NOVA, the cover story of Scientific American or Dr. House’s new favorite diagnostic tool!
  5. 5. Role of PR  Develop & tell a story that sticks with the media  Generate news to raise awareness and excitement among target audiences  Potential investors, partners, customers (healthcare providers)  Educate audiences to build understanding  Articulate the unmet needs of the market
  6. 6. What Are Your Business Goals?  Map PR strategy on to business goals  Funding  Alliances  Acquisition  IPO  Competition  Reach customers… soften the market
  7. 7. PR divided into 3 Buckets  Strategic planning  Positioning and key messages  PR plan – analysis, strategy, objectives, tactics  Product launches  PR campaigns to raise awareness, change perceptions  Combat competition  Positioning for IPOs
  8. 8. 2nd PR bucket  Written communications  Company documents  Backgrounders, fact sheets, bios, clinical papers  Editorial documents  Press releases, pitch letters, speaking abstracts, bylined articles, letters to the editor, case studies, POVs, Op-eds
  9. 9. 3rd Bucket  Media relations  Build awareness through traditional and social media  Convince the media your story is of value to readers, viewers and listeners  Newspapers, online media, digital media, industry newsletters, blogs, radio talk shows, TV news, TV medical shows, Internet radio  Articles by experts for the media  Social Media  Influencer relationships  Speaking engagements
  10. 10. PR Basics  Press releases – Generating News  Show your company is making progress, achieving milestones of success  Formation of company, vision for market, executive “stars”  Funding rounds  Clinical trials, PMA application submissions  Results of clinical trials published in JAMA  New board members, speaking engagements at medical conferences  Medical study that’s tangential to your product
  11. 11. Press Release Pitfalls  Medical device and therapeutic press releases often read like an excerpt from a clinical research report  Scientists say, ‘Here are our findings. Read it and believe.’  Painful to read, lacks story  It took researchers months (years?) of sweat equity to achieve the results in the study  Translating it into simple language would diminish all the hard work that has gone into the research  There is more concerned with the precision of language than effectively communicating the message  Scientists think facts should speak for themselves  However, scientists must build their cases for nonscientists  “They need to tell personal stories, tug at the heartstrings of people who don’t have PhDs.”*  Make it personal *Wired Magazine, “Why Science Needs to Step Up Its PR Game,” May 24, 2010
  12. 12. Media Relations… Pitching Your Story  Develop human interest stories about your treatments, implants, diagnostics, etc.  Start at the end point – patient benefiting from new endoscopic surgery  Stories heighten awareness of the problem  Stories educate patients  Personal stories, case studies connect your product with patients in need  Start with trades & local media to build a foundation about your company
  13. 13. Story Examples for Start-Ups  You have a pre-market diagnostic imaging system that detects melanoma lesions at its earliest stages within minutes  While the FDA prohibits you from making claims you can…  Serve as media expert for related health trends and problems, i.e., indoor tanning, summer & sunscreen  Newspaper health columns, beauty blogs, TV interviews, radio talk shows, Internet radio, comment and tweet , WSJ Health Blog, NY Times “Well,”  Share a specific story of someone who ignored pre- cancerous legion that turned into melanoma  Include how your company is working to solve this problem
  14. 14. Tangential Stories About Your Company  What about the founders  Turning CEO into rock star  Genesis of the device  Industry stories  Biotech start-ups take development to Europe for faster PMAs  Story about startup lessons learned
  15. 15. Using Social Media  Amplify your reach, build a following  Tweeting  YouTube  Commenting on relevant articles, blog posts  Blogging
  16. 16. Use PR to Change Image  Pfizer known more for heavy marketing of therapeutics  Company conducted PR campaign to build trust, emphasize scientific prowess & good corporate citizenship  Began offering scientists as media experts  Publicized charitable donations  Pfizer donated 200 million doses of Zithromax to International Trachoma Initiative (Trachoma is world’s leading cause of preventable blindness)
  17. 17. Timing for PR  Communicating at the front end founders pitch the finer points of scientific research  VCs  Peer conferences  Medical journals  Move up to communicating to patients - science must be translated into simpler language  Wall St. investors  Science magazines  Science reporters of daily newspapers  Lifestyle media, television
  18. 18. Where to begin…  Identify target media outlets, i.e., magazines, newspapers, verticals, horizontals  What do your customers read?  Medical Device Daily, Xconomy, The Gray Sheet, Wall Street Journal  PharmaWire/Financial Times (HARO)  Newspaper – sections  Healthcare, business, lifestyle, local news  Healthcare magazines  Business, trade journals, lifestyle websites, digital media  Broadcast  News, public affairs, talk shows
  19. 19. Target media sources  Read the masthead  Learn journalists beats, what they write about  Peruse editorial calendars in magazines  Pre-scheduled features in each issue  Target 2 to 3 journalists to start  Learn what they cover – know what their readers care about  Research the Internet to read their last few stories
  20. 20. Press interviews  Front-load answers, stating the important facts first rather than building to a conclusion  Never answer ambush questions directly  Nothing gets reported after “but”  Learn to direct the interview  Talk in lay terms, use as little technical jargon as possible  Keep the answers short; the longer you talk, the shorter the coverage  A typical sound bite is 10 to 15 seconds