NEW ORLEANS, May 24, 2017 — The Plastic Surgeon’s Guide to Press Releases

May 24th, 2017 by Rachel Marsh

Search Influence has done a little blogging about press releases in the past, but now it’s time to kick things up a notch—or 16 billion notches. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, Americans spent roughly $16 billion on plastic surgery in 2016, which is an all-time high. With thousands of plastic surgeons vying for a place in this lucrative industry, your practice should be using every tool at its disposal to keep up with the competition. One such tool is the press release.

All About Press Releases

The press release is THE classic public relations tool. It’s over 110 years old, but don’t worry—it’s still very relevant. The modern press release is published online and distributed through networks like PRWeb. A press release can inform media outlets about a newsworthy event related to your practice. Not only is this great for publicity, but it also helps with SEO. When reputable news sites run your press release or write a story about it, they provide authoritative backlinks to your website, which makes your website more authoritative in turn.

Now, if you’re low-key panicking about what PRWeb, SEO, and backlinks even are, stop. Take a deep breath. Then, contact Search Influence to get all your questions answered.

Image of a woman trying to decipher the workings of the internet - Search Influence

If you’re already an SEO pro, great! Let’s move on to exactly what you should talk about in your practice’s press releases.

Good, Newsworthy Topics

Step one of writing a good a press release is choosing a newsworthy topic to write about. You should think of it as an announcement, not an advertisement. Press releases are not intended to hype your friendly customer service, compassionate care, or other unique selling propositions. They should not include a personal point of view, like “we” or “you,” and they should not include any promotional language. You probably are an exceptional surgeon who provides stunning, natural results, but PRWeb will probably reject your press release if you say as much. Instead, focus your press release on important recent events or developments.

Here are some great ideas for topics to write about, courtesy of InboundMD:

  • Celebrating Milestones or Anniversaries
  • Participating in Community Events
  • Hiring New People
  • Acquiring New Equipment
  • Offering New Services or Treatments
  • Opening a New Location
  • Winning Awards or Honors
  • Speaking at a Conference
  • Publishing a Study

All of these topics let you announce a new event or development that might capture readers’ attention. They also all provide the opportunity to frame your business as an objective leader in your field. A lot of practices could run ads claiming top-of-the-line equipment, but fewer practices could back up their claim with an objective and authoritative news story about acquiring new equipment. Press releases are a factual way to set yourself apart from other practices and stand out to potential patients.

Sections of a Press Release

Now that you have an idea of what to write about, let’s move on to some practical how-tos. Press releases follow a very specific format, and the sections are as follows:

  • Title
  • Summary
  • Body
  • Boilerplate

The title should concisely announce your newsworthy topic. It should include your company name and an action verb.

The summary should build on your announcement with engaging details to draw in the reader. For example, if the title announces that you published a study, the summary can explain how that study might impact surgical procedures or medical treatments in your field.

The body is where the majority of the writing takes place. It should begin with a dateline, formatted like the image below:

Image of a standard press release dateline example - Search Influence

The dateline should be followed by a strong hook or lead to capture the reader’s attention. Then, the rest of the introduction paragraph should provide the reader with all the key details they need to know about your announcement. The following paragraphs should build upon these core details, until the final paragraph, which should briefly include your contact information.

The body should be written in the third person, and language should remain objective, rather than promotional. However, you can include one or more quotations, from yourself or another knowledgeable figure, that can bend these rules a bit. A quotation can say, “I am proud of my practice’s dedication to technological advancements.” The rest of the body cannot. This is because the quotation is clearly attributed to an individual and framed as an opinion.

The final section is the boilerplate, which is a brief, objective description of your practice.

Pitfalls to Avoid

Unfortunately, no list of things to do is complete without a list of things NOT to do. Press releases have fairly strict editorial guidelines, and as you know, the medical industry is heavily regulated. The following are some common mistakes made in plastic surgery press releases and how you can avoid them.

It’s been mentioned several times already, but do not use promotional language or treat your press release like an ad. Objective language will not only get your press release accepted by PRWeb and news outlets, but it will also lead to more compelling writing. Again, tons of doctors claim that their practice offers experienced, well-trained care. You can prove that your practice offers such care by running a press release about the impressive experience and credentials a new hire brings to your practice.

Don’t include general business information, except for your contact information and the boilerplate. It isn’t news that your practice offers Juvederm, Radiesse, and other injectable fillers. A lot of practices offer that. It is news, however, that your practice is the first in your area to offer a brand new line of injectable fillers. If you find yourself filling space with general business information, it might be a sign that you should choose a more in-depth topic.

Don’t make any promises unless they are backed up by studies and statistics. This is not only because such promises can be too promotional for a press release, but also because everyone from Google to the American Medical Association has strict rules against misleading patients. Even seemingly innocuous claims about natural-looking or proportionate results can be flagged as misleading, as results can vary based on a large number of genetic and situational factors. To be safe, include reputable citations for all claims, and it doesn’t hurt to follow up with a disclaimer like “results may vary.”

Ready to Start?

This information should put you well on your way to writing the perfect press release for your plastic surgery practice. If you still have questions, or would rather leave the writing work to us, contact Search Influence! We’re happy to help.

Images:

Deciphering the Internet