As a hospital, you have many opportunities for reaching out and getting noticed. The health and well being of your community is paramount. Unfortunately, many hospitals are missing out on opportunities for raising awareness of programs and services.
Public relations is practice that includes several activities that can garner and shape opinions of stakeholders. When combined with other practices, such as marketing and advertising, public relations can enhance key messages being distributed by your hospital and create a stronger impact.
There are five opportunities where public relations can help your hospital, and they include:
- To serve as the central source of health-related information in your community.
- To bring attention to important healthcare topics and trends.
- To coordinate events and activities that affects your hospital’s relations with the community.
- To analyze and shape community perceptions and attitudes about your hospital.
- To plan and execute programs designed to fulfill the above opportunities.
It is important to think of public relations as more than a press release. It’s a process that involves many different facets (outlined above) that collectively will contribute to a stronger hospital image in your town.
A cohesive program can help your rural hospital build acceptance among locals, increase the credibility and claims of your marketing and advertising, break through the clutter seen through local media outlets, reach hard-to-grasp audiences, and do all of these things in a cost-effective way compared to mass advertising.
There are some limitations to public relations, however. For example, if you flood your local media with news releases frequently, they may not cover many or all of your stories within a short time period. It’s important to pace your activities and leverage the media where appropriate. Another draw back is if you host events too frequently, you run a burn out risk among your publics and staff members.
As with any marketing communication function, strategic planning will help you monitor your resources and ensure you do not overwhelm your community. Don’t continue to miss out on publicity opportunities that your hospital deserves. Develop and maintain a public relations program for 2013.