Is Public Relation Too Expensive?

Public Relation (PR) is often referred to as free marketing. issue a media (press) release to your local media outlets and enjoy an increased interest in your brand of chiropractic.

First, PR is not free marketing. Second, like any form of marketing, PR requires a strategic and tactical plan, if any chance of success can be expected.

Many Chiropreneurs attempt PR marketing primarily for the allure of free marketing. But, as is often the case, you get what you pay for. Free marketing never is absolutely free.

If you have ever distributed a media release, your experience may have been disappointing. It is not uncommon to send a media release and not a single mention in your local media.

Before you embark on a PR campaign to grow your practice, you must first ascertain what desired outcome you expect. And, to determine that, you need to fully understand the difference between PR and Advertising.

The primary desired outcome of an advertising campaign is to attract new patients. The primary purchase of PR is to provide information of interest to the news media in your marketplace. Advertising purpose is making a “sale,” a new patient and PR is sharing “information.”

Let’s explore an example:

First, you need to know how much your time is worth. How much does your practice compensate you for each hour you dedicate to the office? If you expect to earn $240,000 per annum, and you work 30 hours per week and take four weeks vacation, then your value per hour would be $173.

The average amount of time to research, prepare, proof and distribute a media release could be three hours. Three times your $173 hourly rate would be $519. The cost of a photography to enclose with the release, envelopes, reproduction and postage, and time to assembly and you can calculate your total cost of this free marketing activity.

Maybe you have twelve media outlets in your marketplace including newspaper, magazine, radio and television. After monitoring the media, (another cost for the effort), you discover that only a neighborhood weekly picked up your release and gave you some ink.

The results: no calls, no new patients, and few people mentioned seeing your “press.” Your ROI (return on investment) in this case is -100%!

Now, if you invested the same $519+ into an actual advertisement, and with the right headline, design and message you only get one new patient, your ROI will be 100% or more!

As you can see, your free marketing could be too expense!

The Case for PR

However, there are some solid reasons why PR should be included in your marketing mix, and none have anything to do with free.

PR, like any form of marketing, requires a consistent and repetitive plan. You cannot send out a media release once or a few times per year and expect any impact on the practice. But, a sustained and planned PR plan can provide tremendous benefits to your visibility and recognition as the “expert” in your marketplace.

Just as you grow your practice by building relationships with your patients, you must do the same with editors and publishers in your marketplace. You must make an effort to connect with the gatekeepers of local news.

And, you must never try to use these connections to advertise your brand of chiropractic, but to help their readers, viewers and listeners learn more about your areas of expertise.

One PR technique is to offer your local newspaper a weekly column on healthcare issues. This is the right time to share and your donate your expertise to the community by providing a health and wellness article that is published each week. At the end of the year, you will have 52 articles published that you can use to create a BOOK!

Use the book as a promotional tool for your other marketing efforts, which will increase the perception that you are the expert… a very important component for enhancing your marketing efforts.

Peak your practice with PR.