You’ve just completed a successful PR launch for a new medical device that yields faster post-operative recovery for cardiac surgery patients, the clinical trial results have been published in a medical journal and the FDA has approved it for safety and efficacy. Health and science journalists from top media outlets thought it was unique enough to cover. The articles have been very respectable by startup standards.
Investors are delighted and all 20 employees are singing your praises. You’ve had lots to tweet about and post on the company Facebook page and the retweets and comments are rolling in.
But eventually the PR bloom will fall off the rose and the board will be expecting the next wave of coverage. Customers are not quite ready to go on record, nor are surgeons who are trying out the product. What do you do?
While you have focused on generating broad coverage with great success the second wave of brand building requires a new PR strategy to sustain momentum. It’s the right time to narrow your PR focus to reach your target customers – the surgeons who will push their hospitals for acquire your device; the patients who will benefit; the investors who see a healthy ROI. Identify the publications, blogs and other digital destinations where surgeons and post op nursing staff get their medical news and information. Set up specific PR programs to penetrate this second tier media: trade publications, medical journals, blogs, etc.
First, research healthcare and medical publications read by your customers. Check out the magazine editorial calendars which schedule feature stories throughout the year to drive advertising spending. Identify the topics related to your device. Set up a spreadsheet and populate with those publications and topics. Pitch your new device and how it shortens patient recovery times in unique ways. Invite the editor – or assigned writer to interview your company founder.
Develop a thought leadership program for company clinical executives by proposing and ghostwriting articles for those same publications, which are often looking for content, especially for their websites. These articles help position executives as experts who articulate the problem your device solves — but doesn’t shamelessly promote it.
Don’t forget to post and Tweet all PR driven content on Facebook and Twitter. Reshape these articles into blog posts, or add an introductory paragraph with a link to your published article.
Start a speakers’ bureau and arrange for speaking engagements at medical conferences and tradeshows where you’ll be exhibiting your product.
Find opportunities to announce the latest company news [following the initial product introduction]: a new round of funding; new customer; new executive hire; results of a clinical trial; etc.
Set up a mini PR program for new customers with a news release template that lets them announce the benefits of your product to the communities they serve and how they’re securing post-op safety for their cardiac patients.
Develop a story around the company founder for the business media; who she is; what inspired her to create a solution; her unique journey that led to the invention of the device.
Set up Google alerts on cardiology or cardiac surgery. Use headline news stories as angles to introduce your company to the media; pitch the founder as a guest for a radio talk show.
The honeymoon will end at some point so don’t ignore the myriad ways you can use PR to promote your company’s accomplishments.