Oftentimes in the world of public relations, medical treatment press releases read like excerpts from a clinical research report. Scientists say, ‘Here are our findings. Read it and believe.’ The pain caused by reading them might require treatment from the device being announced! Why such pain? Because the press release lacks the human element – the patient that could benefit from the treatment. Remember reporters write stories – about people.
According to an article in Wired Magazine, titled, “Why Science Needs to Step Up Its PR Game,” clinicians grumble about conveying results in simple language. After all, it took months (or years) of sweat equity to achieve the study results. Translating it into simple language would diminish all the hard work that has gone into the research. Precision of language takes priority over effectively communicating the message. The scientists think facts should speak for themselves. But what about reaching the laypeople? After all, more than 60% of patients are researching their symptoms, diagnoses and treatments online these days. So scientists must build their cases for us non-scientists. They need to tell stories that move those of us who don’t have PhDs.
Make the news more personal. Let’s say you have a pre-market diagnostic imaging system that detects melanoma lesions at their earliest stages within minutes. While the FDA prohibits you from making specific claims you can serve as a media expert for related health trends and problems. Think of the dangers of indoor tanning, sun worshippers who still ignore sunscreen – issues surrounding your product.
With all the health and life style blogs, TV shows, blog radio shows, etc., there are numerous opportunities to educate patients about the risks and dangers of the diseases your product is being developed to diagnose or treat. Think of health columns published on magazine websites that you can link to your website; press interviews about tangential subjects, guest blog posts. Share a specific story of someone who ignored a pre-cancerous legion that turned into melanoma. Include how your company is working to solve this problem. Remember you’re communicating to patients – the beneficiary of your forthcoming product – not just your science peers.