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PR – more than just press releases

Are you scared by the prospect of doing some PR for your therapy business?

Don’t be. It’s not difficult and anyone can do it. In fact, you can just pick and choose the ideas in this article to see what works for you and what you’re comfortable with.

But before we go into any specifics, let’s nail down what PR actually means.

According to Wikipedia, the art of PR (Public Relations) is: "the actions of a corporation, store, government, individual, etc., in promoting goodwill between itself and the public, the community, employees, customers, etc."

The key word to focus on here is goodwill. PR isn’t advertising. It’s more subtle than that.

Modern PR is about embracing more creative ways to promote and publicise who you are and what you do.

Getting started with PR

Good publicity can help you boost your professional profile and connect with other people and organisations in your area.

There are several approaches that you can try. In each case, you need to think about how you can communicate the benefits of what you do in an interesting way; how you can have an angle that differentiates you; or whether you have a personal story you can share.

1. Local / national newspapers and magazines

Opportunities: send out any interesting or newsworthy information about your private practice and it’s connection to the community; make yourself available for interviews; send letters to the editor commenting on local issues; offer to write free articles or a column that helps readers with their problems; make yourself available to provide quotes for journalists writing stories about your area of expertise...

How to get started: identify your local paid, free and council-operated newspapers and get on their radar. You can start by sending out a press release whenever your business reaches a significant milestone. This might be:

  • a new product or service
  • a move to new premises
  • involvement with a charity or large business
  • an anniversary
  • a compelling story

2. Local TV and radio

Opportunities: if you’ve got a strong story then why not approach your local TV or radio station to see if they’d like to interview you? Much of the advice we’ve covered for newspapers above is also relevant.

How to get started: again, identify a list of suitable targets and get in touch with them with a press release. The best way to get a yes is to suggest ways that you can help rather than asking ’is there anything I can help you with’? Journalists are always on the look out for good ideas and always have space to fill.

3. Trade magazines, journals and organisations

Opportunities: getting yourself known in trade magazines, related journals or on the websites of therapy-related organisations is a good way to connect with fellow practitioners.

How to get started: join or subscribe to any relevant publications and start contributing to them using letters, article comments and press releases, etc. If you have time, see if you can get more involved.

4. Social media

Opportunities: we talk more about this tactic in our social media article.

5. Giving talks or lectures to businesses or community groups

Opportunities: ask yourself this: what are the big community groups in your local area? What are the largest businesses? Would any of them be interested in you giving a talk on your area of expertise? The only way you’ll find out is to ask...

6. Competitions and sponsorship

Opportunities: competitions are a popular PR option for many businesses. Sponsorship can be another useful approach. These days you can sponsor anything from amateur football teams to roundabouts...

Why you shouldn’t hire a PR company

Of course, there are countless PR companies who will be only too pleased to do this work for you. But you can do it yourself. PR doesn’t need to be expensive. The only real cost to you is time.

Take action

  • set aside some time to do your PR work
  • think about what is newsworthy or unusual about your private practice
  • think about how you can comment on popular topics
  • concentrate on one PR approach at a time and make personal contact (don’t just pop a generic press release in the post and cross your fingers)