The Media and Self Promotion
When I published my recent book, Healthy Feet for People with Diabetes, I was sure I had a “must read” book for people with diabetes, their caregivers, and medical professionals with interest in the diabetic foot health. But how to let them know the book was available on my website and Amazon? The task was challenging and what I learned from marketing my book can be easily applied to marketing any Podiatric Medical practice.
Since I did not have the capital to hire a PR/marketing person I decided I would have to make this happen by myself. I narrowed my options to print media, radio and TV media interviews, speaking opportunities and social media. Print options were costly and I had already invested much more money in writing and publishing the book that I had anticipated, so that option was out. Radio and TV interviews had strong potential but I had no contacts in the media and did not have the time to cold call them. Speaking opportunities to various clubs and organizations were available and I took every opportunity that presented itself to meet groups of people and discuss foot health issues with an emphasis on the diabetic foot. But there were not enough opportunities for speaking to make this realistic.
I decided that Social Media would be the way to go, as I could control the timing and content of my message and reach many people economically. I created a website (www.dr-mark.net) and wrote blogs on subjects germane to diabetes, foot health and areas of interest to me personally and placed them on my website, Facebook and LinkedIn.
There is a real art to promotion. It’s a peculiar activity and takes some time to get it right. Not every blog I wrote was a hit. Some were dismal and not many folks visited them and some were right on and had hundreds of hits. One blog I wrote had over 2000 hits! I shared my vision on diabetic foot health with others and when they understood why I was promoting the book to benefit others they agreed with me they became ambassadors of my work to others.
What I Learned
- I needed to establish my brand and that was Dr. Mark. I had a logo and used it on all of my communications.
- I learned to let the public know who I am, what I thought and that I cared about my patients…and I did this through the blogs and articles that I wrote.
- I learned that the most potent way to keep people interested in what I had to share was by storytelling. And via this method I was able to show potential customers my vision of foot health. I shared how I evaluated and managed my patients and the great success I had with them.
- I learned it was important to share with potential patients how their lives will change for the better by using my services.
- I learned to make an emotional connection with my readers. I let them know I am human and told them how you felt about the issues affecting the foot health of people with diabetes and showed the human side of my work.
- I learned to speak and write in the lowest common denominator without being insultingly simple or too abstract.
- I learned to be consistent, I was sure to write something, even something short, to keep my name and message in front of my market.
Promotion can be a black hole but with some preparation and a plan success will come your way.
Dr. Mark Hinkes, DPM, is one of America’s leading authorities on diabetic foot health, foot care, and amputation prevention.
He has been practicing Podiatric Medicine and Surgery since 1976. He has been the Chief of the Podiatry Service and Director of Podiatric Medical Education for the Veterans Affairs Medical Centers in Nashville and Murfreesboro, Tennessee, part of the Tennessee Valley Healthcare System. He was Chairman of the Preservation Amputation Care and Treatment (PACT) Program for more than a decade.
He is Board Certified by the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery and the American Professional Wound Care Association and is a Diplomat of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. He is also a consultant for several medical device companies and travels nationally and internationally as a speaker.
Dr. Hinkes is the author of Keep the Legs You Stand On, and Healthy Feet for People with Diabetes. For more details on Dr. Hinkes’ education, experience, background and credentials please visit www.dr-mark.net.
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