Want to raise your practice profile and build your brand? Find out how to get your event on the news or be interviewed on TV as an expert!

This week, on the Dr. Marketing Tips podcast, Jennifer sits down with former reporter, news anchor, and long-time public relations professional Keith Landry to discuss how doctors and medical groups can leverage their expertise and take advantage of PR opportunities in the media.

Check out the full interview with Jennifer in this extended episode. If you have a question not addressed here, DM us on Twitter @drmarketingtips, and we’ll do our best to get it answered for you.

Tune in to discover: 

  • Why medical practices are still relevant in the media for both news agencies and viewers
  • The ideal times to get news coverage for your special event
  • The types of medical stories of most interest to news agencies
  • The intersection between public relations, social media, and the news
  • Dos and don’ts when conducting media interviews
  • Advice for hiring a PR consultant

About Keith Landry

Keith LandryKeith Landry worked as a TV News Anchor and Reporter for 26 years in six different states. He also worked as a local TV community affairs show host and producer for almost a decade. He was on the receiving end of public relations pitches for nine years.

​Mr. Landry has worked as a public relations consultant since 2010, gaining news media coverage for a variety of health experts, companies, and non-profit groups. He is President of Health News Here, a public relations and media firm geared toward placing clients in news media interviews amid a rapidly changing media landscape across America.

Mr. Landry has helped many non-profit groups by publicizing and hosting their charity events. He has promoted CFHLA events and hosted their annual Golden Pineapple Awards dinner for the last nine years. Also, he has hosted the MADD Law Enforcement Awards event for the previous nine years. Mr. Landry has served on the American Cancer Society Florida Division Board and the American Cancer Society Orlando Unit Board.

Free Healthcare Awareness 2024 Calendar

Nearly every month of the year has a health holiday or observance, and there are also a number of awareness months that your patients and staff would love to know about. You also don’t want to miss chances to celebrate with your practice’s followers.

Free Healthcare Awareness 2023 Calendar

Nearly every month of the year has a health holiday or observance, and there are also a number of awareness months that your patients and staff would love to know about. You also don’t want to miss chances to celebrate with your practice’s followers.

Transcript Notes

Speaker 1: Dr. Marketing Tips, paging Dr. Marketing Tips, Dr. Marketing Tips you’re needed in the marketing department.

Speaker 2: Welcome to the Dr. Marketing Tips Podcast, your prescription to the answers you seek to grow your medical practice easier, better and faster. This show is all about connecting practice administrators and medical marketing professionals with peers working in practices, learning from experiences, making mistakes and sharing successes. Let’s get started.

Jennifer: Hey there. Welcome to the Dr. Marketing Tips Podcast. This is one of your cohost Jennifer, and today I am joined by Keith Landry. Keith is a long time public relations news professional that I’ve had the pleasure of working with over the years. So Keith, thank you so much for joining us today.

Keith Landry: Hey Jennifer want to say a quick hello to you and the team at Insight Marketing and you guys do great job doing all the marketing for various medical practices and individual doctors and independent doctors, so it’s great to see what a nice job you’re doing in terms of them getting their message out.

Jennifer: Yeah, we try. We do our best sometimes some days are better than other days, but certainly we do our best. So Keith, why don’t you just give our listeners a little bit of background of kind of where you come from and how we’ve gotten to work together over the years.

Keith Landry: Sure. Sounds good. I looked in the mirror the other day and I saw the gray hairs creeping in on the sideburns. So I guess I’ve been around a little while now. I spent 25 years as a news anchor and 26 years as a news reporter. And I’ve been very, very blessed to see the whole country from when I was a young guy. I worked in Illinois, in Oklahoma. I worked in Idaho and South Carolina and Michigan as a reporter and news anchor. And finally the last 14 years of my career I spent in Orlando, Florida, which is just a fantastic place to work and live and so many different news stories going on. Eventually I made the transition from news anchor, news reporter to public relations, which is honestly, that’s what most anchors and reporters do when they feel like it’s finally time to get out of news.

Jennifer: You were in the news side of things. Can you, I think it’s valuable, walk our listeners through a typical day in the life of a news reporter? Because I’m not sure that we all understand it from our side of how busy you guys are and how few resources that you’ve got these days.

Keith Landry: Yeah, those are great questions. First of all, I would say that depends on the shift you’re working. If you’re doing the morning show, if you’re the reporter who’s live for that 6:00 and 7:00 and 8:00 AM news cast, you come in at 2:00 in the morning, you a brief visit with your team and then you’re out, and sometimes you’ll go to a couple of different breaking news stories, so it’s sort of chaotic. And then if you are in the middle shift, the one that’s doing the 5:00 and 6:00 PM news, you have a better idea of what you’re likely to be covering. It might be a government meeting, it might be an update on a story from overnight. And then that night side crew, those are the ones that are going to sort of… they’re going to maybe go to a government meeting, but if there’s breaking news, they’re peeling out of that meeting.

Keith Landry: The thing I would say about reporters and anchors, I sort of refer to them as information Marines, because there’s many times where they’ll roll up on a breaking news story and they’ve got to be on the air 12 minutes from the time they roll up and the videographer setting up the microwave truck and all that, while the reporters getting a few facts and figuring out what they’re going to say in a very short time. It’s a fantastic job in terms of it’s different every day and sometimes it’s different two or three times within a day. So if you love a job where you could never get bored, that would be it.

Keith Landry: But you mentioned the great thing about limited resources and I think that’s really the thing that doctors and medical groups who are looking for news coverage need to be aware of. I believe that if they’re going to try to do a news story or hold an event that they’re going to try to get covered, the best time to do that is during the week in the 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM window, because that’s when the news organizations have the most news crews and reporters available to cover them. On the weekends now these news departments are really running on a skeleton crew to an extent that I think most people would be pretty surprised to learn. We’re talking like some of the newspapers, one reporter there to respond to breaking news on the weekend. News crews, they may have one day side crew and one night side crew, so they’re going to be focused mostly on breaking news, so you’ve got to have a really compelling story to get into that news cycle.

Keith Landry: That’s why I recommend, Jennifer, and I tell all my PR clients if you’re going to plan something and want to get on the news, I strongly suggest you do it during the week from 10:00 to 2:00 so you’re not getting bumped out by their deadlines and the fact that now they’ve already shot their stories and now they’re in editing mode and feeding mode.

Keith Landry: Part of the art of doing public relations is knowing the specific details of what these news agencies want, when to call, what’s a good pitch, when to have the event be. What are the looking for? So those are some of the things, but Jennifer, we should talk a little bit more during this half hour about these limited resources that they now have, because that’s a really important backdrop for what public relations groups are trying to do for their clients now.

Jennifer: Yeah, absolutely. And case in point, we’re working together with a particular large orthopedic practice and we had great success this month with getting a story covered for them during the week, during the timeframe you’re talking about. And then we had promises from them regarding some coverage over the weekend that just may or may not have materialized, because they had… their resource were so thin.

Jennifer: So Keith, were you part of the news cycle when the reporters were starting to have to kind of balance between your on air talent and your responsibilities in the field and then how social media has changed that cycle? Where you part of that? And what can you tell our listeners?

Keith Landry: I was. I was and that was interesting, because I was at the beginning of that cycle. I did a thing on my cell phone where I would go to breaking news stories and videotape updates and I’d call them News Now. And this was back in I think 2014 and 15, and it’s shocking to me now that this was cutting edge at the time. I was one of the first reporters in Central Florida to go to breaking news stories and tape something and then post it on my social media. At the time, live streaming wasn’t quite up to speed yet, Facebook Live wasn’t there yet. But yeah, we were sort of at the cutting edge of the social media at the beginning of it.

Keith Landry: And it got really interesting because as a 26 year reporter and anchor the last couple years that I was in the industry, there was a lot of pressure to the point that in our newsroom they put up basically a scorecard, a week to week scorecard, on who was doing a great job on social media and who wasn’t. And that’s scorecard was posted on a whiteboard for all of us to see. They were purposely stoking the competition in the social media part of what we did, because they realized that the audience was moving more and more to that. And today the cell phone is the thing. I believe you can get most of your news on the cell phone through social media and apps to the point where you might not need the news as much.

Jennifer: No, absolutely. And we hear that, especially with the younger folks out there. So is there more credence given to stories that get strong social media play? For example, if I have a client who has a large social media following and that story that runs on the news gets replayed over and over, does that give us a leg up next time we go and pitch them?

Keith Landry: I think it does because the agencies, the news agencies are keenly focused now on social media. They know they’ve got to do both. The Sentinel has to print the newspaper and do its app and its website, and they tailor content for both sides. They’re tailoring content for the printed newspaper and they’re also very cognizant through the push notifications they’re sending on your phone to get you to go to the app or the website. So yeah, social media, you just can’t ignore it. Longterm, digital media will surpass traditional media advertising. And so that’s where they’re going to have to focus. And that’s sort of part of the reason why we’ve seen this shrinking and downsizing of newsrooms, sort of the older folks who made a bunch of money, maybe got scaled down a little bit to keep the cost down. It’s happening all across the country.

Jennifer: Absolutely. Let’s switch gears a little bit. Why don’t you share how you got into the PR side of things, specifically how you got into the healthcare side of the PR stuff?

Keith Landry: Sure. I started doing public relations consulting about 10 years ago and I started with nonprofit groups, because it was sort of a good way to just get them some coverage and help them out and make just a little bit of money on the side. As the news industry has changed and the news department managers are feeling more focused to stick with breaking news and do what they know works and they’re maybe a little hesitant to go out on the limb and cover some of the public relations pitches that aren’t breaking news. What I have seen through the years is that somebody who wants to help my clients get news coverage.

Keith Landry: Public relations for doctors and medical groups is still a very relevant area for both the news agencies and the viewers. I have a client now who is a pediatrician and I am able to get her on the news in Central Florida quite a bit, because the news managers know that parents will do anything to get information to take care of their children. And so this is seen as relevant. And so in a world where a lot of times the news is focused on a shooting or the crazy news and things like that, that we’re going to see, we know that we can still get doctors and medical groups on TV, because they have relevant information that people care about.

Keith Landry: I have a company called Health News Here and the website’s healthnewshere.com, and that sort of explains why we focus on the medical sector. But people, of course, are so much more aware of their health and medical advances, and there’s a real appetite out there on the news, be it printed digital or traditional radio or TV. People want health information. They want to know about nutrition. They want to know more about the best treatments. They want to know about prevention and exercise and aging and there’s a real market out there for this stuff. So for your listeners of this podcast, they’re in the right spot in terms of trying to get public relations. This is an area where the news will still cover on a regular basis.

Jennifer: Do you have any advice on what kind of stories that a physician’s practice might be able to go after? What the news media would find more appealing versus other things? For example, we had some great interest in an opioid story that we’re trying to get placed this week, but no interest really in a new scholarship that we’re offering to students. What type of stories might a practice be able to get out there?

Keith Landry: The thing you have to remember if you’re trying to get that news coverage from a news agency is that they get hundreds of pitches every week and they’re just screening through them and they’re going to take a quick look and then boom, it’s gone. And you’re in the delete file. So the pitch has to be interesting to them. It has to be unique and it has to have some real characters in it. I think the best advice I could give if you’re trying to get public relations on your story is to have some real characters in there. Real characters, in the case of the opioid crisis, a doctor who treats these sports medicine patients and actually prescribes these opioids on a regular basis and can give real life insights into what’s going on in our community. The opioid crisis is a serious concern around the country, but we want real characters. We don’t want to just a bunch of… we really want to focus on characters I think is the way to get through that layer of screening when they look at the pitches.

Keith Landry: The other part about it, Jennifer’s to make it convenient for the news agency to sort of have it all lined up for them so they don’t have to do a lot of homework. They just have to go there, do the interviews, get some video, and go on to their next thing, because as we mentioned earlier, they are stretched thinly and they’re trying to get to as much news as they can. So if you can make it convenient for them to tell a story that they think’s important to our community, that’s a win-win. It’s more likely to actually get on TV or the radio or print.

Corey: Hey guys, Corey here, cohost of the Dr. Marketing Tips Podcast, and I wanted to interrupt this episode just for a minute to tell you about Insight Training Solutions. So Insight Training Solutions is an ongoing employee engagement and training platform for your medical practice, meaning employees can log on and take these medical practice specific trainings whenever and wherever they are. And each training is meant to employee engagement, improve practice reputation, and develop some patient service mindsets. If we’re being honest, something that we all know some of the employees may lack, not calling anybody out by name.

Corey: But one of the cool things about Insight Training Solutions is they’re always developing new content and they just released 10 Steps to a Phenomenal Patient Experience where you’ll learn how to create a phenomenal patient experience, strengthened job security and discover customer service secrets for your entire team. So this course is in addition to the other ones they already have, which include Communication Across Generations and How to Understand Today’s Multigenerational Workforce and How to Develop Overall Patient Experience. This is another course, The New Approach to Customer Service. We’ve also got 8 Ways to Wow Patients and you can sign up for a free trial to see what everything is about at insighttrainingsolutions.io. That’s insighttrainingsolutions.io or just Google Insight Training Solutions. You’ll be glad you did.

Jennifer: Yeah. It’s interesting that you say convenience, because I had a group of docs last week who we were trying to get them in front of the camera and I had one of the docs say, “Well they’re going to have to work around our schedule.” And basically I said, “I’m not sure that that’s going to work.” And I had to go find another physician that was willing to go on camera just because it’s hard to explain to the surgeon and I get it, their schedules are so busy, but to be able to explain to them that we’ve got to work around this cameraman who may or may not be able to get here at 11:00.

Jennifer: With all those years in the field, what were some of the, as a reporter, covering these fluffy stories especially, what were some of your biggest pet peeves when you had somebody getting ready to go on camera, something that maybe our listeners could avoid if they are getting ready to go on camera?

Keith Landry: I think the biggest pet peeve was when the people we were interviewing, that group as a whole, there was sort of a maybe a public relations person or an elected official, whatever it was, there was trying to over coordinate the story and not just let us do our jobs. I mean as somebody who had been in that industry for 25, 26 years, I knew how to do an interview and I knew what I needed in my story.

Keith Landry: Sometimes I think the advice I would give on that is to have the firm or the medical practice or the doctor’s office, not try to get three or four people on TV, because that just becomes cumbersome and sort of slows down the news crew from getting what they need to get. So one or two people who are experts on their subject matter and speak in a way that’s interesting, sort of are a character for the story. One or two is enough. And my pet peeve was always when they tried to slide the third and fourth person in there and just sort of bog me down a little bit, if that makes sense.

Jennifer: Did you have experiences where the handler would try to shape the story versus you being able to shape the story?

Keith Landry: Yeah, that happened on a regular basis and I was usually pretty diplomatic about trying to accommodate some of that on the spot while we’re up shooting the story. But in the end, really… here’s the thing that your listeners need to remember was as a reporter, after I write the story, it goes to a manager who approves it and a lot of times they’ll change a sentence or some of the language to just sort of meet what that newscast wanted. So sometimes the people that we were doing the story on weren’t happy with what they finally saw on TV, but that was over my head. I gathered the facts and analyzed it and wrote it in a clear, concise way to try to present something in a minute 30 that people can understand and take something away from. But then there were other folks involved in the food chain before that actually got on TV. So that’s an interesting element. Sometimes what ends up on television or in print or on the radio isn’t what the client thought it was going to be. And that happens quite a bit, I would say.

Jennifer: Yeah, I would say so. I’ve been on the news many times where I thought it was going one direction and it goes a completely different way. Having been on the news plenty of times, I’ll watch it and I’ll say, “I wish I had done this or I wish I had done that.” More often than not, I will say that I wish that I was standing and not sitting and that when I’m sitting, I always wished in retrospect that I was sitting up very straight and I wasn’t leaning back in the chair. And then I’ve often said to myself, “Jen, you have to smile more even if the camera’s not on you because they always seem to catch you with a frown.” What tips do you have for, especially for physicians, if they were going to be going on camera, do you have any tips for them to have the best shoot possible?

Keith Landry: Here’s what I would say. I would say if you’re going to be on camera, in this case a doctor or somebody representing a medical group, you want to remember that you don’t want to have a long interview. You don’t want to do a 10, 15 minute interview, because it’s only going to use a couple of clips. I would say go into the interview having practiced three talking points. You want to focus on the main three points you want to make and you want to actually practice them so your answers are 10 to 15 seconds so that when they’re looking through the videotape to select the clips they’re going to use, you are a soundbite machine. You are the soundbite meister and they’re likely to invite you to do it again later.

Keith Landry: So three talking points that you’ve rehearsed ahead of time, 10 to 15 seconds each. Try to get at least two of them into that interview as early on as you can, because remember sometimes the news crew that taped the interview is going to hand it off and it’s actually going to be someone else who selects the clips. The system isn’t as efficient as you might expect it to be. So really these three main talking points, getting those done.

Keith Landry: I’ll give you another tip. If the reporter asks you something you really don’t want to talk about, it’s sort of a tough question, you might sort of acknowledge the question, deflect it back at the reporter and then redirect and go right back to the talking points you wanted to focus on. Now that’s an art and that’s somewhere where a public relations consultant can help coach someone who’s going to do an interview to practice that ahead of time. But the people who are great at being interviewed, have that skill. Uh-oh, here comes a tough question. I don’t really want to deal with this one, but I’m going to pleasantly, calmly acknowledge it, almost sort of agree with part of it and then go about my way answering what I want to answer. So really the three talking point will I think is the key for success.

Jennifer: Yeah. When I was in office, we used to practice the art of deflection a lot. And then I got to the point I just didn’t even want to have to get on camera at one point, but we practiced the art of deflection a lot going into it.

Jennifer: For any medical practice out there that’s interested in getting started in PR versus purchasing media, because purchasing media is so expensive, what kind of advice do you have to them for the one, two, threes, easy peasy getting started and kind of what they can expect with making a public relations push?

Keith Landry: It’s a great question and I think that there is a difference between paying for an advertisement and being on the news. Because when you’re on the news, you’re seen as an expert. The fact that they selected you to be on the news to be a source of information for the viewing public or the listening public or the readers says something about your credibility and your qualifications to be there. I think that that’s important. I think it’s important to note that when you are selected to be on the news, you become an authority. And I have clients that over the last year we’ve been able to get them on the news on a regular basis. And so now they’re widely seen by the general public as an expert to turn to. And honestly, I don’t know how you put a dollar value on that, what that means to be in that position after several months.

Keith Landry: Jennifer, the other thing I would tell people that are looking to get public relations is that it takes time. You’re not going to hire somebody for two months and expect to be the big expert within two months. It takes time. Some of the pitches go through, some of them don’t. Occasionally, you’ll actually get a pitch that where the whole thing works and they come and they shoot it and they do the story, and then breaking news comes up and it just dies on the editor’s floor. So it’s a process. Some of the pitches they’re going to love and they’re going to do right away. There’s going to be some pitches you thought were fantastic that they just didn’t care about or that maybe they liked it, but there were four other things they had to get to that day, so it does take time. I think a realistic measurement for decent progress when you’re working with a public relations consultant is four to six months to get the results [crosstalk 00:24:29].

Jennifer: I think four to six months is a realistic number. For anybody out there looking to hire a PR consultant, do you have any advice for what they should be on the lookout for?

Keith Landry: Yes. I think that nobody can do public relations better than someone who was a former journalist. And if you took the public relations classes in college and then your public relations person, okay, that’s good, but if you hire somebody who hosted a public affairs show for nine years and got pitches every week for nine years, like I did, or worked in news for 26 years and knew what the pitch should look like, what the headline should look like, how short it should be, exactly what they’re looking for, when to send it, when it’s most likely to be covered because of the dynamics of their ability to get to the story, I suggest you hire somebody who has actually been in the media, because they see both sides of the equation there and they just know it. They’re not trying to figure it out. They actually lived it for years.

Jennifer: How important are having the local contacts versus being able to take, for example, taking you into a different market? Is that still valuable or do you need somebody that specifically has contacts in a local market?

Keith Landry: I think both of those are true. I think in Central Florida it’s fantastic when the client can get on a couple of times and start to build a relationship with the anchors or the producers or they’ve spoken a couple of times with the assignment editors. My clients are now go to people for the agencies. They’ve got their cell phone numbers, they have a relationship. And if you were a news agency and you need somebody on short notice, you’re going to call first the person who has come in a few times, who always says yes and who does a good job.

Keith Landry: In terms of working in other markets. I think from a public relations perspective of the person doing that work A, they have to have a list of the contacts in that market, but have to be committed to updating them regularly. We’ve done news pitches successfully for clients in many other markets, Tampa, Jacksonville, Miami, national, markets out west. The key there in terms of creating value for the client in markets that aren’t their own market is that the person doing the public relations work has to be committed to working the pitch. They have to build the clients. They have to call these news agencies and find out who is the best person to pitch this to. When is the best time? When is that person working? Do you have a report who specifically covers this beat?

Keith Landry: It is more challenging to get coverage in markets outside your own, but the person has to know what questions to ask and they have to be willing to do that grunt work to sort of establish the framework of how they’re going to get those pitches sent to the right people, Jennifer.

Jennifer: Yeah, I think you hit the nail on the head because it all boils down to whether or not you’re willing to roll up your sleeves and do the actual work. And if you find somebody that’s willing to do the work, then ultimately because it is kind of a long game, then you’ll be successful. Keith, is there anything that I didn’t bring up that you want to bring up for our listeners?

Keith Landry: I just thought of one more thing. It’s not enough to have a strategy meeting, decide what you’re going to pitch, have the public relations person write it, have the client approve it and send it out. When the public relations person sends it out, in my case, I make a point to call each one of those news agencies to make sure they saw the news release, because they’re totally stretched all over the place. They’ve got the phone ringing. They’ve got managers yelling at them. You can send a news release to them, but so did it 50 other people. You have to take the time to make sure that you’re calling them to tell them what time you sent it out, what the headline’s going to say, what this is about, why their agency should care about it and how convenient you can make it for them to do the story. That’d be that last little tip. Somebody who sends out news releases but doesn’t call them to make sure they saw it is sort of just leaving it on the table without really taking that last step that can create success.

Jennifer: That is great advice and I think that’s a great place to end the podcast. So Keith, I want to say thank you so much for joining us today on the Dr. Marketing Tips Podcast and if somebody wants to reach out to you, how’s the best way to reach out?

Keith Landry: I think they can just go to healthnewshere.com and we’ve got contact information on there. Jen, this was a lot of fun. I appreciate what you do to get advice and great information out to the public and I wish you the very best with the podcast in the future.

Jennifer: Thanks so much, Keith. I really appreciate it and for everyone listening, thanks for joining and we’ll see you next time on the Dr. Marketing Tips Podcast. Thank you.

Speaker 2: Thanks for listening to the DrMarketingTips.com Podcast. If there’s anything from today’s show you want to learn more about, check out DrMarketingTips.com for our podcast resource center with all the notes, links, and goodies we mentioned during the show. If you’re not already a subscriber to our show, please consider pressing the subscribe button on your podcast player so you never miss one of our future episodes. And if you haven’t given us a rating or review yet on iTunes, please find a spare minute and help us reach and educate even more of our medical practice peers. Thanks again for listening and we’ll catch you next time. Doctor’s orders.

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