How Doctors Can Connect With the Media

AUGUST 15, 2018
Heidi Moawad, MD
media interview doctorMany doctors consider interviews to be free marketing tools for referrals or opportunities to raise public awareness about health issues. Often, doctors would like their research publications to be publicized, and do not know where to begin. If you want to have more interview opportunities, there are a few methods you can use to get on the radar of reporters who are looking for medical expert opinions. 

Directly Contact Reporters 

When you see stories about subjects that are similar to the topics you would like to be interviewed about, reach out to the writer and mention that you would like to share your insight, or even consider suggesting a topic that you think could be of interest to the author’s and publication’s audience. There is a chance that the reporter will keep your information on hand if a story comes up, and there is even a chance that the publication would run a story about your topic. 

Your Specialty Society 

Connect with one or more of your medical specialty societies or associations and make your interest in talking to the media known. Often, media representatives maintain contact with specialty societies, and when it comes time to get professional medical input for a story, reporters will reach out to communications directors from specialty societies to ask for physician contacts who could provide practical explanations about hard-to-understand medical topics.

Related: How Doctors Can Benefit From Media Interviews

Your Hospital 

Connect with your hospital media office. Building a relationship with your hospital’s media center can help make you a go-to person for your hospital when they need doctors to speak with reporters. Overall, it is likely that there is only a small group of physicians who are available for interviews because this is typically not compensated. So if you want to raise your media profile, you are likely to be on a short list of doctors who want to do so. 

Your Brand

Consider building a social media presence in your area of interest. While it is true that social media is crowded, there is room for more physicians. Think about your medical niche and decide if you want to share and posting information on Twitter, LinkedIn Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram or other media platforms. Sometimes, doctors try several channels and end up getting an audience or a following on just one or two. This is fine, as it takes a great deal of work to build a presence on even one outlet. When you do begin posting, do not spam for followers - think longevity rather than click bait and keep your posts in line with your professionalism. While it may seem nice to appear as an approachable or even a fun doctor, trying too hard is not likely to build a following if you are a physician- and it can get you in trouble if patients or peers see your posts as less than professionally suitable. 

Connect With Others 

If you use social media, be sure to connect with others who have the same professional interests that you have. Do not consider these peers as competitors or as people who will take opportunities away from you. If they are more qualified than you are- they will win those opportunities anyways, whether you connect with them or not. But, when you connect with colleagues in your area of interest, you will increase your chances of learning about more opportunities and of being tapped for opportunities like media interviews. 

Be Available

Keep in mind that interview requests will come up at unpredictable intervals. For example, if you are an infectious disease specialist, you might get approached to provide your professional opinion when there is an outbreak of a new infection. Or if you are an orthopedic surgeon, interviews may come up when a well-known athlete becomes injured. Often, the reporters who contact you will have tight deadlines, so if you can spare a few minutes in your day to respond sooner rather than later, you are more likely to be quoted. If you can’t, it is unlikely that a reporter can wait for you- unless you are truly the leading national authority on the topic.

Media has always been influential. If you want to raise your visibility as an authority in your field, media interviews are among the most powerful ways to do so. In general, doctors who are well connected in the media world did not achieve that status accidentally. It takes deliberate work and planning for a physician to become sought after for medical opinions by the media.

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