I don't get hundreds a day, rather a few a week, but sometimes I *really* wish PR agencies and startups with decent products and services would just refine their 'ask' a teensy bit. It takes so little time, and as many of my new Business Development friends know, I'm happy to give thoughts/suggestions and feedback usually for free.
So, Houston, I decided to use this as a lesson on how to pitch health/medical bloggers.
Here's my response, and your original email (and contact info). Readers: If you know Houston, let him know I gave him some coverage.
Thanks for contacting me.
Since I love hearing about new companies and sharing healthcare advances with Health Management Rx readers, as well as my wider tweetstream and colleagues from Nexthealth and Health 2.0, I'm going to take a few minutes to give you some suggestions on how to pitch healthcare bloggers.
This isn't altruism. Really. I'm going to use this as a blog entry. Unfortunately, you're the example. However, if you're the adept PR/Business Development person I hope you are (you had a pretty nice email, just not quite 100% there), you'll capitalize on it, take these suggestions to heart, and get back in touch.
If, that is, you read my blog. If not, you'll never see this as I'm responding via blog rather than email (tricky tricky).
1. Mention the blog. By name. I can't tell from your entry if you've ever read it (probably not, I'm not fooling myself with false modesty here, but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt). It's a simple matter to pull up the blog you're pitching, pick an entry at random, and quote the title (or a sentence for extra brownie points). Devious? Perhaps. But you'll have my attention. Extra extra brownie points for a 1 sentence overview on how that entry ties into something your company is working on.
2. Please bury, for all time, the phrase: "we thought it might interest you." You and I both have an audience. A purpose in our communiques. I write articles I think my readers might find of interest. I usually tell them why, or at least try to make that obvious (the old call to action is a personal favorite). If you think your article about the semantic differences and linguistic intricacies that convolute patients' abilities to discern differences between an EMR and an EHR (what should they request from their doc? which term should they plug into Google?) tell me so. Capitalize on the fact that I make no bones about hiding my consumer-centric, patient-directed orientation towards healthcare reform. You missed your chance with this generic opener.
3. Always tell me what my call to action is...why do you want physicians to read about this on Health Management Rx? If you did some homework on me as a blogger, you'd note not many docs read my blog. A few mavericks (hello Ted, Vijay, Theresa, Jay) yes, but mostly I chat with docs on Twitter. You'd have more success if you just asked me to tweet a link to your report.
4. Also, don't pitch me bro. Or at least do it a bit more gracefully. Acknowledge your goals flat out. I'm not your salesperson. If you want me to use blogspace to evangelize your product, you have to convince me why my readers might find it of interest, and you haven't done that yet. In fact, you don't demonstrate any understanding of who my readers are (good start - check out 'blogs that link here'). If you want docs to buy your software/consulting because you use the 'preferred' term for electronic health records (i.e. "helping physicians understand what role the acronym should have in their purchase"), I'd suggest you'll get better ROI by buying ad space on a blog that takes ad revenue. Mine doesn't. Again, this is very clearly stated in the lefthand frame of my blog, and accessible by spending 5 minutes perusing the site.
4. Give me your title. Yes, I hate titles. I have personal and professional difficulty limiting myself to one role. But if you're pitching me, and thus my network, and thus my readers, and THEIR readers, please be clear. Are you a PR person? A marketing rep? The CEO? These are all things that can help you sell the fact that Health Management Rx should cover your report (or not).
5. You asked: "Would you be willing to post a brief write-up about it? Please let me know what you think..." Houston, your wish is my command. Let's see if you follow up on that request. If so, you've got your coverage.
PS - You caught me on a Monday. This is a high blog traffic day, so instead of saving this, I'm putting it out there quickly. Capitalize on that placement, and may the force be with you my friend. I think you have great potential to improve your pitch, if you ever read this post.
Jen McCabe Gorman
Health Management Rx
Dutch Mobile: +31655585351
--- On Thu, 9/11/08, Houston Neal
From: Houston Neal
Subject: Question about your Health Management blog
Date: Thursday, September 11, 2008, 4:03 PMHi Jen,
I was reading your blog this afternoon and noticed you cover stories on medical technology. We recently wrote an article about the difference between an EHR and EMR, and we thought it might interest you.
As you may already know, earlier this year the NAHIT established definitions for EHR, EMR and PHR. Given their authority, and the Bush administration's plan to build an interoperable health IT infrastructure, EHR has become the standard phrase to describe an electronic patient chart. However, the majority of physicians are still searching for an EMR, and software vendors haven't renamed their products.
We wrote this article (http://www.softwareadvice.com/medical/ehr-vs-emr-whats-the-difference/) to explain the difference between the two systems and help physicians understand what role the acronym should have in their purchase. Would you be willing to post a brief write-up about it? Please let me know what you think.
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