Generating positive press coverage
Getting newspaper coverage canÂ be a great means of increasing your pharmacyâ€™s public profile and that of the pharmacy sector in general
There are plenty of opportunities to promote your business through the media. You may want to consider writing press releases or writing to the editor.
Supplying a press release or column to your local or regional paper is an effective way to get your pharmacy in the public eye.
An important point to bearÂ in mind is that newspapers and other media are more likelyÂ to publish a press release that provides a human interest story, for example, you and your team have helped a patient give up smoking or lose weight.
The old journalistic adage that â€˜news is newâ€™ applies and stories should be timely.Â Be on the ball and actively respond to current news stories, for example, last summer there were lots of press articles about sun cream being ineffective unless applied thickly; this is the perfect opportunity to provide correct information.
Try to promote pharmacyÂ in general. One such example could be to draw attention
to the fact that people with common ailments could see their local pharmacist instead of clogging up GP waiting rooms.
A few story ideas could include:
- Official opening of a new pharmacy
- Relocation or refit
- Anniversary e.g. 25 yearsÂ of service or other company â€˜landmarksâ€™
- Staff news â€“ training awards etc
- Sponsorship initiatives e.g. sponsoring a schoolâ€™s summer fete brochure or donating funds to a local cause
- New service launch events
- Taking part in local campaigns e.g. NPAâ€™s Ask Your Pharmacist Week
- The UK has hundreds of awareness days or weeks for conditions that pharmacies can use to promote services they provide
- Visit from a local dignitary â€“ MP, local councillor, mayor.
Writing a Press Release
The NPA has produced aÂ range of press release andÂ press column templates on a number of health topics and also provides recommendations, where suitable, on the best time of year to use a particular template. For more information, visit www.npa.co.uk/ information-and-Guidance/ health-check-press-release.
If you would like to write a press release yourself, here are a few tips that may help:
- Head it â€˜Press Releaseâ€™ or â€˜News Releaseâ€™ and put the date on the top
- Type â€˜Endâ€™ at the foot of the release
- Put your name, address and contact numbers (preferably for both day and evening) at the top or bottom of the press release
- Stick to one page of A4, if possible. If you have to go toÂ two pages, type â€˜moreâ€™ at the bottom of the first page
- This is not relevant if you email the release, but gives you a guide for length
- Do not send your release in an attachment to an email
- If you add a photograph, it must be sent as an attachment, preferably in jpg format, with a resolution of at least 300 dpi.
Letters to the editor
Letters to the editor are alsoÂ a good vehicle to consider. Because local papers love creating traction around an issue, with follow-ups to previous stories, responding quickly to local issues is an avenue you may wish to pursue.
The above is an edited extract from the â€˜Promoting Your Pharmacyâ€™ section of the NPAâ€™s Business Efficiency Solutions pack, which members can download at npa.co.uk/business-solutions