February 18, 2020
It’s that time of year again! You guessed it. It’s HIMSS time. HIMSS, otherwise known as the Healthcare Information Management Systems Society, is hosting its annual global health conference and exhibition in Orlando next month. The event brings together tens of thousands of health IT professionals, clinicians, executives, and market suppliers around the world – and consequently, healthcare media, who flock to learn more about the latest industry trends and innovations. As such, it’s always a highly prioritized event for the majority of our clients. HIMSS, or as we (and the rest of the industry) fondly refer to it, “HIMSSanity,” is considered one of the most prominent events across the entire healthcare industry.
For many PR professionals, the weeks leading up to HIMSS can seem like chaos. An exorbitant amount of time and effort goes into crafting pitches, distributing emails, making phone calls, and coordinating meetings. With so many elements to consider – such as client expectations and journalists’ limited availability – it’s easy to feel like you don’t know where to start. As a specialized healthcare PR firm that has been in the industry for more than 20 years, we have had a lot of time for trial and error, only to come out the other side with some seemingly obvious (yet surprisingly overlooked) tips to help get our fellow PR pros through this busy time of year.
- Know your contacts. This one seems like a given, but it might surprise you how often this is neglected. We get it, you have tons of clients and so little time, but knowing your client is only half the battle. The devil is in the details. If you don’t take the time to do your media research, you are asking to be ignored, or worse – be the recipient of a journalist’s (rightfully) snarky email. Take the time upfront to immerse yourself in media research. Learn about the journalists – who they are, what they cover, if they prefer end-users or case studies, the types of vendors they are interested in, etc. If you’re able to determine these details ahead of time, you’re much more likely to pique their interest on the back-end.
- Get to the point. Including every intimate detail about your client, their offerings, and show focus in your pitch may seem vital, but trust us, it’s not. Remember, these journalists are just as busy as you are heading into the show. Chances are they will file your email away (i.e. send it straight to the trash) if it looks dense and wordy. When crafting your pitch, try to consolidate the main takeaways into 2-3 short sentences or bullets. Additionally, skip the overly formal and canned language. Remember, there’s a person on the other end of your email and more than likely they’ve been around the block a time or two. They can see right through stuffy verbiage. Keep it short, sweet, simple, and most importantly, to the point.
- Be persistent. This doesn’t mean be annoying (though it’s a fine line to walk!). That said, just because a reporter has told you “no,” or that they have “limited availability,” doesn’t mean you have to accept that as their final answer. Get creative – does your client have an upcoming announcement you could leverage to regain their interest? You can also try offering a shorter time slot, suggest coming to meet them where it’s most convenient for them, or seeing if they would alternatively be interested in a pre- or post-show interview.
For more tips, be sure to check back in with our blog for future content as well as our Twitter @AriaMarketing to keep up with us as we prepare for the show. Good luck and happy HIMSSing!