What hospitals can learn from journalism’s troubles
by: Tim Strickland | posted August 9, 2012
Today in Chicago, members of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication are gathering to celebrate their 100th anniversary.
My, how the times have changed in the AEJMC’s lifetime. But journalism schools aren’t keeping up, apparently.
In this eye-opening blog post for The Poynter Institute, veteran newsman Howard Finberg describes how six major funding sources are sending a powerful message to the journalism schools they support: Get with the times, or else.
One need only examine the recent carnage in the journalism industry to see what can happen in any field that collectively doesn’t keep itself up to date. Irrelevancy is a sad, dark place.
So, it begs the question: In healthcare public relations and marketing, are we keeping ourselves up to date?
Well, yes. And no.
As I view the state of hospital communications, here are four areas where we’re making progress, but not quickly enough:
- It’s all about audience. Your public’s willingness to be force-fed your self-promoting content is at an all-time low. To stay up to date, make sure your content is directly relevant to your audience.
- The explosion of channels. I remember how cool I thought our family was back when we had 11 cable TV channels. Of course, these days, 1,100 channels isn’t far-fetched on cable or satellite. For healthcare marketers, it may seem hard to keep up with every new Pinterest or Google+. But if you ignore new communication channels, you do so at your own peril.
- The demise of traditional advertising. Again, self-promoting content doesn’t work the way it did in the past. If your marketing strategy doesn’t integrate traditional media with audience-oriented digital content, you’re behind the times.
- Interaction is here to stay. I’m surprised by the continuing debate about hospital digital media: Should we allow posts on our Facebook page? Should we respond to negative threads on the newspaper’s site? In a word: Yes. And make sure you keep it real.
Take a hard look at your hospital’s strategy for these four areas. Are you where you need to be? If not, here’s the chilling message: Get with the times, or else. Remember, irrelevancy is a sad, dark place. Don’t go there.