One of the tips I offer in my urgent care marketing video “How to Get Free Advertising” is to build good relationships with your local media by offering to be a local expert for any stories they might be doing on healthcare-related issues.Doing media interviews in which you offer your expert insights on a healthcare story, such as the importance of flu vaccinations, is great, unbiased exposure for your urgent care center. Not only will the local community start to view you as a healthcare expert, they will associate your urgent care center with expert healthcare providers. That kind of trust cannot be built through a TV or radio ad. Shawna Ziegler, a nurse at Park Plaza Urgent Care in Omaha, Nebraska, took time out of her busy schedule to do a timely, relevant media interview about the dangers of falling on ice. In this TV news segment, Ziegler talks about the kinds of injuries she’s seen at Park Plaza Urgent Care and provides her expert advice on what people should do if they slip and fall on ice. Her appearance on the news segment created public awareness of Park Plaza Urgent Care and showed the public that the staff at Park Plaza is knowledgeable and capable of handling this type of injury.

Dr. Douglas Blevins of Optimus Urgent Care in Greensboro, N.C., spoke to his local media about when it’s appropriate to visit an urgent care center versus a primary care doctor. The TV segment also included an interview with a patient at his urgent care center who spoke positively about her experiences at Optimus Urgent Care. This is a great testimonial for Dr. Blevins’ urgent care center because the patient offers her candid opinion to the reporter, not the urgent care’s marketing director. We’ve all seen marketing testimonials before, and we all know to take them with a grain of salt. The public will put far more trust in a testimonial provided through an unbiased media interview than a marketing video on your urgent care’s website.

You might think you don’t have time to do media interviews, and you’re partially right. You should certainly be selective of which interviews you agree to take. While you can’t control the angle the reporter takes with the story, you can at least ask the reporter what the story is about to attempt to ensure that the story won’t misrepresent you or your urgent care clinic. You don’t need to worry too much about this, as local news stations generally avoid conflict with local companies because they are part of your community and may want you to advertise with the station in the future. And remember: even if you turn an interview down, be polite and maintain that positive relationship with the reporter. If they are doing a story like the ones Ziegler and Blevins assisted with, you’ll want them to turn to you as a healthcare expert.