Archive for the ‘Public Relations’ category

Communicating in 2010

January 11th, 2010

This blog post is dedicated to “getting the word out” about your Healing Hospitals. So, let’s start at the beginning.  Actually, let’s start at my beginning.

In 1969, business communication consisted largely of yellow legal tablets, Bic pens, daily reminder calendars, newsletters that were pasted-up by hand, then run off on the mimeograph or ditto machine, and an occasional public meeting for the employees.

I remember one hospital whose philosophy was “We’re the biggest and the best, and if you don’t come here, you’re stupid and will probably die.”  Their CEO was totally against press releases, advertising, or public outreach of any kind. He would say, “If they don’t know us well enough from our work, we need to do better work.”

News coverage was pretty simple at that time, too.  You sent your news release to the local paper(s), local radio, and, if available, local television stations.  Grand slam home runs in communications in that era would consist of a story that hit the wires or made either the New York Times or Wall Street Journal. Not unlike scenes from Ozzie and Harriet or Leave it to Beaver, things were formal and “normal.”

The interesting thing about today’s world, is that just the description of  “how to communicate” from a business perspective would take thousands of words.  Without beating all of those digital horses to death, we now have hundreds of television cable choices, Satellite radio, dozens of specialty publications, 24 hour/real-time web-based everything, and so much spin that even the late S.I. Hiyakawa would be flabbergasted.

So, the question becomes, “What’s the ticket?”  “How do we get the word out about our work, our facility, our philosophy?”  To that end, it is important to understand that the entire vision of healing hospitals is a wholesome, caring, loving, nurturing philosophy that is profoundly newsworthy. How do you capture the hearts and minds of current patients, their families, their neighbors, and their neighbor’s neighbors?   Interestingly enough, the first approach and my initial recommendation is education for your employees.

Many employees have not yet made the connection between this type of unique care and publicity.  Obviously, not unlike the old CEO quoted above, it is the power of “word of mouth” that can carry the day locally, but –not unlike my last CEO experience, if there is not enough population to produce growth, then you need to reach beyond the local geographic boarders. By doing so, we tripled in size over a decade of population decline.

There is an old saying that “anyone who is 50 miles from home can become an expert.” For the most part, most people are not aware of your quality care, your commitment to humankind, your nurturing attitude even 30 miles away.  Consequently, media is the key.  What I have found is that national media can bring a halo of credibility to an organization that years of local media could never bring.  Unfortunately, unless you have done something wrong or a meteor drops onto your grounds, national media is not that easy to attract.

We were fortunate in that we had the Wall Street Journal, USA Today (four times), the New York Times, the Today Show, the Philadelphia Inquirer, Oncology International, Forbes, Fortune, and several stories in Reuters releases and at least three placed with the Associated Press that were picked up internationally.  How did we do it you might ask?  We often times did it by linking local stories to national topics. It takes creativity, persistence, and a strong desire.

You need to do news releases to just about everyone. Pick topics that are timely, informative, and have a unique angle, and then work at it constantly.  The other way that we promoted our organizations was through social media and Web 2.0.   My original blog, Nick’s Blog at the time – started in 2005, now HealingHospitals.com (i.e., this blog), was the first hospital CEO blog in the world, and that brought a tremendous amount of new traffic to our organization.  We also became active on You Tube, Twitter, and Facebook long before many others in (and outside) the healthcare community accepted these phenomena.

Bottom line?  It can be done cost-effectively with great success, and we’re here to help.

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NickJacobs.org???

April 2nd, 2009

Let me open this blog with a little housekeeping chore. Because I’ve retired from being a hospital president (Yes, they replaced me with two great people, count ‘em, two.) , I’d like to change the name of this thing. It’s not that I’ve established a P-Diddy-type Twitter following where 100,000 human beings are waiting with baited breath to see what my next move will be, it just doesn’t seem right to keep calling myself a hospital president. We know who reads this thing, and we are grateful to our loyal, talented, and brilliant followers. We also know that we can link the old blog names to get you here. So, regardless of what you typed, or what gets Googled, our genius social media maven & webmaster, Michael Russell, can help to bring you home to this site.

Okay, so as a transformational advisor, a broker of sorts, most people with whom we have consulted have described me as a person who can fix things that are broken before they actually break. Maybe we should call it the “Break it if it’s not already fixed” blog. I’d love it if it was a name that would generate millions of hits and companies would fight to advertise on it.

My first thought was to use nickjacobs in the title because there is a Nick Jacobs on Facebook who teaches Aboriginal people in Australia, and he seems popular. There is another Nick Jacobs who is a professional organist, and one who is an athlete. There’s a Nick Jacobs who is a consultant and another a paramedic in London, one who had a blog who is a yachtsman, there’s my son, the commercial real estate broker, and finally, there’s a Nick Jacobs who does pornographic movies who is not my son. Actually, that Nick Jacobs’ followers would probably be the most disappointed by this blog.

Since the .com version of nick jacobs was already taken by some guy in England, we captured nickjacobs.org, and that will work for right now.

If you have any ideas, however, that you think would really rock the blogspere, let us know and we’ll check with our domain registrar to see if it is available. In fact, if you are the winner of a Name Nick’s Blog Contest, I’d be happy to consult for free BY PHONE for at least one hour of brainstorming with you about the topic of your choice: music, healthcare, proteomics, teaching, PR/Marketing, the travel business, or even physician recruitment.

Remember, Hospital Impact is already taken, and, because my last three consulting jobs have been with a newspaper, a nonprofit arts oragnization, and a chain of hotels, we don’t want to think too restrictively. Gotta earn a little money, too.

When we ran the breast center, we found that the website got more hits than anyone could imagine. The problem was that the readers were mostly thirteen-year-old boys who probably weren’t too interested in running a hospital. After Miss America had visited us, the hits went up exponentially when those two searches were combined. Somehow, I don’t think that Nick Jacobs’ Breast Center for Miss America would probably get me the type of following I’m currently hoping to attract. On the other hand?

A very good friend recently asked me to write a brief bio about what my new life is like, and it struck me that it is very much like my old life but without any restrictions. This is what I wrote:

While teaching junior high school instrumental music in the early 1970’s, Nick Jacobs made an extraordinary discovery. He learned that, by empowering his students and surrounding them with positive influences, he no longer was providing a service or even an experience for them.

What this entirely unique teaching style resulted in was a method for helping to transform students. By providing with both passion and commitment the tools needed by them to undertake their journey, his involvement with the students became a means of dramatically helping them to make whatever positive life changes they were seeking.

It was during that early period in his career that he also discovered that this formula could work to positively change lives in almost any aspect of living as he ran an arts organization, a convention bureau, and finally a hospital and research institute.

Since that time he has dedicated his personal work to helping others make their lives better, and that is exactly what he is doing in his position as an international executive consultant with SunStone Consulting, LLC.

Maybe that will give you something to chew on? Okay, something on which to chew.

SunStone Consulting. With more than 20 years experience in executive hospital leadership, Nick has an acknowledged reputation for innovation and patient-centered care approaches to health and healing.

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