Top tips for pitching HIMSS18

Jan 05, 2018 Brittany Boyer

 

Ok, try not to let your jaw hit the floor too hard when I tell you this, but 2018 is here. We’re already wrapping up our Q1 planning meetings and, for anyone working in healthcare IT, that can only mean one thing. Tis the HIMSS season!

That’s right, the motherload of healthcare technology conferences is, once again, right around the corner and you better believe that PR pros around the country are already putting their heads together to ensure that this year is bigger and better than ever. Set at the beautiful Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas, the five day conference is already expecting more than 1,300 leading health information and technology vendors to grace the exhibit floor with their presence. In addition to demoing new products and attending key speaking sessions, these health IT companies will also compete for the undivided attention of reporters at the show.

Never one to procrastinate (yup, type-A personality at its finest), I decided to join HIMSS’ “Managing Media Relations at HIMSS18” webinar on December 5, which offered best practices and pitching tips from some of the industry’s top healthcare IT reporters. Here are the top three best tips that I took away from the webinar:

  1. PR 101: Ed cals are (still!) of interest - I know, I know…..that should be common sense, right? Well, with the stream and speed of news being what it is, it’s pretty easy to forget that a lot of publications actually still follow a calendar of pre-determined coverage topics for the upcoming calendar year. With HIMSS being in early March this year, consider pitching your media targets for an in-person conversation that can fuel one of their upcoming storylines later this summer. Not only will this help your pitch stand out from the masses, but you’re also more likely to get a piece of coverage coming out from the show than you would by offering reporters a traditional customer case study or new product announcement.
  2. Consider video - This year, a large percentage of healthcare IT outlets are also bringing a video crew to the show. HIMSS TV, for example, is a 14 person crew that will be there to capture as many show floor happenings as possible. HealthTech Magazine is also planning to shoot a few video pieces, though make sure your client is a partner with the publication’s parent company before reaching out. No partnership, no dice.
  3. Sorry, but the majority of your meeting requests are still going to be declined - Healthcare Informatics’ Editor Mark Hagland disclosed a very humbling statistic during the webinar: he will only accept about 20 to 25 percent of the meeting invitations he receives. The majority of publications that attend HIMSS bring an editorial staff of just three to five reporters and, between the keynotes, conference sessions and breaking news from the show floor, time slotted for vendor one-on-one meetings is pretty slim. But don’t worry, you'll still have a chance of locking in your client’s dream briefing if you follow these tips: Know what each reporter has been covering, offer a customer, and please (I repeat, PLEASE) keep your pitch as short and sweet as possible.

A huge thank you to HIMSS media for hosting the webinar - and here’s to a successful HIMSS18 for all.

Topics: Events, Healthcare, Media Relations, Technology
Brittany Boyer

Brittany has been working in healthcare PR for five years, with a focus on digital health and EHR capabilities. Outside from launching campaigns and pitching reporters, she enjoys long distance running and excessive country music.

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