Preparing for a Live TV Interview

If you were watching Good Morning America this morning, you might have seen the inspirational meeting between a bone marrow transplant recipient and his life-saving donor.

PadillaCRT client Be The Match®, the world’s leading nonprofit organization focused on saving lives through bone marrow and cord blood transplantation, brought Dallas resident Justin and New York resident Joe together for the very first time.

In 2012, Justin donated bone marrow to Joe, who was fighting for his life after being diagnosed with lymphoma. After a year of anonymity, and then months of emailing back and forth, they finally met in-person – almost two years after Joe received his transplant.

As if the anticipation of meeting for the first time wasn’t great enough, Justin and Joe were now going to meet on live, national television – how’s that for nerve-wracking?!

But live television interviews don’t have to be panic-inducing. Below are a few tips to help you prepare so you can feel more comfortable and confident in front of the cameras.

Practice what you’re going to say. Although you can’t predict exactly what the reporter will ask, it helps to review your key messages beforehand. There’s no need to memorize anything…

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Crisis Management

Ebola and Enterovirus: 3 Tips for Thought Leadership During a Health Pandemic


The past few months have been a hypochondriac’s nightmare, with the spread of Ebola and the recent emergence of Enterovirus D68, a respiratory virus that is resulting in hospital admissions for many children.  I wouldn’t call myself a hypochondriac, but you can be sure that I know all the symptoms associated with each of these and my kids washed their hands no less than 10 times at a birthday party last weekend (to be clear, my concern was obviously Enterovirus and not Ebola, but if I noticed someone vomiting, with a raised rash, who was also bleeding from their eyes…we were not staying at that party!).

Health crises such as these strike fear into the hearts of Americans, and naturally, capture more than their fair share of media coverage.  It’s a time for health care organizations to step up, provide useful information, and position themselves as thought leaders.  However, if you wait until the health crisis strikes to make a plan, you’re likely to miss out.

The good news is that the approach to becoming a resource during a health pandemic also supports an organization’s evolution to brand journalism, a strategy that centers on creating relevant content that…

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3 PR/Marketing Budget Imperatives for Healthcare

It’s fall. That means football season, kids going back to school, the leaves changing colors, and, for many hospitals and health systems, it means the start of budget season. Even if your fiscal year is other than the calendar year, you’ll want to keep reading, or at least save this post in your budget planning folder.

With all the change going on in healthcare, many systems are finding it difficult to prioritize when it comes to budgeting. And, that can be frustrating for PR/marketing executives trying to align their plans with organizational priorities. If that describes you, perhaps the list of budget priorities below will help you take a slightly different approach to your budget this year, and best position you and your organization for success.

  • Plan for the Unexpected. disaster recovery_dilbertBetween the changes in climate, changes in technology, and changes in your competitive landscape, odds are that you will have some sort of crisis, issue or major announcement to manage in the coming year. They say it takes a lifetime to build a reputation and only a few hours to destroy it. You’re almost guaranteed the latter, if you fail to plan.…
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    Tackling Childhood Obesity – What’s Working and What’s Not

    kids running

    It’s been a week of highs and lows for children’s health advocates.  A new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that more than three-quarters of U.S. children eat fruit on any given day, and nearly 92 percent dig into vegetables in a 24-hour period.  As a mom of two boys, I find this to be a pleasant surprise.  But, it’s not all sunshine and roses.  Another CDC study uncovered that youth fitness has declined by about 10 percent since 2004, and is significantly below what it should be.

    Gordon Blackburn, director of cardiac rehabilitation at the Cleveland Clinic put the research into context, “Thirty years ago, we would not have expected to see 12-year-olds with symptoms of cardiac disease.  Now we’ve had to start a pediatric preventive cardiology clinic.”

    There has been a concerted effort through a variety of campaigns to move the needle on kids’ health and fitness.  In 1991, the “5 a Day” (now “Fruits and Veggies – More Matters”) campaign was created to increase fruit and vegetable consumption for better health.  In 2007, the campaign shifted to target Gen X moms with a digital effort focused on recipes,…

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    Put me in, Coach!

    playing-baseballLast night, I went to my first baseball game of the season, full of double plays, diving catches and even a grand slam. No, this wasn’t a Nationals game, or even a Norfolk Tides game, my local minor league team, but instead a Little League All-Star game as full of metaphor as it was of hot dogs and humidity. I never thought I would feel a sense of connection with these boys, but as I watched them run onto the field, I seemed to know exactly what they were feeling. Interns like myself share the same professional space as these little ball players. We are motivated, eager—sometimes tripping over our own feet in that eagerness—but wanting to learn and ready to put our training into play. With great coaches, we have a chance to learn some fundamentals that will create a strong foundation when we head up to the big leagues:

  • Don’t leave the base early: When writing an email or document, it is imperative to double check spelling, grammar and punctuation. Don’t send anything to anyone until you’ve ensured there are no mistakes. This even includes simple email responses, as small mistakes create…
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    6 Lessons Learned from a Career in PR

    Debbie at first job WBVP RadioAt the end of this month I am retiring after nearly 40 years in the biz. Retirement is not a word I like to use because it doesn’t really define how we baby boomers are viewing this next stage of life – continued learning, travel, grandkids, exercise, sports and FUN! But, as with any transition, retirement is a time of reflection. It’s a chance to look back and say, “Wow that was a great career!” And it really has been. And, it’s a time to take stock in what I have learned that might be useful to pass on to those who will sit in this chair after I leave.

    PR is not just a life saver, it’s a life line. It’s unfortunate that many organizations think of public relations after “you know what” has hit the fan. When bad PR threatens reputations, we as PR professionals are expected to clean up the mess and right the course. Don’t get me wrong, this is an important function of public relations and thanks to crisis communications, I’ve put two girls through college. But honestly, if PR was more often…

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    Bringing Disney Magic to Hospital Wait Times

    Dr Mickey

    It’s nothing new for hospitals to look to revered service brands like Ritz-Carlton and Disney for lessons in customer service.  Many a hospital has hired one of their consultants to provide counsel on revolutionizing their patient experience program.  As a mom planning a Disney World vacation, it has become even more apparent to me that hospitals could take a page from Disney when addressing wait times, which are often responsible for a negative patient experience.

    Some people wait 2 – 3 hours (yes, hours) for attractions at Disney World, like meeting Frozen characters Anna and Elsa.  Waiting is just part of the theme park experience.  But, people (especially young ones) hate waiting…so, why does everyone have such a magical experience?

    Waiting seems to be inherent in the healthcare experience, too.  However, patient feedback is far more critical of hospital wait times that are often much shorter than what people are spending to meet a college student in a princess costume (we’re saving lives here, people!).  Some of that is related to circumstances.  No, going to the ER with a sick child is not Disney World.  However, are there opportunities to inject that trademark Disney magic into…

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    Last Hospital Standing: 5 Tips for Communicating to Support Successful Mergers & Acquisitions



    “There isn’t an independent hospital out there that is not thinking about this. At the top of the list is the question, Who should I merge with?” – Gary Ahlquist, Strategy& (from presentation by Susan Alcorn, Jarrard Phillips Cate & Hancock, at the Forum for Healthcare Strategists’ Marketing and Physician Strategies Summit)

    I recently attended the Forum for Healthcare Strategists’ Marketing and Physician Strategies Summit.  The three-day Summit was jam-packed with excellent speakers and content.  A number of the sessions that I attended touched on the topic of affiliations.  It’s no wonder that it remains a hot topic at most healthcare conferences.  Susan Alcorn helped quantify the size of the issue as part of her “Branding & Communication for New Affiliations” session:

    • “Hospitals across the nation are being swept up in the biggest wave of mergers since the 1990s, a development that is creating giant hospital systems.” (New York Times)
    • Number of transactions: 1,430 in 2012; 977 in 2013 (Modern Healthcare)
    • Value of transactions: $123.6 billion in 2012; $135.3 billion in 2013 +9% (Modern Healthcare)

    These numbers are not surprising, as independent hospitals struggle with rising costs and lower reimbursement.  What is somewhat more surprising is…

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    Using Storytelling to Grow Community Engagement

    5060855417_35b1057cef_z (2)One thing you should never underestimate: the power of a good story.

    A story can transform how people think about and connect with your brand – and makes your brand personal. For healthcare organizations especially, the topics we discuss are often complicated. By telling stories, you can make your work come to life in an understandable, digestible way.

    At PadillaCRT, our clients’ customers frequently tell us that they may have been aware, but only engaged with our client after learning about a real person whose story illustrated why the organization’s work was important.

    Focusing on stories that are authentic and emotionally impactful is the key here. One of the best ways to rally a community of people around your organization is to move them on an emotional level. This is where passionate and personal storytelling can be incredibly effective.

    Don’t just tell people why they should care. Show them.

    In the healthcare world, we have an advantage in finding great stories, because essentially, we are all working toward the same goal: making people healthier. It’s a very relatable goal. If your organization has helped one person in a significant, meaningful way, you have…

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    Crisis Management

    Fines and Headlines: 5 Tips to Prepare for a Crisis Before It Happens


    While retailers have certainly had their fair share of headlines related to information breaches, they are not the only target. In the health industry, more than 29 million patients’ records have been compromised since 2009.

    To understand what this means, take a look at this infographic created by the Health Information Trust Alliance (HITRUST) based on its 2012 study of the U.S. health industry. The study reveals nearly 500 breaches between 2009 and 2012, with an average of 43 thousand records being compromised at an average cost of more than 8 million dollars per incident.

    And experts say that healthcare information breaches are on the rise, particularly since their financial value to criminals is two to five times greater than basic consumer credit data. That’s because health data can be used for medical and insurance fraud as well. In addition to the significant communication and credit monitoring costs, healthcare providers also are subject to severe financial penalties under federal patient privacy laws. And when I say penalties, I’m talking hefty fines of up to $1.5 million per incident. Ouch, Charlie, now that really hurt!

    While the healthcare industry invests millions of dollars to protect patient data –…

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