Last week, professional basketball coach Steve Kerr of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors gave the physical therapy world a gift.
The high-profile coach of the league’s most dynamic team had back surgery a couple of years ago that was supposed to take care of some pain he, at the time, had chalked up to “getting old.”
The surgery, however, led to complications that kept him from coaching for a few months going into the 2016-16 season.
These days, long-term complications from the surgery keep rearing their ugly heads. Right now, while the Warriors are competing in the early stages of the 2017 playoffs, Kerr is once again unable to coach his team. When asked about this just a few days ago, here’s what he said:
“I can tell you if you’re listening out there, stay away from back surgery. I can say that from the bottom of my heart. Rehab, rehab, rehab. Don’t let anyone get in there.”
The quote echoed throughout the national media, and physical therapists across the nation respectfully applauded Kerr’s statement as confirmation of what they’ve known all along: that physical therapy can often be a safer and more effective option to treating back pain than surgery.
Studies have shown this for some time. It just hasn’t completely permeated the public consciousness, yet – at least not enough to stop an otherwise healthy professional athlete like Kerr (who himself was an NBA player) to stick with PT for his back pain rather than opting for surgery.
To Kerr’s credit, he appears to be using his own misfortune to educate others about the power of PT and rehab. Besides his most recent statement, he was quoted more than a year ago imploring a sports reporter with back pain to “keep doing your rehab!”
This is great! It’s truly a gift for the PT profession, as I said before. Kerr’s comments are definitely getting the attention they deserve.
But are they?
As I write this, we’re a week past this storyline – practically a lifetime of news cycles in the digital age. The world’s moved on to new storylines. And while Kerr’s back issue is certain to come back up from time to time, his comments about physical therapy and rehab certainly won’t permeate as they did the first time.
Does that mean the story’s dead? Heck no! It just means it needs some amplification, and not just within physical therapy circles.
PTs already know the message. The audience should be consumers.
As with similar stories that thrust the benefits of physical therapy into the national spotlight, it’s up to individual PTs to help amplify the story – to use the tools they have at their disposal to enhance the message through expert perspective and supporting research.
How? Here’s the formula, along with some tools you can feel free to use for this particular story.
Post To Your Blog
It all starts with your blog.
The goal of all content marketing efforts is to point people back to your website, and blog posts serve as your landing page, of sorts, for particular topics and messaging.
So when current events provide you with a gem like the Steve Kerr quote, post it to your blog. Summarize the story (as I did to start this post), and follow up with your perspective. The formula is simple: “Here’s some important information, and here’s what you can do as a healthcare consumer with said information.”
Share on Social Media
Trending stories and social media go together like back pain and physical therapy. So use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., to spread the message and educate the masses!
But don’t just share any article. Share your article from your clinic’s blog. (Remember, you want people to learn about you, too!)
Also, make use of visual assets to attract some attention. As an example, here’s a social media “shareable” image that you can use (free) if you wish to amplify Kerr’s message about back surgery:
Tell the Media
If it’s already in the news, give your local media a scoop they may not otherwise get. While the story’s still top of mind, send them “the rest of the story” by providing context and perspective from a local medical expert.
You can certainly take the time to call or email local contacts to spread the word, but a press release can be much more efficient. Like your blog post, recap why you’re reaching out, then tell why this is relevant to their readers, viewers and/or listeners.
Here’s an sample press release template of how this might look for the Kerr story. Feel free to download, customize and use this PR for your local clinic.
Tell Your Clients
All solid marketing plans include a way to keep in touch with past clients, but it through email newsletters, mailings, etc. When something comes up in the news that’s relevant to their health, be sure to include this info within your communication with them.
Again, point people back to your blog post for additional information, striving to make them more informed healthcare consumers so they will continue to #GetPT1st.
To learn more about amplifying your physical therapy clinic through effective content marketing solutions, give us a holler at firstname.lastname@example.org.