Web Alerts In Healthcare Advertising

There is a lot of chatter out in cyberspace. If you market a pharmaceutical or biotechnology product, medical device, hospital, or other product or service in the medical field, you need to know what is being said about your market, your customers, your competitors…and you. And you need to use this information to help shape your healthcare advertising and other communications. To stay on top of the cyberbuzz, take advantage of web alerts, a very valuable, free service. Choose from multiple providers of this service, including:

Google Alerts

  • Set up a “News” alert to receive notice of recent news articles containing your search terms of choice. Make sure, of course, that your brand name is among your search terms.
  • Set up a “Web” alert to receive notice of web pages using your search terms.
  • A “Blog” alert informs you of blog posts using your terms.
  • A “Video” alert notifies you of the latest videos matching your search.
  • A “Comprehensive” alert aggregates results from all of the above sources

Google Alerts tips

If your search terms produce too many unwanted matches, narrow your focus. For example, put quotation marks around a phrase containing search terms. This directs Google to search only for that phrase in that order. For example, let’s say your company is called “Total Health Solutions.” Alerts using this phrase will produce only results that contain the exact phrase you placed in quotation marks vs. any match with “total,” “health,” and/or “solutions.”

One caveat: In its searches, Google ignores most punctuation. So your Google alert search for Total Health Solutions might also produce the following result-a web page or blog with the phrase: “Compensation for this service is $1,000 total. Health solutions of this type are still relatively rare.” Depending on your search terms-and how common they are in the sequence you designate-this can happen. But usually, putting quotation marks around your company name will suffice, especially if your name is less common than “Total Health Solutions.”

Still getting unwanted results? You can narrow your search further by following a search term with a minus sign. Not surprisingly, “Total Health Solutions” could produce results that have nothing to do with what you do. So eliminate any areas that are not of interest. Example: “Total Health Solutions” -fitness center.

Take advantage of other alerts as well:


Results are aggregated from top social media sources such as Flickr, YouTube, Digg, Delicious, Twitter, and more.


Icerocket lets you search for mentions of your brand across the web, blogs, Twitter, MySpace, news, online images, and so on.

Social Mention

SocialMention searches user-generated content such as blogs, comments, bookmarks, events, news, videos, and microblogging services. It allows you to track mentions of your brand across all of these areas.


If you have a blog, then it is essential for you to be on Technorati, the largest blog search engine in the world. When you register your blog, Technorati tracks “blog reactions,” or blogs that link to yours. Search for your brand on Technorati and subscribe to RSS alerts so when someone blogs about you, you find out.


Locate any mentions of your name in tweets and decide if you want to tweet back.


Yahoo! Alerts is a free, personalized service that instantly notifies you of news and information that you consider important-via email, instant message, or cell phone.

A few words about RSS

RSS (which stands for “Rich Site Summary” or “Really Simple Syndication,” depending on whom you ask) delivers syndicated news, blog entries, videos, and audio feeds from the web.

You specify the types and sources of feeds you wish to receive. For example, you can opt to get news on pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, medical devices, hospitals…any topic you choose. Most of your favorite news sites and blogs likely offer feeds you can subscribe to. On their websites, look for links with the term “RSS,” “XML” (which stands for “Extensible Markup Language”), “subscribe,” “syndicate,” or “feed.” You may also choose a free service such as Google Reader to manage your subscriptions.

When, why, and how to join the discussion

So you receive alerts of online discussion regarding your organization, or you see stories from your RSS feeds that relate to your brand. Now what? No matter what further action you take, keep monitoring the discussion and news updates. News travels fast, so don’t ignore alerts (that’s why they’re called “alerts”) or let them pile up. Stay on top of any news that could affect your brand.

Join the discussion when appropriate…and do it appropriately:

  • Be activewhen you have a message to distribute and the web is the right medium, or in the mix of media, to do it.
  • Be proactivewhen you anticipate questions or problems.
  • Be reactivewhen questioned.
  • Be regulatory-compliantand avoid disseminating any information that is potentially off-label or lacks the necessary fair balance.

And whether the situation calls for being active, proactive, or reactive…

  • Be discreet.Ensure that the web is the appropriate forum to distribute your message. It will travel worldwide and endure. It will be open to comment and criticism.
  • Be diplomatic.If you must disagree with a member of your target audience, do so politely. Never criticize your company, your people, or your competition. Your comments couldn’t be more public and, once made, can’t be suppressed.
  • Be articulate.How well you craft your message is a reflection of the quality and integrity of your organization. Ensure your social media messages are professional-clear and compelling.
  • Be brief.You’re busy. Show you know your audience is, too.
  • And never-never-be defensive.Stay on message and state your position, not why you think you’re right and someone else is wrong.

Stay alert with web alerts

Use web alerts to know what’s being said about your market, your customers, your competitors…and you. Then partner with a healthcare advertising agency to use this information to help shape your strategic plans and your brand’s healthcare communications. Be sure to contact bryantBROWN Healthcare: bryantBROWN.com, (310) 406-2460, x101.

The Health Care Debate

On September 15, 2009, Diane Rehm’s guest (on National Public Radio) was Dr. Andrew Weil. He was a guest to talk about his new book, Why Our Health Matters.

During their conversation, Dr. Weil offered some very profound thoughts about the state of our country’s health care system (or should I say lack of). Dr. Weil believes we need to be focusing on prevention of health issues rather than treatment of those issues after they surface. Why? Because it would tremendously decrease the cost of health care in our country. He believes we should be focusing on health, not on illness – would you agree?

Pharmaceuticals vs. Common Sense

Did you know that the amount of money spent by pharmaceutical companies on research and development is minuscule when compared to the amount of money these pharmaceutical companies spend on advertising? Do you also know that New Zealand is the only other country on the planet that allows pharmaceutical companies to advertise direct to the consumer? And hat drugs have the highest markup of any product in the United States? Now that’s a wake up call! Do you believe that our medical community needs to stop capitalizing on the mindset that drugs are the only form of treatment?

Dr. Weil believes there should be a total ban on drugs being advertised direct to the consumer. The citizens of this nation must understand and educate their physicians that wellness is a much higher priority than illness. And they must stop being swayed by the myriad advertising that hits them 24/7 every day.

We’ve become a nation that expects and demands a quick fix for everything. Rather than get off our sofas, rather than eat what’s right for us, to maintain a healthy lifestyle, we have an obsessive need to pop a pill and believe that everything will be just great! And our medical community – the drug companies being the most prevalent – do absolutely nothing to counteract this mindset. Instead, we all believe that that little (albeit very expensive) one pill a day will alleviate the necessary for exercise, a healthy diet, and a commitment to maintaining good health.

My mother left this life at the age of 90 years and 42 days. She exited this life having never spent the night in a hospital, never having had a broken bone, nor was she taking any medications. She didn’t believe a pill would solve her issue – that being of old age and her body wearing out. That’s going to happen to all of us at some point. But wouldn’t we prefer to make our exit as healthy and pain free as possible?

The Root of the Problem

In his new book, Dr. Weil goes to the root of the problem, showing how medical schools fail to give future doctors the best education to care for patients, how insurance companies have destroyed our opportunity to get excellent care, and how pharmaceutical companies have come to rule our lives. A quote from his website: “The collapse of our health care system can take our whole economy down. We are already spending more per capita on health than any other people in the world, yet we have the poorest health outcomes of any of the developed nations. Any attempt at reform will fail without an accompanying transformation of medicine.” Listen to the show

This leads me to ask, what can you do about it? Begin by spreading the word that ingesting chemicals (prescription medications) is not always the optimal method for healthy living. I will concede that in some cases, prescription medications are good for you – that they will enable you to live a long, reasonably healthy lifestyle. But drugs must be kept in their place, not to be a placebo to all of us wishing to take the lazy out.

Take action!

Effective change can only take place at the bottom up, not the top down. It’s a proven fact that grass roots movements can change the world. Isn’t it time that we all speak up about living a healthy lifestyle free from the influences of pharmaceutical advertising? Let’s take an active part in changing the health care system in our country. We must stop being swayed by the obsessive media and the scare tactics being used by the naysayers who are against any change. Educate yourselves on the issues, make informed decisions, and then inform your congressional representatives of your opinions. Before you let anyone sway your opinion, do your research – but do not let fear take priority in those decisions. True change is only accomplished by the collective action of everyone of us.

Health Club Advertising – 3 Important Points You Need to Remember

Do you own a health club? Are you looking for ways to promote your facilities? Are you anxious about whether you can reach out to people or not? These are the common concerns of many professionals who are in the field of health and fitness. Health club advertising can be indeed a tricky task if you are not particular and meticulous about it. There are a number of things that you need to keep in mind before you start with your marketing strategies. Of course, this is the most important aspect of any business venture and hence has to be given proper attention.

If you are wondering where and how to start your health club advertising campaign, here is a quick look at three things that you have to bear in mind constantly.

Your Target Customers: This is the part of the population you want to cater to. If your health club specializes in aerobic training you should aim your advertisement to the interested clients. Alternatively if you want to focus on weight training, you should design your promotional accordingly. In other words, health club advertising should be specific rather than generic. This narrows down the target and hence reduces the cost of marketing.

The Budget: Determine how much you want to spend on marketing your fitness center. It is best to do it at the very outset. After all, every step you take depends on the amount of money you are willing to dispense with. A definite budget lets you make precise plans on where and how you want to implement your marketing campaigns. You can consider discussing this with a professional planner who will also help you make your budget.

The Medium of Advertising: This will depend on the points discussed above. Once you have a clear idea regarding your target clients and your budget you can decide the medium of your gym advertising. You can go for newspaper or magazine ads. If your selected market consists primarily of youngsters, the Internet is a better option. This is because they will rather run a Google check than to browse through a newspaper!

Depending on your budget, you can also opt for flyers and posters. Place them in strategic points like near a gym, or a joggers’ park where you are sure to get interested viewer ship. Apart from this, you can also get in touch with doctors and medical practitioners who can recommend the name your gym to their patients. This works as an effective promotion of your business as most people are likely to listen to what their doctor says!

Thus, in order to draw up an effective health club advertising strategy, there is more than one thing that you need to consider. Even if you overlook or neglect any of these, it may spell trouble for you. So, you will do well to have a clear and precise plan of how you want to go about promoting your business. Though fitness training is in vogue nowadays, efficient marketing and wise advertising are often instrumental in taking your business forward!