Annual scientific meetings organized by medical associations and disease-specific advocacy organizations are a significant investment. They are also a tremendous opportunity to generate visibility and interest among key stakeholders – consumers, members, potential members, corporate partners and, potentially, the general public. Our team has worked with medical societies and scientific associations for years to promote the research that their members present at scientific meetings and the landscape has changed dramatically.
While veteran reporters still attend these meetings and provide traditional coverage through news articles, a new kind of reporter is covering this scientific research remotely or using more digital methods or both. We identified three tips that will help both types of reporters, ensure the science is covered accurately, and increase coverage.
Maximize video interview opportunities to amplify reach.
We have noticed more reporters conducting video interviews since it can now be done so easily and in high-quality with pocket-sized camcorders or smartphones and apps like FaceTime. Because of this, we now provide reporters a backdrop with the meeting logo repeated on it for their interviews. These backdrops have also become backgrounds for selfies. Both opportunities extend the reach of the brand.
Give reporters a preview of the meeting.
Organizing an embargoed, pre-conference media webinar helps reporters prepare their stories before the research is presented at the meeting. This is extremely helpful for reporters covering the meeting virtually because it’s an opportunity to hear directly from researchers, which they might not get otherwise. We’ve also found that this briefing gives us a gauge of which studies reporters are most interested in and the type of questions we might expect.
Select consumer-friendly research.
Regardless if they’re covering the scientific meetings in-person or virtually, non-scientific reporters like topical research that is most accessible to their readers – both in terms of being easily understood and being potentially available as a treatment. This means that most reporters are inclined to pass up covering much basic science and even some translational research.
We know these approaches work. During this year’s SIR Annual Scientific Meeting, NBC Nightly News featured SIR, one of its members’ clinical trials – the BEAT Obesity trial – and how early results helped a study participant lose almost 30 pounds in three months and greatly improve her lifestyle. This story achieve two goals, positively positioning the science presenting at the meeting and helping the investigator meet recruitment goals for his clinical trial.
For DDW 2016, research on several topics – fecal microbiota transplantation, a balloon system for weight loss and other cutting-edge developments in digestive diseases – were covered by TIME.com, Live Science, Medscape, and HealthDay, an outlet which is regularly syndicated by U.S. News & World Report and other prominent outlets.
Incorporating these three tips into your scientific meeting’s media strategy will work for almost any other medical and scientific societies, regardless of topic, because it meets the needs of reporters, thereby maximizing the chances they will produce compelling stories that reach a wide audience.