It’s a brand new year and HIMSS season (a.k.a. #HIMSSanity) is officially upon us. The Amendola team is in full swing preparing clients for the big show in Las Vegas, from media kit development and booth collateral to social media campaigns and on-site support for interviews and analyst briefings.
It goes without saying that garnering media attention at the healthcare IT industry’s largest annual conference is no easy feat. With 125 credentialed press floating among a sea of 43,000-plus attendees and over 1,300 HIMSS exhibitors, rising above the noise takes hard work, tactical planning, and a little bit of luck to land the coverage your company desires.
No matter what time of year, it’s always a challenge for us healthcare PR folks to determine what will tickle the media’s fancy. But even more so when the industry’s journalists are flooded daily with pitches, product launches, and interview and meeting requests the months before and during the conference.
So how can you make the most out of your HIMSS investment and improve your chances of getting noticed among press, analysts, and ultimately, potential customers? I asked four respected healthcare IT journalists what advice they would give to attending vendors to maximize their efforts, remain relevant, and stand out among an overly “transformative,” “disruptive,” “innovative,” and “solution”-saturated HIMSS conference world.
Fred Bazzoli, Editor-In-Chief, Health Data Management, @fbazzoli – “Many companies feel compelled to release news at HIMSS. This happens to such a degree that, sadly, most news releases issued during HIMSS are hardly noticed in the email onslaught. Nor is it true that five releases issued during HIMSS are better than one. Your best bet is to manage your news release to occur before HIMSS (one to two weeks) make it as strong as possible, and be ready to discuss it at HIMSS, especially opportunities for follow-up or ‘second-day’ coverage, if the outlet did not cover the release earlier.”
Kate Gamble, Managing Editor, HealthSystemCIO.com, @khgamble – “Journalists receive tons of requests for meetings during HIMSS. If you’d like your request to stand out, customize it. Tell us why you would like to meet with us in particular (for example, you have a specific interest in an article series our publication is running, or you have someone you can recommend for an interview). And if we can’t take a meeting, please be understanding – we really are bombarded with requests, and we only have so much time to cover the conference. Also, please do not have multiple people from the same company reach out to us. And lastly, thank you for your interest – we do appreciate it, even if we can’t accommodate you.”
John Lynn, Blogger and Founder, HealthcareScene.com, @techguy – “Don’t shout on social media, engage. No one cares that you’re at Booth #0000 at HIMSS, so don’t shout that out on the #HIMSS16 hashtag. Instead, focus your social media efforts on engaging with those talking on the #HIMSS16 hashtag that could be customers or could be influencers that your customer watch. No one will remember your booth, but everyone remembers someone who sincerely engages with them. Others will notice that sincere engagement too.”
Neal Versel, Reporter, MedCity News, @nversel – “Respect our time. There are 1,300 vendors, and we can’t meet with everyone. We also have to find time to do our regular writing assignments, and can’t afford to spend all day meeting with vendors. Plus, a lot of the educational sessions are excellent and worthy of coverage. A lot of vendors don’t understand that it isn’t just the zoo of a show floor.”