Leveraging Media Relations During a Crisis - Shorr Solutions

In this episode of Shorr Solutions: The Podcast, “Leveraging Media Relations During a Crisis”, we welcome Denise Mann! As an established editor for multiple publications including  Practical Dermatology and Modern Aesthetics magazine, she discusses how to leverage public relations to attract media attention during a crisis, social media do’s and dont’s, and the best way to connect with the press to grow your business.  Tune in to learn more about how to handle media relations in the midst of COVID-19.

00:00:05:09 – 00:00:48:20

Mara Shorr

Welcome to Shorr Solutions: The Podcast. I’m your host, Mara Shorr. I am a partner in the medical practice management company. Yes, Shorr Solutions. Who is the other partner, you may ask. Easy answer. That would be my father. Our founding partner, Jay Shorr. Together, we now have an amazing team and clients across the country. Listen as I chat, converse, strategize and commiserate with brilliant guests, colleagues, friends, clients and influencers. It’s time to listen, learn, and be inspired. Welcome to Shorr Solutions: The Podcast

00:00:45:11- 00:01:58:00

Mara Shorr

and welcome to this episode of Shorr Solutions: The Podcast. With this particular episode we are interviewing and I am speaking with Denise Mann, Denise is editor at large for Practical Dermatology and Modern Aesthetics magazine, as well as just a tremendous industry veteran. We have known and I have known Denise for several years. On the writer’s side, we both lecture at many conferences together and always make a point of sitting down and having some time together, a cup of coffee or breakfast while we’re in the same place, because she is just an absolute wealth of knowledge.

And as the industry continues to change but so much more than that, as the world is changing right now, I reached out and really wanted to sit down and speak with Denise about as a just like I said, an industry veteran. How can businesses and how can medical practices leverage public relations to attract media during a crisis and how can they do their best to respond in a crisis communications format?

So with that, that is really going to be already talking with Denise about today. So, Denise, thank you so much for being on Shorr Solutions: The Podcast

00:01:58:02 – 00:02:05:12

Denise Mann

Thank you for having me. Industry vet makes me feel and sound old, which I guess is actually true. So I really can’t complain about that.

00:02:07:02 – 00:02:13:14

Mara Shorr

Not old. You are seasoned and that is definite, that part is a true statement, but you are definitely not old.

00:02:15:01 – 00:02:20:14

Denise Mann

Well, thank you for that. So anyway, I’m happy to be here.

00:02:20:14 – 00:02:33:07

Mara Shorr

So and because we know that you are conducting this interview from home right now, so to our listeners, there may be a dog barking in the background, but that is life right now.

00:02:33:07 – 00:02:44:16

Denise Mann

I have no control over how they bark. And when I yell at them, it only makes things worse. So hopefully they’ll be quiet. But we’ll see. That has not been my experience to date.


00:02:44:18 – 00:02:51:07

Mara Shorr

And just so everybody. What kind of dogs do you have and what are their names? In case we just need to put a voice to a name.

00:02:51:09 – 00:03:07:00

Denise Mann

Well, I have a miniature schnauzer named Perry, who is very vocal back in New York City but has been more quiet now that we relocated for the time being to Massachusetts. And I have a Chihuahua/pitbull named Thomas, who have seems to have found his bark since we came out to the woods.

00:03:07:04 – 00:03:09:02

Mara Shorr

That is quite the combo. A Chihuahua/ Pitbull

00:03:09:02 – 00:03:16:00

Denise Mann

Yeah, they’re just I call them my twins because they’re just like the most mismatched yet perfect pair I’ve ever seen.

00:03:16:02 – 00:03:20:04

Mara Shorr

I love that. I love that they’re. They’re a little duo.

00:03:20:06 – 00:03:23:20

Denise Mann

Maybe they’re like a salt and pepper mix. They’re really cute.

00:03:23:22 – 00:03:43:03

Mara Shorr

So. So with that, Denise, can you just start off can you talk a little bit about your background in journalism? You’ve been like we talked about you’ve been in the industry for quite a long time, and so can you talk a little bit about your background in journalism and we’ll get started there.

00:03:43:05 – 00:04:43:06

Denise Mann

Sure. Well, I’m a vet, so it goes back for a while. I went to Northwestern and I got my master’s in journalism. I was told in no uncertain terms, you take the first job that you’re offered that allows you to write. That first job happened to be for the New York Times health Syndicate. So basically not The New York Times, but all their syndicate papers.

I was their health reporter. I didn’t know that much about health. I was a hypochondriac. So I definitely came naturally to that and I kind of branded myself from there. And then the digital revolution happened. I was with WebMD for about 15 years. I wrote my first book on alternative ways to treat and diagnose and potentially cure heart disease.

And it all kind of morphed from there. And then, you know, slowly but surely, I got into skin, skin cancer. And then we saw so much changing with aesthetics and plastic surgery. So I began to cover that and, you know, just sort of been a natural and gradual transition.

00:04:43:08 – 00:04:47:24

Mara Shorr

I think that the New York Times health syndicate is not a bad place to cut your teeth.

00:04:48:01 – 00:05:01:05

Denise Mann

No, that was great. It was actually great. And It was free press. I had so many good papers and I was doing all these conferences and I was meeting all these AP writers. And it was really it gave me the best experience that I can ask for.

00:05:01:10 – 00:06:35:23

Mara Shorr

I agree. I actually I started in the air with WMFE, which is the Orlando PBS, or was was PBS, but is now just NPR affiliate. And I think when you when you have access to such a great media entity, I was a journalism major and it’s so it’s so funny to me that I’ve now landed where I have in the industry.

But when you have a great media backing behind you and you work for a trustworthy, reliable sources, it’s amazing how you can really shape your future in media and your perception of media, especially from the beginning. I mean, I was 20 I was I think five days after I turned 22, I started my job.

I got it. I, you know, I totally understand. And so you then seen as have I, but you seen the revolution from print to digital in such a drastic way and how that affects the news cycle as well. And I think that in a time of maybe that’s a good way to segway into what we’re really going to talk about about in a time of crisis, how are and when things are changing so drastically and they’re changing on such a regular basis.

You and I were talking a few minutes ago about things change, you know, sometimes day to day, hour by hour right now. And so if an article is put out days later or even right now with, you know, in a monthly publication and in a print publication, how do you handle that from an editors point of view as far as what is actually being put out there and in reporting structures?

00:06:36:00 – 00:07:53:03

Denise Mann

You know, going back to when I started, something that used to bother me was  these journal copies embargoes. And I would get this dirt journal that the American Medical Association’s the really big study, let’s say, about breast cancer risk, breast cancer genes. And even though I have the study, it’s been peer reviewed, you can’t discuss it until 5:00 on Tuesday.

That’s when the embargo lifts and that’s when all the papers, they everybody had the same start and everybody was out there at the same time, which always made me a little uncomfortable, because here you have this information that’s so significant, but you can’t do anything with it. You have it in advance, even though it’s already been vetted. So that’s always like a little bit strange.

That doesn’t really seem to exist anymore. All these papers are they’re coming out before they’ve been peer reviewed. The media is sort of just hitting. Everybody’s got a head start. So I think that’s kind of that’s been good and that’s bad because things become outdated as soon as they’re published. And you don’t you don’t have that chance.

I think we kind of need more of a balance between having things more thoroughly reviewed and actually evidence based deep in science and then releasing them to the public, because otherwise you’re giving people information that even if they try to act on, they really just can’t. Like we’ve seen that so many times with antimalarial drugs and other things that have come up throughout this COVID 19 epidemic.

So I think it’s caused us all to rethink how we process and provide news.

00:07:53:05 – 00:08:13:07

Mara Shorr

And so how are you looking at reliable sources and when because you’re really now your niche is in health care, right? That is where you really you found your home as a writer, as an editor. And so how are you finding sources at this point that, you know, are credible sources?

00:08:13:09 – 00:09:19:09

Denise Mann

You know, I think certain certain tenets still exist, you want a .edu or .org, I think that still says that those to me still make the most credible as opposed to somebody who is directly related to a company and obviously has biases and interests. I think that we’ve seen a lot with the CDC that’s kind of given me pause.

They were always the holy grail of information about public health in the US, and you’ve seen a lot of backpedaling and a lot of about faces that have happened. So it makes me wonder, you know, should I have interviewed this doctor who said, I don’t care what the CDC says, I’m wearing a mask and I’m not letting my family go outside for walks because this is contagious and this is real.

And this is a piece where the CDC say, no, no, no masks, N95 masks only for doctors. You don’t need them. They’re not going to prevent you from spreading or catching the disease. So I think it’s given us all pause as to who. And I don’t think that there’s a right answer, because I think that we’re just in unscripted territory right now.

I think people are writing the script as the play is on, and nobody really knows what is going to happen and what’s going to work and what’s effective at prevention. So it’s been challenging.

00:09:19:11 – 00:11:14:22

Mara Shorr

And I think that, you know, it’s actually as we look and we talk about crisis planning and also and we separate on the consulting side. So with Shorr Solutions on the consulting, the consulting end of our practice management company, we have two different aspects of how we’ve worked with our clients to manage a crisis. There’s the crisis management as far as the protocols, the procedures, the operational side of crisis management, and then there’s crisis management and crisis messaging in regards to marketing and how they’re conveying and because how, how and what practices are conveying in their marketing is changing on a daily basis and what it is that they’re putting out there.

What is, you know, what sanitizes what and how long it takes and how often. And I mean like different little things. Is there a test? Is there not a test? Different messaging changes on a regular basis. And so we’re marketing in a way we’ve never marketed before and having to convey a crisis message in a very, very rapid way.

And as we look at how to leverage that, we talk with our clients on not only social media but leveraging PR as well to attract media attention during a crisis. And I’d love to break down both of those topics to you. So on a media side, because social media, I think often people just think of it as a place to post selfies, right?

And their TikTok videos and all those things are cute and great and that’s great. But from a business perspective, we have to look at this as the word media is in social media. And if when done right, a business can use this as a media channel and a media opportunity. So if we look at social media as media, what would you recommend for practices as far as do’s and don’ts of what to put out there during a pandemic or during a crisis?

00:11:14:24 – 00:12:31:08

Denise Mann

Very good question. And I think that you just don’t want to appear tone deaf during this time. What I like that I’ve seen doctors that are doing everybody’s home, everybody’s quarantined, nobody looks their best. So I kind of like that you can actually give it your patients or future patients a glimpse into what’s going on, even if that’s, you know, quote unquote, quarantine here.

We’re having a contest in practical dermatology for all these, like really well-known dermatologist are showing what their hair looks like. And whoever the winner, i.e., has the worst quarantine hair, we’re going to donate $100 to their COVID charity of choice. I think things like that, letting them into your life. Not too personal, of course, but I think this is a really good opportunity where you can do that and just kind of show them a little bit about what’s going on.

I think education is also important and, you know, that could be education about procedures, treatments and techniques or also educating about what’s going on in the community in terms of COVID 19. So I think education and also giving people a personal glimpse, but nothing overly promotional, is it, if you’re having a special on skin care because of course, you know, doctors are struggling just like everybody else, I think that’s okay.

But you really have to be sure to balance the educational authentic marketing with appearing tone deaf in a time when people really are struggling and suffering.

00:12:31:10 – 00:13:49:12

Mara Shorr

One of the conversations that we’ve had with a lot of our clients and I agree because we’ve we’ve addressed so much of that with our clients, is that, you know, before and after photos aren’t going to cut it anymore. That’s not what you just do. You need to think that whatever it is you are posting before, there needs to be a caption, a component that makes you appear as if you realize that we are in the middle of a pandemic.

We are in the middle of figuring this out no matter where in the timeline we are, right? Whether it’s the beginning, the middle or the end. And one of the things that that we talk a lot about, even outside of COVID 19, we say this all the time, is that, yes, you can go ahead and schedule your social media, but you need to understand that it needs to be paid attention to.

And if something happens in the world which it will, there will be a shooting, there will be a natural disaster. I mean, it stinks that we have to say this, but all of these things will ring true. A terrorist attack, these things happen. And it’s sad. I don’t love that they happen, but they do. And when these things happen, you need to evaluate on a moment’s notice what it is you had planned on posting that day and take it down because you need to get a little not tone deaf.

And I think there’s there’s so much to be said for that.

00:13:49:14 – 00:14:46:23

Denise Mann

I’ve been very turned off. I’ve been by a lot of press releases I’ve gotten during this time, including like, you know, Dr. So-and-so’s sees spikes in plastic surgery requests due to Corona like and I get it like I’m on Zoom a lot too. And there are a lot of things that are now on my laundry list of things I want done if and when it is appropriate for me to go and seek elective cosmetic surgery now is just not the time.

So timing is really, really important. Like, you know, there might be a time when the quarantine 15 is a thing and there is a vaccine that’s not just safe but effective. And COVID 19 is something in the past and people might be interested in. Hey, you know what? Like I did put on weight. I was stress eating. I couldn’t exercise because my gym was closed.

We’re not even close to being there yet. So anybody who sort of jumps the gun on and markets that way right now, it’s going to end up it’s going to look bad for them, for their brand and their patients. I mean, I hit the lead on those press releases and then make a mental note that that doctor is not somebody I want to do business with in the future.

00:14:47:00 – 00:16:08:19

Mara Shorr

And, you know, to touching on what you said, as far as we’re all, you know, we’re on Zoom meetings all day or and whether they’re meetings or they’re face timing with friends or family that you don’t have the opportunity to see. And I’m watching the wrinkles creep back into my forehead because I you know, I was about a month or two overdue for my Botox right before the shelter in place orders.

And so now I’m really overdue. But we need to make sure that we’re going about marketing and posting the right way and doing that the right way. And I also wanted to touch on and have that cover, have the conversation with you about with everything you know, with everything going on now, but also in what you’ve seen in the past.

And what would you suggest if a practice wants to leverage their public relations campaign and utilize a public relations campaign to attract media attention during a crisis? And that could be the current crisis for, you know, related to COVID 19, or it could be a different type of a crisis, whether that’s a natural disaster or something so that people, patients or rather practices are able to think about what they can do now or the next time around.

What is your suggestion with that?

00:16:08:21 – 00:19:05:11

Denise Mann

I think a lot of it comes down to the basic tenets of ethical medicine, which is first, do no harm. So I think that it’s different if we’re talking about somebody who’s in the clinical or medical space versus somebody in the cosmetic. If you’re a dermatologist and I know you have a lot of dermatology clients and I work with them all the time, you know, here’s the thing where, you know, you can really use this.

The telemedicine is a big deal. That’s how doctors are seeing their patients and how they’re triaging skin cancer patients. And it’s going to be part of the future of health care. So I think that that’s a trend that you can say, hey, listen, I’m doing this and I’m diagnosing skin cancer. And you know what I found that this tool helps me do this and can tell me which patients need a biopsy.

So I think those things make really good, empowering, actionable news stories. So something with clinical or it could even be how can you tell if you need to see a tele-dermatologist, You know, we’re all looking at ourselves. Everybody finds things. You normally would make an appointment to the doctor for every May to go see skin cancer, things like that that are actually educational, instructional, and also capitalize on this new trend, which is telemedicine.

If I’m doing something innovative in terms of seeing patients virtually, I think that’s great. You know, a lot of doctors have done some amazing things. They’ve donated their ventilators, their personal, personal protective equipment, They’ve donated money to local charities, that sort of thing. And I think that’s all well and good. And I would mention that, like on social media.

But you also want to be careful about overly promoting yourself and your good deeds, because in my mind, that makes it about you and not the cause. So I would think if you’re doing something and getting attention for the cause or the greater good, makes sense, but that might be a good way to get your name in the media as well.

But that has to be the secondary part, if that makes any sense. It does, because I don’t think bragging rights, right? That’s my dog (barking in the background) this is around the time where he sees his reflection in the mirror or the window and thinks that it’s another dog who looks exactly like him. Yeah I don’t I think, I just tread carefully. But if you have a new and innovative service that you’re offering now, you know, May is cancer month and that’s not going to change.

Melanoma Monday is coming up. Telemedicine is the story of the year. Reach out, tell people what you’re doing, how you’re doing it, how it’s how it’s saving lives. Or even discuss the fact that you know, we’re kind of a blue light all the time now. We don’t know what blue light does to your skin pigmentation and whatnot.

Like there’s there’s still a role for wearing sunscreen and protection. We’re wearing masks all the time. You know, people are getting, pun intended, a rash of all these rashes under their mouth. Dermatologist can really step up and say, listen, you have to wear those masks. You don’t want COVID. But if you don’t want your acne or psoriasis or you don’t want your dermatitis, here’s what you need to do.

Use an ointment that’s sort of thing. And I think those are public service and there’s always a good place for that. And I don’t think that makes it look like you’re just going to get your name in the news. Those are actually helping. So I think I would think service above anything else.

00:19:05:13 – 00:19:42:23

Mara Shorr

Do you think that the press release has gone the way of the dodo or do you think that it is still very relevant? So in other words, if somebody wanted to pitch a and it could be luck, it could be pitch you as far as Practical Dermatology or Modern Aesthetics or if they’re pitching another publication or another, you know, another digital outlet, would you say that they still need to really create a digital or I mean, obviously they wouldn’t be creating a print press release, but do they still need to create a traditional press release or do you think that a well-crafted email does just as good?

00:19:43:00 – 00:20:18:03

Denise Mann

I think it can be both. I know it like Practical Dermatology or Modern Aesthetics we cover a lot of things that are great for press releases, New product launches, industry giving back for COVID 19, and sometimes a press release in a situation like that makes it easy for me to get it on the wire. And it also gives me someone to call by saying, you know, this is really good.

I need more than a press release. I want to interview. This is a trend or a feature story. So I do think that there’s still a place for the digital press release. You know, again, like some of them are, just will never be appropriate. I get a lot about matchmaking in the time of COVID, and I think you have to know who your audience is.

00:20:18:05 – 00:20:26:16

Mara Shorr

We are. It’s funny, Jay and I say that all the time. So I talk a lot about Jay on this podcast. You know, my father business partner.

00:20:26:18 – 00:20:30:24

Denise Mann

Jay has taught me a lot about business and managing my finances. So I think he is pretty good.

00:20:31:01 – 00:20:52:15

Mara Shorr

Oh, I love I love that he you know, it’s interesting because the more people that I have had the opportunity to speak with over the past few weeks, the past few months with this podcast, everybody has said how much they always enjoy spending time with him and how much they have learned from him. And I think that’s really it’s also a testament to the legacy that he’s built.

00:20:52:17 – 00:21:09:21

Denise Mann

Is coming to two things. One is that everything is negotiable and that anybody can steal from you just because you think they can’t. And most employees steal for one reason and one reason alone because they can. It’s true. I was the first one I heard him give, and I can’t even tell you how many times I quote him.

00:21:09:23 – 00:21:43:14

Mara Shorr

I love that I love that. I think it’s you know, it’s very true. I mean, we give whole lectures on the art of negotiation, and that is, you know, it will be a whole other podcast episode when we talk about negotiation. But he is just such a wealth of information over the years. And he is absolutely we always joke he is a pessimistic optimist and so he will always think about how things could go wrong.

And of course we hope that they don’t. But he will always want to think about the the several things that could go wrong in any situation, and that would be one of them.

00:21:43:16 – 00:21:50:02

Denise Mann

For my consultancy is, you know, you have to kind of get to be one step ahead of everything that could possibly happen. We have a game plan.

00:21:50:05 – 00:22:39:15

Mara Shorr

We have done that with, you know, honestly, we’ve spent so much time over the past few weeks, the past few months with our clients, just again, when we talk about crisis management and even though we have been through other situations like this, not in terms of a pandemic, but we have been through other situations that have caused practices to shut down, We have clients that are in California that had to shut down for one reason or another when it came to the fires.

And we have been through other forms of natural disasters. And that’s, you know, we’ve seen some pretty big situations and pretty big things arise. So with that, we just we have to take a look at what what could go wrong and always have a plan. And we joke that we didn’t used to have a plan as far as what happens if a virus shuts down the entire world.

00:22:39:17 – 00:22:49:18

Denise Mann

And for instance, there’s you know, if you’re not covered, that is not part that is not part of your, you know, what’s called an insurance. And most practices are learning that the hard life.

00:22:49:20 – 00:22:51:05

Mara Shorr

Exactly. Exactly.

00:22:51:05 – 00:22:53:07

Denise Mann

You know, rider for a pandemic.

00:22:53:09 – 00:24:09:14

Mara Shorr

It’s you know, we will now we will our whole negotiation strategy will change and we will start putting a pandemic clause in contracts from this point forward, any new contracts we are writing for ourselves or our clients. We’ve said that we’re starting to actually evaluate that, just like you would have a force majeure clause. And, you know, when we look at when we look at those things, there’s all things we need to consider.

So I think, you know, just continuously looking at the best way to go about the crisis management plan and would you say and we get pitches for even for our blog and with Shorr Solutions. Yes, we have our blog and we’re always talking about practice management opportunities for practices, but we don’t really truly accept pitches from from outside.

Right. But we would get every gosh, we get them for, like you said, there’s, you know, the best Halloween costumes for your kids. And I’m going, you have no idea what we do. Just like if someone’s, you know, launching into practical dermatology and they’re launching and sending you a press release about matchmaking going, that’s not what we do.

You don’t know your audience there. So Jay and I say all the time, you need to know your audience.

00:24:09:16 – 00:24:49:22

Denise Mann

Absolutely. I think pitchers need to be specifically targeted, you know, like a lot of times, like Dearman reporter instead of like it’s, you know, they have they have all these systems. They put it in there. And with that said, if it’s something that is, is newsworthy to my audience, I will look past that. And I might even laugh at it.

And they might I might even forward to my friends because I think it’s funny. But for the most part, you really have to know who you’re pitching and not just their specialty, but their audience. There’s a big difference between pitching me something about, you know, I write a lot for dermatologist when I’m writing for Practical Dermatology. They know that.

They know that it’s important that you should use sunscreen SPF of 30 so those pitches don’t work. You know, think about it. Well, this is a B2B audience. How can I flip the script so that this pitch appeals to that.

00:24:50:01 – 00:25:22:08

Mara Shorr

I love that. I love that. I think that’s a really good point, is knowing whether it’s B2B meaning business, to business or B2C business to consumer. And you really need to think about who the audience is because of course you’re B2B you know, and we are a B2B business on the consulting side, but our clients are B2C and so business to consumer.

And so when they pitch, they need to know that they need to flip, like you said, flip the script and flip how they normally do things.

00:25:22:10 – 00:25:57:08

Denise Mann

And you know, it might be an angle like, yes, sometimes I’ll see to be like, This is interesting. Okay, how can like, you know, COVID 19 is presenting with a rash? Okay, let me I can do that. But certain things I wouldn’t be able to do on my own, you know, I just wouldn’t necessarily, you know, like I wouldn’t, but I would almost maybe if it came to a pitch about, okay, this is what doctors need to know about, you know, sunscreen that they actually don’t know like that that might get coverage and that might cause me to look at something differently, which could just even open up the topic to a feature in the

magazine. But for the most part, you know, a lot of the stuff they’re saying is just you know, it’s it’s very it’s important for consumers not important for dermatologists.

00:25:57:12 – 00:26:47:15

Mara Shorr

Yeah. And that’s it’s so important to to know, you know, no matter what industry you’re in, I think these are really, really great media lessons to to think about. And I think you as a business have to get creative when you’re pitching media because so often we want to take the easy way out. And I see and it’s not just medical practices, but it’s small businesses.

And I’ve even seen some pretty large businesses do that as well. And the tendency is to take the easy way out. And you can’t take the easy way out because you’re going to really you’re going to get goose eggs. Nobody is going to pick it up. And so we need to look at taking the time, crafting a personal pitch to that publication, whether it’s digital, whether it’s print, but taking a look at what that entails and crafting that personal pitch to make to make it worthwhile for everybody or else you waste everybody’s time.

00:26:47:17 – 00:27:08:18

Denise Mann

I think it’s also a lot about just developing and cultivating relationships, because once you have relationship with the media and you see like it, it doesn’t even have to be, Hey, listen, this is what’s happening. I think you should look into it. I have some sources and it just opens up the communication. They know. They know they can trust you.

You know you can trust them. And I think that that paves the way towards really effective media coverage in a pandemic or not.

00:27:08:20 – 00:27:49:09

Mara Shorr

It does. And I know that we’ve even because we write for practical dermatology, Modern Aesthetics and so in that relationship started with the relationship that we had with you. And so as we look at, you know, and we had had relationship with the previous editor as well, but the continuation of that relationship has just really been really, really strong.

And it’s just been continuous, continuous, like I said. And I think that when because you’ve learned that you can trust us as writers and you’ve learned that we’re happy to bring ideas to the table, and therefore when you have things that need covered or you need an expert opinion, we’re always happy to provide that for you. And that’s how that relationship is continued to grow stronger are.

00:27:49:09 – 00:28:19:12

Denise Mann

Exactly what you guys do. That’s great is you have my editorial calendar and you will send me pitches crafted not just to my publication, but also to issue themes, which is amazing because that makes it much easier for me to be like, okay, this is going to go here. And when I work with our editorial director about where things go, it just makes it much easier for me to find placements.

I would always find a placement, but this just makes it easier. We have these editorial calendars. They’re online very easy for somebody to kind of click on and be like, I can pitch this to Modern Aesthetics for their May-June issue because the theme is X.

00:28:19:14 – 00:28:42:18

Mara Shorr

Exactly, exactly. And I think that knowing again, it’s tailoring it and maybe it’s maybe it’s a matter of not necessarily getting in in this next issue, but if you have that perfect pitch for something in October, then go for what really, really makes sense instead of and what is a really strong fit instead of immediacy.

00:28:42:20 – 00:29:10:14

Denise Mann

Exactly. And I think that, you know, most most publications do have media kits online that you can kind of look at. And you also have to understand lead times, you know, that some things need me to get on the wire. They need to be on the Web right away. Other things, you know, like innovations in sunscreen for the year, that’s going to be an evergreen story where something about you know, a drug that might work for COVID 19, you know, on a long lead.

You want that. You know, if if it’s valid, you want that on the wires ASAP.

00:29:10:19 – 00:29:11:11

Mara Shorr


00:29:11:11 – 00:29:13:06

Denise Mann

You have the kind of balance that as well.

00:29:13:08 – 00:30:00:20

Mara Shorr

Exactly. You know, and I think it’s just And what would you say as far as the best way to start building a relationship with you know, with an editor, with a reporter, with a media outlet? So there are different variations as far as I’ve seen, and had success with people building those relationships on social media first and then moving them off of social media and into the inbox or or by phone, etc..

So whether that is Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, some of the, you know, not necessarily Facebook, because that tends to be more, more personal, you know, versus just blindly emailing. What is it that you have? What is it that you prefer as an editor, as a writer, and what have you seen your colleagues generally prefer as well?

00:30:00:22 – 00:30:46:08

Denise Mann

I think that, you know, especially now, since we all have some down time finding somebody who’s writing style and market you actually admire, following them on social media, commenting on their posts, I think is a really good way to break the ice in today’s world. You know, even writing them an email, most of them is very easy to find them.

But hey, I read your article on this. I thought it was great compliment. A compliment goes a long way, but it also a nice way to segue into, you know. But I also I found that you didn’t mention this and this might be something good for another thing. I mean it for another story. And, you know, I’m here if you want to flesh this out, that sort of thing.

Social media is a really good way. LinkedIn definitely. And getting yourself connected and familiar with their work. And then it’s been a relationship being developed very gradually that way.

00:30:46:10 – 00:30:46:23

Mara Shorr

I think those are…

00:30:46:23 – 00:31:11:18

Denise Mann

And if there is somebody’s work you like, reach out, tell them, tell them why. If there’s something that you think that they should cover, that they haven’t. Reporters are always looking for pitches, especially now because reporters are also stuck from home. They’re doing all their reporting on Zoom. You’d be surprised just how receptive they are to ideas even such about local heroes or anything that’s going on. So now is a great time to reach out to a reporter who you admire.

00:31:11:20 – 00:31:22:20

Mara Shorr

Those are amazing tips. I always love just having these open and honest conversations with you because you’ll say, look, this is something. Don’t worry about this. Cut this component of it, but this is where you really want to focus.

00:31:22:22 – 00:31:38:21

Denise Mann

And that’s a great time to open. I mean, everybody’s got downtime right now. Think about what’s important to you. And if media coverage is one of those things, what better time than to start following more journalists, reporters reaching out? That’s all we have. It’s time.

00:31:38:23 – 00:32:13:22

Mara Shorr

Awesome. I love that. So towards the end of every podcast, there are three things that I always love to ask every guest. And again, we’re not talking with this. This is certainly not hard hitting journalism, but there are three things that I found always are really, really interesting. And so the three questions are what is one thing you’ve learned along the way in your career that you would love to share that maybe we didn’t talk about already?

And that number two, what would you do differently in your career if you had to do it all over again? And then the third is, what are you most proud of, either personally or professionally?

00:32:13:24 – 00:32:38:10

Denise Mann

Okay, I’ll start with the end. I think I’m most proud of professionally. It’s more personal. I’m proud of my kids and my dogs and my husband and the life that we’ve created because I think that’s harder than pretty much anything, any profession, you know, anything professional. So that to me, you know, that to me is what I’m probably most proud and most grateful for.

What was the second career. Other two questions.

00:32:38:10 – 00:32:47:00

Mara Shorr

What has one thing you learned that we didn’t talk about already and then what would you do differently in your career if you had to do it all over again?

00:32:47:02 – 00:33:14:01

Denise Mann

One thing that I’ve learned is the importance of having thick skin. We are all going to make mistakes. We’re all going to get criticisms. You know, there are stories that I’ve done that have been amazing and have won awards. And there are other ones that have, let’s say, have some holes in them. I’ve just learned that, you know, even The New York Times, I know a lot of the times I do, they make mistakes.

So you just have to be able to kind of forgive yourself and just know that, you know, typos happen. And then what was the third?

00:33:14:07 – 00:33:17:05

Mara Shorr

What would you do differently in your career?

00:33:17:07 – 00:34:05:10

Denise Mann

What do you do differently? In my career, you know, to be honest, which is just totally insane. But I am a huge, huge general hospital fan. I always have been. I absolutely love soap operas. I know that’s an embarrassing thing to some people in 2020, but General Hospital has been one of the biggest contents in my life. And there’s a part of me that wishes upon graduation.

I hightailed it out to Los Angeles and took whatever job I can get on the set and was writing those plots because I feel like I can see them coming. I also had an opportunity early on to leave medical writing and to write for. It was a soap opera digest, but it was another one and I turned it down because I knew in my head I’m like, I really won’t ever be taken seriously.

But yet I can be Tony Geary like. And I kind of had to go back and forth with that. I turned it down. Those are probably sliding doors. I might have let open.

00:34:05:14 – 00:35:29:02

Mara Shorr

And you know what the crazy part about that last one is, is that the podcast… One of the most recent podcasts I recorded was with Lori Robertson, and I don’t know if you’ve ever met Lori. Lori is an amazing nurse practitioner based out in California in Bray and one of Lori’s…. So Lori started out as a nurse in the ICU, but while she was while she was an R.N. and then even at the very beginning of her career as an NP, she worked on set at General Hospital.

And yeah, she worked on set for General Hospital. And so for our listeners, I if you haven’t already listened to the episode with Lori Robertson, but part of her role there was to make sure that the medical component was factual. And so you didn’t have somebody who was paralyzed from the neck down, get up and walk out of the hospital, or that you didn’t have somebody on a certain type of anesthesia.

And then they completely were wrong about the fact, etc. And so she was also in charge of making sure that they ordered the right equipment for the set that would be matched to that particular procedure. And it’s crazy because you don’t think about that necessarily being a certain role in a certain job that someone has to do.

But Laurie was actually somebody that did that. So it’s it’s all fascinating. It all kind of comes full circle. I was a general hospital fan growing up so I.

00:35:29:03 – 00:35:54:09

Denise Mann

Reconsider watching again. It’s great. Never disappoints, but I have a big birthday coming up in June, and for two years I’ve been telling my husband I will want a walk on part on General Hospital. I can sit at the floating rib, I can order a drink, I could walk in hand someone a chart. That’s how I want cheaper than a party.

And he actually was really trying because, you know, everybody has six degrees to something. But unfortunately, the COVID 19 pandemic means that I will likely not be going to Port Charles for my birthday.

00:35:54:13 – 00:36:20:01

Mara Shorr

Oh, there’s always next year. Let’s hope, let’s hope. It’s fascinating because it really is like you said, it’s all it’s all six degrees. So. Well, thank you so, so much for taking the time and just sharing all of your insight. You’re just such a wealth of knowledge as a as an industry vet, as we say, not that old, but an industry vet, so.

00:36:20:03 – 00:36:23:22

Denise Mann

I’m like a General Hospital fan, can have that now to us. And I added myself.

00:36:24:03 – 00:37:01:03

Mara Shorr

I’m going to I’m going to start making sure we include that in your bio. I think that that’s something that’s absolutely worth including in your bio . So. And Denise, how can people reach you? if they have a pitch or if they just want to learn more about practical dermatology or Modern Aesthetics? And actually, I really encourage to our listeners, if you haven’t already, they’re wonderful publications.

And so I encourage you go sign up on their website to Practical Dermatology, to Modern Aesthetics magazine, and whether you like a print edition, whether you like a digital edition. But I strongly encourage you to go ahead and sign up. Denise How can people reach you?

00:37:01:05 – 00:37:44:03

Denise Mann

Sure. It’s dmann@bmctoday.com bmctoday.com and I will say that we have been doing a webcast series sort of on the fly via zoom called Coping with COVID and it’s been incredible. We have all these top names in dermatology, facial plastic surgery, plastic surgery, and they’re really just talking about what’s happening to them in a conversational it’s candid, it’s honest, but it usually wraps up with really actionable points about everything from insurance coverage to social media, you name it, we have covered it clinical trials, research and development.

So if anyone’s listening to this and you really want to hear what’s going on, and what other doctors are doing. This is a great, great series.

00:37:44:08 – 00:37:55:21

Mara Shorr

Awesome! Thank you. Thank you so much, Denise. And definitely look forward to having more conversations with you both by phone via email and in person in the near future.

00:37:55:23 – 00:38:03:22

Denise Mann

Sounds good. And send your dad, my love.

00:38:03:24 – 00:39:46:08

Mara Shorr

Before we go, I’m sponsoring my own podcast because, well, what a smart business owner wouldn’t. We’ve recently joined forces with Aesthetic Immersion and are proud to bring you the content you’ve been asking for. Download checklists, phone scripts and get bonus pearls for your entire team, including what to do when reopening your practice after COVID and how to grow stronger than ever were before.

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We hope that you’ve gotten as much out of this episode as we have, and if you have, I’d like for you to like it. Rate us and share this episode with your friends, colleagues and the rest of your team. Remember to follow us on social media @ShorrSolutions and send me a message directly. I love hearing from you.

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