Playing Favorites

angelIf you’re a parent, you know you’ve been asked this question:

Which of your children is your favorite?

Of course, there’s no way to answer that question! Because even if you have a favorite, you’d never fess up! As a parent, you do your utmost to be fair and equitable….

(We all know who our OWN parents’ favorite child is/was. My sister was my mother’s favorite. She was sweet, and quiet, and well behaved. And I was… well… not.)

This week I was contacted with two different requests for referrals to APHA members, which means I am expected to pick favorites….

It occurred to me that perhaps you’d like to know how I handle the “I don’t have a favorite advocate” response….

The first was a contact from the media. A specific question that could be answered by a patient advocate or navigator, a general question that would then be highlighted in a publication… So how would I choose the best person for the reporter to contect? Which of our 400+ members of the Alliance of Professional Health Advocates would I “anoint” as the person to get some publicity?

The second was a request from a colleague – Christina deMoraes of the International Medical Tourism Chamber of Commerce was looking for an advocate to work with a patient coming from outside the US to Orlando. Could I recommend who she should contact?

Ho-boy. You know, in both cases (and in all the other opportunities that come along this way) it’s tough! Because we have many members I have met and have gotten to know – and many I don’t.

Yet, I need to be fair to one and all. So here’s how I handle these kinds of cases, just so you know:

In the case of the request for an advocate to answer a question for the media: This one is pretty straightforward. I find the advocate in our roster who lives and works in the closest proximity to the media. In this case the request came in from a Worcester, Massachusetts publication, and so our advocate who lives and works the closest was tapped. She’ll get a nice media mention for that.

If it’s national media, I approach it a bit differently. National media likes to interview people from different regions of the country. So in that case, I turn to our APHA Opportunities list. That list is comprised of APHA members who have signed up to be notified about media opportunities. I send an email to the entire list with contact information for the media requestor and ask those who are interested to connect with the reporter directly.

As for referring an advocate for paid work – that’s a little different. Unless there is only one advocate in a general area, or only one advocate who offers the specific service that was requested, I provide all the names of all the advocates in the right geography. In this case, I sent Christina four advocates’ names. I suspect she’ll be contacting all four.

All this speaks to three things you, my advocate readers, can do to help yourselves be found by media or by referral sources.

1. Make sure your AdvoConnection Directory listing is current and clear to maximize the chances you’ll be contacted by media or potential referrals, or clients themselves.

2. Be sure you are signed up to be notified of Opportunities. (Not on the list? Log in to your dashboard and find the Opportunities Center. You’ll find the link to the sign-up form right there.)

3. Do some local media outreach yourself! There’s supporting information in the Marketing Center in your membership area. There’s also quite a bit of helpful information about this outreach in The Health Advocate’s Basic Marketing Handbook. If you’ve done a great job of local media outreach, then reporters won’t be looking to me for referrals!

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Agree? Disagree?

Share your experience or join the conversation!


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3 thoughts on “Playing Favorites”

  1. Enjoyed this! Just wondering of APHA might develop a “media packet” for use by members who are contacted by the media – so that we’re all pretty much on the same page and covering the anticipated questions. I understand the CSA group has developed public presentation materials for CSA’s. Perhaps something similar would be helpful. Newbie and gonna-be advocates might feel much more comfortable in raising the visibility of healthcare advocacy.

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