5 Confessions of a Former Healthcare Trade Publication Editor

Sep 19, 2018

Prior to joining Amendola Communications, I was a senior editor at Medical Economics, the largest monthly business management journal for primary care practices. Before that, I was a senior editor at a couple monthly city business publications as well as a daily newspaper reporter.

The journalistic experience has proven invaluable as a public relations writer because it gives me a deeper understanding of how to create the articles that editors want in their publications. As an editor, I would receive pitches daily from PR professionals. I admit that not every pitch received the time and attention that were clearly put into them, for various reasons which I will describe later.

My last day as a publication editor was in May 2011. Judging from my experience since then as an independent and agency PR writer, however, not much has changed, other than the growing importance of social media, which you can read more about from one of our experts here. In that light, here are five confessions from my time as an editor reviewing countless pitches from PR and marketing professionals that might help your company score an interview or article placement.

  1. If it wasn’t relevant to us, it was deleted. Explain clearly in the pitch how the potential article’s information would be relevant to readers. The editor may not agree, but at least it demonstrates that you took the time to learn about the publication instead of just sending out a mass email with the editor’s name at the top.
  2. Data/outcomes were always interesting. Quantifiable results jumped out in a pitch, especially when there was a “$” before those numbers. Business management publications, even in healthcare, love to publish articles about dollars earned or saved. Numbers were even more powerful if my publication was offered the first chance to share them with readers, which brings us to another attention grabber.
  3. Exclusivity was exciting and appreciated. Offering just one publication the first opportunity on a story can be difficult for a company because it limits or delays spreading the story to a wider audience. Exclusivity, however, is alluring to many publication editors, especially web or breaking news publications where being first is mission critical.
  4. Sharing research builds trust. This tip is somewhat unique to healthcare, but as a trade editor, I always appreciated when a company representative presented medical journal literature that supported the claims in the pitch. Medical journals, unlike marketing content, are objective and critical, which are two qualities journalists prize. Presenting literature in the pitch showed me that the company was trying to be as transparent as possible, which built trust and fostered a stronger relationship with the company representative.
  5. Offering a real customer was almost a sure thing. Interviewing or publishing an article by a senior executive didn’t intrigue me as an editor as much as speaking with a physician or other customer of the company’s solution. This rule especially held fast if the company was relatively new. Readers want to learn from other readers like them, which is part of the reason today why blogs and YouTube channels from ordinary people are so popular. Sharing the perspective of an actual customer also builds credibility, and again, earns trust with the editor and readers.

There are plenty more tips I could share to grab an editor’s attention, but another quality I appreciated in pitches was conciseness, so I’ll stop there. Fortunately for Amendola Communications, we have lots of former print and web journalists working here, and many others with extensive media-relations expertise. Give us a call or email and we can discuss how we can help spread the word about your company across all types of business and consumer print and digital media.

I promise that we will respond.

Morgan Lewis

Morgan Lewis is an award-winning business and healthcare writer that brings 20 years of journalism and PR writing experience, focused almost exclusively on business and healthcare. Most recently, Lewis was a writer at MERGE Atlanta (formerly Dodge Communications), where he wrote thought leadership articles, white papers, case studies, blog posts, website copy and other pieces of PR and marketing content for dozens of healthcare and healthcare IT clients over four years. Prior to that, he was an independent writer and editor focused on healthcare and health IT, creating content for clients that appear in national publications and websites. Lewis started his writing career at a daily newspaper and then business publications in the Greater Cleveland, Ohio area, where he won eight feature writing awards from Cleveland regional and state journalism organizations. Lewis then joined Medical Economics magazine, the leading business resource for primary care physicians, where he won three writing awards from the American Society of Healthcare Publication Editors (ASHPE), including two Gold Awards. He earned a bachelor's degree in English-Journalism from Miami University of Ohio.