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Feature | May 2017

Changing the Subject…

12 Non-partisan lessons for dealing with the media taken from the 2016 Presidential Campaign based on a presentation given at the Foundation for Facial Aesthetic Surgery Meeting in New Orleans, 2017

Negative vs Positive Media Attention

Much like you, candidates want positive media attention. It doesn’t always work out that way …

Negative media attention for plastic surgeons includes plastic surgery disasters/bad celebrity plastic surgery/death by Brazilian butt lifts/highly publicized personal and professional scandals.

The key is to avoid negative press when possible...

1. Don’t Bait

Chastising the media does no good. If you don’t like what they are saying about you, don’t say anything at all… unless what they are saying is 100% patently untrue.

In these cases a cease-and-desist letter may stop the attack. Suing for libel or defamation isn’t that easy or inexpensive.

The burden on proof will fall on you. If it were easy, we’d probably have seen many suits filed in election 2016. You must show actual malice to prove defamation and the information must be false.

2. Don’t Make It Personal

If you don’t like what someone wrote or said about you, don’t attack them personally. The pen is mightier than the sword and you don’t want to make enemies in the media.

Flattery will get you everywhere. Instead of complaining, compliment a reporter on what they got right or how well they covered a subject. Offer yourself up as a source in the future.

3. Do Put Yourself First

Putting other people down doesn’t make you look good … ever.

This is true in politics and elsewhere. Instead of pointing out why the dentist down the street shouldn’t do plastic surgery, explain your background and credentials to illustrate why you should.

4. Don’t Play Favorites

Yes, you want to be on Dr. Oz, but does that mean you should refuse all trade and online opportunities? It’s OK to have a targeted media plan and a wish list, but consider widening your focus as the more your name is seen, the more it will get noticed ... even by Dr. Oz’s producers.

5. Don’t Pivot

If you are being interviewed about Topic A, don’t try to turn it over to topic B. It never works.

6. Do Come Prepared

There is no such thing as being overprepared unless you can’t deviate from your script. If you are under-prepared, it will show, your quotes will likely not make the cut, and there won’t be a next time. If you just spit out pre-processed sound bites or appear overly buttoned-up, you are also at risk. Always answer questions with a fresh take based on your experience.

7. Be Transparent

Fact checkers may be a dying breed, but the Twitterverse is far less forgiving than any that I have ever worked for or with. If you said it or did it, there is probably some digital record and it can and will be used against you – likely with a catchy #hashtag.

Avoid this by letting the reporter know about any ties you have to the manufacturer including whether you paid for the device when discussing the game-changing benefits of a new technology.

8. Do Check Your Facts

This falls along the same lines of being transparent and being prepared. If you misspeak, someone will call you on it – maybe even your toughest competitor. If you say rhinoplasty was the No 1 surgery performed in women in 2016, you need to be right.

A good policy is to quote solid data by a reputable group such as the AAFPRS. Always tell media whose statistic it is so they can confirm it and include correct attribution.

9. Hashtags Matter

Whether #imwithher, #imnotwithher #dumptrump, #crookedhillary or #feelthebern, hashtags get your messages noticed. The more clever, the better but they should also be highly searched and trending.

Where to find trending #s

10. Beware Fake News

There is such a thing, and forwarding it, posting it as if it’s real, commenting on it or creating it is unwise.

Fake News in Cosmetic Surgery?

Fake news is not just widespread in politics – plastic surgery has its fair share – whether fake statistics that can’t easily be validated; unsubstantiated celebrity news; or the glossing over of risks, recovery downtime or pain associated with any procedure. Tread carefully.

11. You Never Know …

Polls can be wrong, and predictions are a fool’s game. The polls can get it wrong maybe because of who did or who didn’t answer them. This casts a new light on organization annual statistics about what procedures are trending and which are tanking. Always answer your organization’s annual survey!

12. It’s Never Over

You can’t just rip up a newspaper or magazine article anymore. They are immortalized by the web so you never know when you or one of your patients will see your words again.

This can work for you as well..When you get good ink, post it, tweet it, share it.. All of which will increase digital shelf life .

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