Angela O’Mara is the president of The Professional Image Inc (TPI), a public-relations (PR) firm specializing in medical practices that has been in business since 1988. With well-established media contacts in local and national television and radio, magazines, newspapers, and Internet media, TPI delivers reliable and accurate information and has a proven placement track record.

What techniques do you use to “plant” stories in prestigious media outlets?

The Professional Image has been involved in media relations for almost 20 years. While we rely on our media contacts to help determine the validity of a story or pitch, we also keep a keen eye on the market and can generally assess trends before they happen. This keeps our firm on the cutting edge of news and has made us a direct and qualified resource to media across the nation.

How do you come up with ideas for your marketing campaigns?

We treat each client as a completely individual practice, not just another plastic surgery practice. Everyone has a story to tell, and it is up to our team to help a client determine what that story is. Some physicians are involved in research or clinical studies and reach out to TPI because they are aware of the value of what they are doing. Others know they require PR and marketing assistance and need us to help them determine their goals. We do this by reviewing all past marketing efforts, discussing goals and expectations, meeting with staff, and analyzing local demographics when necessary. This allows us to provide a critical review to the client so that we can initiate a well-designed and thorough program.

What are some things that plastic surgeons should not do that would negatively affect their practice growth?

A physician should not become or remain stagnant in his or her approach to practice growth. Most small business owners spend more time working “in” the business (performing surgery and dealing with staff and equipment issues), rather than working “on” the business (setting goals, creating market share, and developing ideas and alternate revenue sources). Another thing I see many physicians doing is spending money on things that have a slow return on investment. For instance, buying paid television advertising rather than PR is often a waste of time and money. By the time a television commercial has been created and placed on the station during peak viewing hours, the physician may find that he or she has spent thousands of dollars with little response. However, a good publicist could have them placed on several top news programs in the same amount of time and with a far greater consumer response.

How do you help physicians prepare for educational seminars?

We help physicians with all aspects of educational seminars. We begin from scratch and help determine location, advertising design, schedule, and invitations. We also provide local PR assistance to physicians who have experience preparing their own educational seminars.