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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

FIELD GUIDE: Health Systems

While I think hyper-analysis is usually the enemy of cold calling, I do want to talk about some of the different clients you're likely to encounter out there. I'll offer just a few quick pointers on how to approach them on the phone and what they might be looking for in a writer.

Since it's the one I'm most familiar with, I'll kick off with:

HEALTH SYSTEMS

Nature of the beast: One large umbrella company that operates hospitals, doctors' offices and often extras like a charitable foundation. Some local health systems are owned by even larger conglomerates, but generally each regional system does its own marketing.

Approachability Level: Excellent. Most health marketing folks know all about freelancers, so very little education will be required on your part. 


What they need from freelancers: Anything and everything. Press releases, articles for their newsletters, advertorials, brochures, patient letters, TV and radio spots, grant support, fund raising materials and internal communications.

Two off-beat projects I received through hospitals/health systems include an award speech and a ghostwritten fiction book. Both were exceedingly fun to work on.

Ask for: The marketing department (check online press releases for a name and contact info).

Potential to Become a Regular: High. I've heard of several folks making well over $1,000 a month from health system/hospital gigs. 

Caveats: The good news in Fort Collins is we have a large health system that produces tons of writing. The bad news: it owns just about every health facility in a fifty mile radius, which cuts down on the number of potential health system clients.

Some health systems (particularly smaller ones) write in-house, hire agencies or simply don't have the budget for freelancers.

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