Early on, Write2Market CEO Lisa Calhoun identified Internet video as a tool to help our clients earn the recognition they deserve as industry leaders. Over the past year we have been ramping up our video capabilities and partnerships, as you will see by visiting our YouTube channel. The testimony of Lee Aase, Director of the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media, during the recent PRWeb webinar, entitled “Media relations for healthcare organizations: How heavily should the media factor into your PR mix?,” is a fantastic example of how video often leads to increased social media and national media coverage.

Aase told the story of a professional baseball player whose video interview about a condition he incurred years ago, and the research that helped him return to the sport he loved, was placed on the Mayo Clinic blog in 2009. The story quickly gained the attention of traditional and social media outlets, and it ultimately eliminated decades of chronic pain for patients across the nation dealing with the same condition–such as the young woman who learned what had been causing her wrist pain on Twitter.

Jayson Werth is a professional baseball player who was severely injured when a pitch hit his wrist while playing for the LA Dodgers during the first game of spring training 2005. Werth did not know it at the time, but he had incurred a tear in a wrist ligament. Werth sought relief through corrective surgery but the operation would only cause him more pain and frustration in the end. He was losing hope that he would ever play baseball again by the time Werth’s neighbor suggested he meet with Dr. Richard Berger at Mayo Clinic.

Dr. Berger diagnosed Werth with an Ulnotriquetral (UT) Ligament Split Tear, a condition Dr. Berger had discovered in 2001 and 2002. Fortunately for Werth, by 2006 Dr. Berger also had the ability to perform an operation that would correct the tear, removing the obstacle to continuing Werth’s career in professional baseball.

According to Dr. Berger, this particular tear is as common as an anterior cruciate ligamen (ACL) tear, yet for many, it went misdiagnosed or undiagnosed by orthopedic surgeons, for years, because it is impossible to see through magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), unless you are looking for a UT tear specifically. After Werth’s diagnosis; however, this would change.

Although Dr. Berger had been accessing the traditional avenues of publicizing his research, he had not had much success in the national media, even as Werth signed an $850,000 contract with the Philadelphia Phillies in late 2006. Werth, however went on to hit a couple of home runs that put the Phillies into the World Series 2 years later. Aase believed that this was the perfect public relations opportunity to gain notoriety for Dr. Berger’s research. Unfortunately, no national media picked up the story until the next year when Werth again hit a couple of home runs to put the Phillies in the 2009 World Series.

In 2009, Aase changed his strategy with this story and he believes it had everything to do with the  momentum the story gained subsequently. Aase had the opportunity to interview Werth earlier in the year, on a trip to Philadelphia. He took his Flip camera along. By posting the video of Werth’s interview on the Mayo Clinic blog and using it to pitch media, Dr. Berger’s research finally received national media attention–in a big way.

USA TODAY, the most-widely circulated paper in the U.S., covered the story in their Health Section. They also incorporated social media through an hour-long Twitter session with Dr. Berger on the day the article was published.

During the Twitter session with Dr. Berger Erin Turner, also suffering from a UT tear, learned of the condition. Shortly thereafter she traveled to meet Dr. Berger where she was diagnosed and operated upon quickly. When Werth was in her hometown for opening day the following year, the fully-recovered patients, Werth and Turner, compared scars. Turner thanked Werth for sharing his story and USA TODAY was there to capture it. Meanwhile, Dr. Berger’s research was gaining traction.

In his correspondence with Aase, Dr. Berger credited the integration of Werth’s video interview, social media and national media for driving “…this [surgery] into practice in less than two years, when it take 17 years on average!” If this integrated campaign led to Dr. Berger performing more of the surgeries in the first half of 2010 than he did in all of 2009, imagine what an integrated video campaign can do for your industry-leading company.

Write2Market’s work is based on Lisa Calhoun’s proven Triple A Leadership model (Awards, Access and Awareness) for creating recognizable industry leaders. Visit our Youtube channel and see videos we are now using to not only to gain awareness in the media for our clients but to also help them secure access to coveted speaking opportunities.

Post Written By: Denise

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