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VNN Media Insider Newsletter November 19th, 2009
In This Issue
Breaking News
Facebook and the Veterinary Hospital
Dr. Jim's Media Corner
Top Five Reasons Social Media is Important
Featured Article
Red LIght siren
Oregon Cat Dies From Presumed H1N1 Infection
According to the AVMA, the Oregon Public Health Veterinarian has reported that a pet cat has died from a presumed H1N1 infection.  Confirmatory results are still pending and we will keep you updated as the story develops.
Persian Kitten
California Cities Continue Attempts to Ban Declaws!
We continue to follow this story because of the implications it has for the oversight of veterinary medicine.  Your VNN staff and fellow VNN Reporters have designed Message Points on these ordinances to help you with questions from the media.
Featured Article
Facebook icon
Facebook is more than catching up with old high school buddies.   Facebook is quickly becoming a force for providing a niche audience with your messsage.
You can see what your fellow VNN Reporters are doing on Facebook by viewing our newest resource on Social Media Page.
Log in to and click on the Extras Tab.  Click on the link for Social Media Links and you can review how other busy veterinarians are promoting their expertise and their hospitals.
We will also archive these newsletters as well as provide training materials for using a variety of social media sites.
All of these resources are benefits that you gain from your membership in VNN!!
Quick Links...
Dear VNN Reporter: 

Today you are receiving our Media Insider Newsletter.  We hope that this resource proves helpful for your traditional and new media work.  As mentioned last week, you might want to set up a folder in your email inbox and save these valuable insights.  We also have a page set up at under the Extras Tab so that you can review archived material.  See the sidebar to the left on how to access this great information.
*NOTE* - If you don't see Dr. Jim's picture in his Media Corner below or the Red Light Alert picture to the left, please click on the "Trouble viewing this email link" listed above in order to see the full email.  You should also add this email address to your "Safe Senders" list.
Online Publishing Means Writing, so....
 How Do Busy Professionals Find Time To Write? 
Dr. Jim Humphries
In order to be successful at both traditional media and online media you need to write.  Everything from 140 characters in the case of Twitter to 600-800 words for traditional print or even Blogs.  Even our forums require writing - albeit very short and direct answers. 

The great thing about writing is that you can do it part time or full time and need very little resources to get started.  But you do need to get started.  Writing every day will help you do that, it helps build stamina and enforces a rhythm in your writing.

Try this - when sitting down for the first time of the day do a word dump. Open up a new document and force yourself to start writing, even if it's "I'm really not in the mood to be writing right now, I would much rather be fishing........"

Just write it, it doesn't even have to make much sense. Fill up about 500 words minimum. Don't try to write, just the words flow, make mistakes, ignore grammar and spelling rules. What you will find is that this exercises the part of the brain which does the writing, and at the end of limbering up you should be more in the mood to write.

Plus, you will have blown off any excess thoughts by putting them into words and uncluttering them from your mind, leaving your brain free to be filled with the important stuff.

You may also find that this free association method of writing produces some interesting writing which you can use later. Lob that off into another document, save the document, knowing that the next day you start to write you will crank out another.

I need a routine, as my mind can wonder as easily. Make a specific period of time for writing only, and by writing I don't mean twitter, something of some substance for your web site, or your blog.

Develop a routine, the brain has its own internal clock and will know when it is time to start writing and prepare. The brain is an amazing thing and the subconscious can do a lot of the heavy lifting if we allow it.

If you are new to being a writer explore the best time for you to write. For some people it can be afternoons or late at night. For me it's definitely morning while the caffeine is still a good blood levels. The afternoon for me is a writer's dead zone; I pick up again after 7 and can write till late.

When you have a routine you find you can make time for it and hopefully emergencies don't interrupt too much. And just a quick word, turn the IM, the twitter client, and the email off. They are not needed for the goal of writing.

I'm amazed at how many ideas I get when doing something else, and sometimes they happen on the rare occasion when I don't have my notebook and pen with me. Always carry a notebook and when you have a thought, write it down, and don't trust your memory.

Walking is a great aid to the thought process of writing, but it can be so hard to unshackle yourself from the computer and the Internet and let your mind wonder. Discipline is required and to be a writer you must have it.

Think about the articles you are writing and different ways you can approach the same subject - especially one that has been done and done.  Think about future articles and problems you can solve. Most articles are about solving a problem, as you go about your daily business keep your eye out for problems and instead of having a moan about them think about how you would approach it in an article.

For example, you could have a problem with consistently difficult client or case.  Think of that as an opportunity to write (express and "vent") on that subject in your writing/blog.  You may not ever use it, but it helps exercise you writing muscles and neural pathways, plus one day someone may ask you to write such an article and wouldn't it be great to simply reach into your file and say, "Already done".

Get into the writing habit - yes, even with our very busy lives - and you will find it is easy and very productive. 
The Top FIve Reasons Social Media is Important to YOU! 
 Thomas F Dock, Reporter Relations Manager
If you are like most small businesses, you probably feel that times are tough right now.  It's difficult for you to justify time spent using social media for your hospital. Maybe you don't see how social media can help your hospital or you haven't made time to learn it.   The fact is social communications are changing and it's not a simple fad!!.  "Word of mouth" advertising is one of the strongest forms of endorsement to potential clients.  In reality, social media is simply "word of mouth" done electronically.  It is also done on a very large scale and it's mostly free!

By next year (2010), Generation Y (those born between 1974-1980) will outnumber baby boomers in our population.  A whopping 96% of this generation has some sort of social media account and 71% have two or more.  It might be Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or one of dozens of other smaller sites.  In the United States during 2008, more than 12% of all marriages involved couples who had met on a social media site.  Social media activities are the #1 reason many people use the Internet.

We all try hard to minimize the effects of mistakes and mis-communications in our practices.  And, we have all heard that one upset client will tell 20 others of their bad experience.   Now, keep in mind that 80% of all Twitter activity happens via a mobile device.   Imagine the effects of an upset client who can Twitter before they even leave your parking lot!!  You NEED to know what is being said about your business.  And, you NEED to be proactive about providing information to clients and potential clients.

People on social networks trust what their "friends" and Twitter buddies are saying.  In fact, 78% trust peer recommendations versus a measly 14% who trust advertisements.  The secrecy, mistakes, and general aloofness of huge corporations have made people very leery of almost all mass advertising.  And by its very nature, paid advertising is extremely biased!   Think of how VNN has helped by training veterinarians who provide objective third party endorsement.  You can continue this type of work in the social media!

With social media techniques, you can reach clients and potential clients in a way that demonstrates your expertise and generates a feeling of trustworthiness.  Setting up a Facebook account and/or a Twitter account for your hospital can help you generate "followers" or "fans" who can then help spread your message to their friends.  It's truly "word of mouth" done on a grand scale!

Dr. Jim says in today's world of instant communication "news finds us", we no longer search for news.  The same is true for products and services; consumers will wait for these things to find them.   It's all happening now...via social media networks. 

Join the network!  As a VNN reporter you should be leading the way in this new media communications.  We are here to help you with diving in and we can simplify the process. 
Remember, Dr. Jim and I are available if you have any questions about social media or how to get started.  You can call Dr. Jim at 719-495-2100 or email him at  My contact information is below.
Our goal is to continue to provide you with the highest level of media resources and information to grow your practice through publicity and PR. 

Thomas Dock
Veterinary News Network