Time and time again, doctors pull me aside at conferences and ask me if they should hire a publicist, and rarely is there a yes or no answer to this seemingly simple question.

I usually respond by asking why they are considering a hire.

Are you looking to book more surgeries?
Make more money?
Show your peers how amazing you are doing?
Upstage that cocky resident who seems to be everywhere?

A lot of times the answer is all of the above.

If the doctor is new to the publicity game, I suggest some DIY exercises to see if talking to the media is, in fact, something they have the bandwidth for, will enjoy or will help them achieve any of the above goals.

1. Build Your Contacts

Publicists are valued because of their extensive media contacts and connections. A publicist who is worth their fee can pick up the phone, and get you in front of producers, bloggers and journalists in the snap of a finger.

You can be charming too, and begin to build relationships without a middleman.
Introduce yourself by email to any b2b or consumer journalists you respect including influential beauty or mommy bloggers. Let them know you are willing discuss a wealth of topics. (Tip: Don’t cold call them as most media prefer an initial email to a phone call especially when they are juggling multiple deadlines.)

If you have a university affiliation, check in with your public affairs officer and tell them about your areas of expertise and provide them with your contact information. It may help to let the officer know about anything exciting in your specialty from newly approved fillers and new stats from a major medical association to research published in a journal. He or she may be able to reach out to their media contacts for you. (If you do score an interview, make sure to thank the reporter and add him or her to your burgeoning data base.)

Other outlets such as “Newswise’s “Expert Pitch” and Help A Reporter Out allow doctors like you to list themselves as experts. Sign up and see if the hits start coming.

All of these simple exercises require minimal effort on your part and will help build a pretty impressive media list. They will likely produce enough hits to give you a feel for what is involved in publicity, and in some cases, you may want to take things to the next level by hiring a publicist. (Always share your interviews and clips on your website, blog and social media channels for maximum exposure.)