Four tips to consider in today’s health care messaging

Communication in the healthcare industry has been evolving exponentially in the past few years, allowing many healthcare organizations to better connect with the media to reach their audiences effectively.

Recently, our team of public relations and communications strategists spoke at the Pennsylvania Association of Community Health Centers conference about how leveraging media for exposure has contributed to the evolution of health care communications.

Here are four key takeaways:

1. Proactive communications

Analyze the type of communication you need and create a communications plan that highlights steps to take within your organization, keeping in mind internal and external audiences:

    • Internal: Ensure all employees understand the overall message, so any exchange of information or facts is consistent and concise. Having an internal communications plan guarantees everyone stays on the same page to avoid misinformation and inconsistencies.
    • External: Reach out to the media before they contact you, regardless of positive or negative news. Offer yourself as a resource for a potential topic and get ahead of the message before negative public opinion arises.

2. Newsrooms and media makeup

Understand that many reporters are no longer working in the newsroom. Take a more strategic approach when reaching out to them. For example, get familiar with their work schedule – weekday crew vs. weekend crew – as well as their social media platforms.

Update contact information. A reporter you met a while ago may no longer work at the outlet. Also, connect with as many media personnel as possible on a more personal level – they are often overloaded with emails and pitches.

3. Media targets & messaging outlets

Think about the five W’s: Who, why, what, when, and where. These questions will help you narrow the time frame and type of channel or platform to deliver your message successfully. Five owned media to consider for your communications are:

    • Local media
    • Social media platforms
    • Website
    • Email blast to partner/stakeholders and legislators
    • Internal communication

4. Social media content

Social media is an essential part of health care messaging because of the medium’s accessibility and popularity. Be prepared to interact with your followers and newcomers, including criticism, praise, questions, and links. For example, respond timely but carefully, do not delete posts or block followers (unless they are profane or threatening), and do not engage in a continuous series of comments from the same poster. Use social media to distribute the message as soon as possible to prevent people from forming false and misguided narratives.

Our team also emphasized the importance of designating the correct spokesperson. Find a professional who is knowledgeable and can speak confidently about your topic. Ensure they are aware of their body language because negative body language can diminish a speaker’s influence and credibility.

Listen to the full conference here.

Does your healthcare organization need a communications plan?

If you’re looking to create, update or refresh your communications plan, contact one of our health care communications strategists today to talk about how Gavin can influence YOUR health care messaging.