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Marketing & PR tips for your Community Health Center

Marketing & PR tips for your Community Health Center

According to the National Association of Community Health Centers, approximately 62 million Americans lack access to primary care because of a variety of factors that include geography, income and a shortage of available doctors. Nearly half (42 percent) are low-income and 28 percent live in rural areas.

As statistics continue to highlight the challenge so many face to receive health care, they also reinforce the importance of improving access to care. This is an opportunity to share the value community health centers can bring to underserved communities who are in desperate need of resources. In order to promote the unique and invaluable services your CHC provides, Henry Schein, Inc.'s Corporate Communications Team offers the following PR and Marketing tactics to help raise your profile within the community you serve.

Checklist:

  1. Create a Media List
    a. If you do not have media relationships, start by identifying key contacts at your daily/weekly community and business newspapers who cover community news, events and health care topics, as well as assignment editors and health reporters at your local CBS, NBC, FOX, ABC and CW TV affiliates, in addition to your local radio station's public affairs directors. You can find contact information by 1) visiting the websites of your local media and looking for the Contact Us tab, which will give you atleast a starting point; some sites will link to the entire 'team' or 'staff' of 'editorial' contacts; 2) reaching out to your local Chamber of Commerce for a list of reporter names and numbers 3) googling your town or city's Wikipedia page as these sites often feature a Media section listing the names of publications
  2. Develop and distribute Media Materials
    a. Once contacts are identified, build a rapport with local media so your CHC stays top of mind for future press opportunities. To help feed this ongoing dialogue, develop 1) Press Releases when you are announcing an upcoming event, which can be sent to Calendar & Event editors, as well as to announce major news that can benefit the local community 2)Media Advisories to be sent to local print and broadcast press the week of your event, outlining the 'who,' what,' 'where,' when' and 'why' of your event to attract media to be onsite, and then make following up calls to the general number, and ask for the 'newsroom' or 'newsdesk'3) after events, send event summaries with photos for post-coverage 4) Bylined Article that address a health care trend or concern 5) Public Service Announcements that can be shared with radio and TV in hopes that they will air on these local stations for further promotion of an event or health care topic, typically used to promote a call to action or to reinforce tips the community can consider during a time of year or health observance (Ex. For National Community Health Center Week, CHC [Name] offers the following tips to engage in healthy, active lifestyles...)
  3. Create and utilize Social Media channels (Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Hangout, YouTube, etc)
    a. Create a Facebook and Twitter account if you have the manpower to continuously feed text and multimedia content that will help increase Facebook 'Likes,' 'Friends,' 'Fans' and 'Shares' and Twitter 'Followers,' 'Favorites' and 'Retweets.' These profiles will help generate more exposure for your CHC. Content may include CHC news and announcements, videos and pictures from recent events, articles from national newspapers and journals that educate your online audience about important health issues. Similar content can be shared on Linkedin and YouTube pages. Google Hangouts is essentially a video interview using a web camera and Gmail account, best offered to reporters who may be interested to feature this multimedia content on their website. Also, consider hosting a blog that can be found on your website, featuring testimonials from community members who have reaped the benefits of your service. Blog posts can be shared on social media channels by uploading the link when there are new posts to promote.
  4. Organized Events (Breakfasts, Receptions, etc.)
    a. Consider events hosted at CHCs that will help bring more people through the door. Events may include media receptions where local reporters can attend to learn more about the CHC and to tour the facility. Host informational events that are open to the public so they can find out more information and provide you with feedback with services that are most in need, or are lacking for community.

As community health centers committed to improving access to care for individuals and families, consider all your communications channels to help raise awareness in your community and drive more patient traffic from those most in need. If you have any questions about marketing and public relations strategies, please feel free to email CorporateCommunications@henryschein.com. Together, we can "help health happen."