From hospitals and healthcare associations to pharmaceutical and HealthTech companies, the healthcare industry has become an increasingly difficult market for businesses to stand out. Combined with the constant need to be adapting and evolving to meet patient needs and the complex state of health affairs, it’s easy to see why healthcare executives are feeling the heat to improve their PR and marketing strategies.

A recent study from Invoca shows that 60 percent of consumers run a search before ever scheduling an appointment with a physical therapist, nursing home, or optometrist. By developing a robust PR plan that mixes both traditional and digital marketing tactics, healthcare specialists and doctors can now use healthcare marketing to showcase their expertise, gain recognition, increase specialty awareness and boost their reputation so that consumers find the research they need to see to book an appointment.

What Are the Benefits of PR Campaigns for Healthcare?

Whether promoting new locations, unveiling new partnerships, or highlighting practice specialties, a streamlined healthcare PR campaign can be a useful tool in controlling messaging and setting the narrative for your target audience.

Depending on your goals for your campaign, the strategies used will vary but some of the most common digital marketing tactics healthcare companies use include:

  • Local Search Engine Optimization
  • Search Engine Marketing
  • Display Advertising
  • Email Marketing
  • Social Media Advertising
  • Online Brand Management

When professional PR agencies like Communications Strategy Group (CSG®) manage PR campaigns for healthcare customers, you tap into their team’s decades of healthcare digital marketing expertise that would cost you $1M+ to get the same expertise hired in-house. Below are three benefits that provide immense value in healthcare marketing and PR campaigns for healthcare:

It Makes it Easier to Target Those Who Have a Specific Condition

People who have specific conditions are going to search out specialists nearby with that specific condition in the search bar. Healthcare digital marketing unlocks more precise targeting and allows you to target consumers through certain search keywords.

Improves the Patient Experience

PR campaigns can help improve the patient’s experience by observing first-hand accounts of experiences, both good and bad. Hearing stories about the health benefits for both readers and listeners help make tough narratives less chaotic.

Allows You to Be More Creative in Your Marketing

PR campaigns allow more creative freedom to set the tone and narrative for your story from the beginning. Working with a healthcare marketing PR agency can streamline communications, brainstorm out-of-the-box ideas, and optimize creative assets for maximum impact.

Take Inspiration From These Healthcare PR Campaigns

Below we will examine five notable online healthcare marketing campaigns and the importance of health awareness campaigns. Each campaign has the right mix of tactics and innovative strategies for an effective PR campaign other brands can emulate and take inspiration for future healthcare campaign ideas.

One of the fastest ways to get the creative juices flowing is by taking inspiration from other healthcare marketing campaigns when creating your own campaign. By looking at what has worked well for others, you can swipe healthcare campaign ideas to target your audience and communicate your message.

1. New York-Presbyterian Hospital: Sharing Patient’s Personal Stories Through Videos

True patient stories provide an inspirational reminder of who is being helped — patients — and what patients could expect should they ever need services. The New York-Presbyterian Hospital shared video stories of previous patients they have already helped to show potential customers what to expect there.

2. Sickle Cell Disease Association of America: Believe It!

Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) occurs in one in every 365 Black Americans and affects an estimated 100,000 individuals in the US. The Sickle Cell Disease Association of America, Inc. (SCDAA) and Forma Therapeutics created the powerful Believe It! PSA campaign to advance meaningful understanding of SCD through TV commercials and a radio PSA.

3. Education on COVID-19 Vaccine by AdCouncil: Online Information Drive

A recent example is the education around the COVID-19 vaccine by Ad Council. They encouraged people to visit their webpage and ask whatever questions they wanted about the COVID-19 vaccine. The idea is that you can combat misinformation with more information on why the vaccine is a positive solution, and then as a result see higher vaccination rates.

4. We Dare You by UnitedHealthcare: Online Community Building

The “We Dare You” Campaign by UnitedHealthcare encouraged people to be healthy by “daring” them to make a single small change to live healthier and then share a photo of themselves performing the same dare on social media. More than 3,000 photos later and the campaign won three Communicator Awards, two Hermes Awards, two Healthcare Advertising Awards and an Aster Award.

CSG worked with Kaiser Permanente on a campaign to inspire life-saving change behavior. Kaiser Permanente realized that its members with the highest breast cancer risk were de-prioritizing their own health in favor of their families’ needs. This integrated healthcare marketing campaign would focus on changing behaviors and inspiring them to get screened.

The results? Out of 13 million Kaiser Permanente members:

  • 10 percent increase in mammography rates
  • 191 percent of the screening goal complete
  • 912 members screened for breast cancer

The messages of self-care and better care for others resonated. Not only was there a 10 percent increase in mammography rates, but there was almost double the number of members who showed up (from 476 to 912).

5. The Mayo Clinic Campaign: Content Marketing Through Blogs

This marketing campaign includes posts from patients and caregivers worldwide and had three goals:

  1. Educate providers with first-hand patient stories
  2. Offer a “day in the life” look for patients and caregivers dealing with certain conditions
  3. Provide opportunities for quality improvement

The Mayo Clinic started keeping and updating a blog that showcased stories from patients, family, and Mayo Clinic Staff. Mayo Clinic is a trusted healthcare center and one of the reasons is its dense resources that are featured there.

CSG worked with Eating Recovery Center on a campaign focused on saving lives through public relations, content marketing, and leadership. CSG’s efforts assisted Eating Recovery Center in putting the spotlight on a critical mental health conversation and highlighting the awareness of their doctors as specialized eating disorders experts.

Learn These Strategies to Craft an Effective PR Campaign

This section will help you understand the most effective pieces of a PR strategy for healthcare that best suits your company’s needs. With an overview of the different types of PR campaigns available, the goal will be to create a campaign that is most likely to help you achieve your PR goals.

One of the biggest mistakes brands can make with their PR strategy for healthcare is siloing marketing and PR efforts. Without cohesion between them, your campaign message will get lost and your audience may end up confused. Marketing and advertising should complement your PR efforts inside a holistic plan with strategies for every channel. Use the five strategies below if you want to create an effective PR campaign based on decades of public relations experience.

Create a Profile for Your Target Market/Audience

Before any healthcare PR campaign planning begins you must have a firm understanding of your target audience by developing a buyer persona. Defining the buyer persona, also known as a marketing or customer persona, will help you tailor your content strategy and tone to the needs and interests of the avatar customer.

The first step will be to gather data from market research and customer surveys to generate a detailed profile of your ideal customer. In the ideal world, all of the information in your persona should be actual data, but an educated guess of how you believe they will think and behave can be used to help guide you through the process. Include basic demographic information like age, income level, and geographic location, as well as internal motivations and behaviors that will play into their decision-making process.

Leverage the Reach of Social Media Platforms

Different marketing channels will have different audiences. Not everyone who is on Twitter is on Facebook, and vice versa, so wellness business owners must be thoughtful when they select the different platforms they are active on. Choose the platforms where your target audience is most active to ensure that you are putting the right message in front of the right audience you built with your buyer persona. Brands that focus their strategic efforts on providing the most value will see more customers move through each stage of the funnel. CSG worked with Cochlear, the global leader in implantable devices. They had an active social media presence across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube, but no clear content strategy.

Adopt Digital Strategies, but Don’t Neglect Traditional PR and Advertising

CSG took stories of people who had benefited most from Cochlear implants, and strategically sprinkled those stories throughout local and regional earned media and shared media funnels while looking for national trends to insert the story into with national media outlets.

Use Content Marketing on Search Engines to Create Long-Lasting Campaigns

CSG has created a process that develops a foundational content marketing platform that sets the stage for strategic content creation now and in the future. With this foundation in place, we pair it with a holistic approach to make sure it works for multiple platforms and allows for more rapid development of content — both short and long-term.

Implement Influencer Marketing

Influencers are no longer a novel idea, and there are influencers for everything from food to farming. One of the key benefits of using influencers to promote your product or services is that their endorsement is an immediate stamp of approval for your products.

CorePower Yoga enlisted the help of CSG in promoting Yoga on the Rocks at Red Rocks in Morrison, Colo. CSG identified a mix of local influencers ranging from fitness and lifestyle to fashion and yoga bloggers who aligned with CorePower. We then collaborated with influencers to have them run a contest prior to the event with various offers entrants could win, including a complimentary month of yoga at CorePower.

How a PR Agency Can Help in Healthcare PR

Public relations is unrecognizable from what it was even 10 years ago. With over 60 percent of journalists laid off over that time, it has become harder than ever before to get stories in front of the right people. So trying to get content picked up on your own can be a frustrating process if you don’t know the right people to talk to.

One of the best uses of a marketing budget is hiring a professional healthcare PR agency, and not skipping out on their expertise and eye for stories. Specifically, an agency that specializes in messaging for healthcare companies, associations, and medical professionals.

Here are five key ways hiring a PR agency can help healthcare businesses boost their reputation and streamline messaging.

Helps Transcend the Company’s Message

Public relations is essential for creating a cadence of PR activities that elevate the company’s message and help people make business decisions faster. Since third-party content carries more clout with consumers, enlisting the help of a healthcare PR agency actually is getting you closer to closing more sales than you would be if you weren’t working with them.

Helps in Developing Sound Strategies According to Your Goals

Engaging in any kind of marketing or PR activities without a firm grasp of how the strategy maps back to your goals can leave you scratching your head about where you went wrong. Make sure your agency partner helps you identify your monthly, quarterly, and annual goals — and your definition of success for the campaign.

Helps in Making the Company Trustworthy

The fact of the matter is that consumers prefer established companies. That being said, even if you don’t have a long track record of being in business, ongoing and consistent PR branding work will help you build a lasting reputation and image for your business, personnel, and customer base.

Helps in Brand Building

Earned media and positive press help grow trust in your business by generating the perception of a more developed brand. PR for healthcare should focus on your brand’s unique characteristics and selling points.

You should identify three important questions:

  1. What is the product or service you are providing?
  2. What difference does it make?
  3. Why should the customer care or be interested in it?

Helps in Maintaining the Company’s Reputation Across All Channels — Traditional and Non-Traditional

PR agencies don’t wait around until the next crisis hits to protect your reputation. PR agencies take a proactive approach to maintain customer reputations as a shield and hedge against the potential future impact of a crisis on your reputation. Creating demand for a brand means taking an active approach in ensuring your brand is seen for the right reasons in every channel. From traditional PR media like television, radio and newspaper, to digital PR media like websites, social media, and video platforms, PR agencies help brands craft compelling stories that generate the most attention and brand affinity.

FAQs About Healthcare PR campaigns

Why do health promotion campaigns fail?

Health promotion campaigns can fail for several reasons, but the main reason is simple — your strategy was lacking during the planning process. Here are the five most common ways a promotion campaign can go wrong:

  1. You’re using the wrong metrics. If you can’t connect the metrics to which results you are measuring, then it makes sense to go back and look at what your goals are. Do you have the right specific measures of success for your campaign’s outcomes like reach, awareness, and conversions?
  2. Your subject matter experts lack credibility. Credible and accurate content is an essential piece of the trust piece of the PR puzzle.
  3. You are working based on assumptions versus reality. Sometimes there can be a gap in expectations of a specific marketing tactic, but once you make it to execution it falls apart. Making any decisions based on assumptions, rather than data, can lead to less-than-stellar PR results.
  4. You are blinded by data bias. Data biases are any behavioral or operational patterns that obscure the accuracy, clarity, and/or utility of data.
  5. Your campaign isn’t different enough. The healthcare industry is a whole different beast when it comes to healthcare marketing and PR campaigns. Are you taking into account healthcare-specific goals?

What are the best PR channels for healthcare businesses?

The days of sending out a press release to media outlets and calling it a day are over. With competition within the healthcare industry at sky-high levels, it’s important to focus on the PR channels and the content that will move the needle for your reputation. Again, it depends on your goals, but the following PR channels are good for healthcare businesses.

  • Earned Media
  • Influencer Marketing
  • Social Media
  • Trend Jacking
  • Content Marketing

What is the basis of a good PR healthcare campaign?

The basis of an effective public relations healthcare campaign is a crystal clear compelling message that is fully aligned with your organization’s goals and objectives. Not only should this be communicated publicly across all channels, but internal buy-in for this messaging should also be prioritized so that everyone is on the same page when communicating competitive differentiators.

Begin Planning Your Best Healthcare PR Campaigns with Us

Planning the best healthcare PR campaigns means developing clear and compelling messaging that aligns with the business outcomes you want your healthcare business to achieve. Combine clear messaging with a well-executed plan that outlines the tactics that will be used and you will have the tools needed for a successful PR healthcare campaign. Want to find out how to work with CSG on your healthcare campaign ideas? Click here to find out more about leveraging our team’s marketing expertise for your next campaign.