It’s been a little over a year since the World Health Organization declared Covid-19 as a pandemic. The new living conditions that have taken a toll on both physical and mental health, have put healthcare under the spotlight and made it one of the most discussed topics across media and social platforms. It is startling to even think about the number of features healthcare has been covered in since then. But volumes do not necessarily make for effective and relevant communication. Healthcare service and solution providers have learnt that best during the pandemic. For a while the noise and decibel levels remained high, most grappled to connect, engage and be of relevance to their key stakeholders and to the people. Here are five key takeaways from the pandemic for healthcare communicators:
1. Building awareness among people and educating them must be an ongoing consistent effort
Healthcare as a subject has grown to become more complex over the years and despite extensive information available on the internet today, the average citizen is confused, lacks awareness or is often misinformed and misguided. As a result, they look for more and more authentic and credible sources of information to educate themselves on diverse and complex medical and health issues. Addressing this need to be educated, is the first and most important goal of healthcare communicators and you need not wait for an occasion or a global pandemic to do this. It should be a consistent and ongoing effort, in the process developing a strong brand connect and recall.
2. Leverage your owned web and social assets better and integrate your earned and owned media efforts to increase reach and effectiveness
Your owned media platforms- your website, social pages are your biggest assets today, allowing you to control your messaging and engage directly with your followers and stakeholders. Most healthcare providers have not understood the significance of this and at best put out posts to keep their page active. Instead, it is time you leverage these media to communicate about your initiatives, to develop a more informed patient audience and to influence the perception of your users.
3. Integrate your earned and owned media efforts to increase reach and effectiveness
The pandemic has once again brought to the fore the importance of an integrated communication strategy and its growing importance to the healthcare sector in specific. Inconsistent communication at the point of experience or across paid media, earned media and your owned media could result in an unwelcomed crisis to handle. Ignoring any of the key media platforms or focusing extensively on communication through limited or narrow channels, might just mean your message does not have the reach to a more relevant audience. Therefore, it is important for you to adopt an integrated communication strategy that communicates the same message and amplifies it through multiple and relevant platforms.
4. Build a team of specialists and doctors trained in external communication
In healthcare PR, credibility is among the biggest and most important factors. The reason why you need to identify specialists, with deep medical and technical knowledge, is so that they can simplify it and communicate in layman’s language, to be better understood by people. The key is to engage doctors and specialists in the relevance of communication and train them to do so effectively, representing your brand.
5. Communicate your initiatives and efforts to provide better services
In a digital world, your user is more and better informed. Ensure you proactively communicate about how you as a service provider are striving to make the user experience more convenient, easy and transparent. It could be digitization of services and information, taking your services to the customer’s doorstep, investing in advanced technology and equipment or anything that will help the user avail better services and position you as a brand that cares.
A more informed world is a healthier world. Talk to us to plan and run a structured PR and communication campaign for you across media and social/digital platforms. Happy World Health Day.