Friday, July 29, 2011


I mentioned earlier this week that National Health Center Week is right around the corner ( Aug 7-13) and all across the county, community health centers are publicizing their events. Their intent is to bring attention to the work of community health centers - bringing preventative & primary care to over 20 million Americans regardless of insurance or ability to pay. Their publicity efforts will draw patients in for services, dignitaries in for tours & media in to cover that.  This year many will integrate social media and their websites more than ever before. Here are some tips for using the digital domain to publicize their activity.

1. Link related content to your press release and distribute it online, by email. To help editors and reporters gain background easily, hyperlink key phrases straight to online sources for more information. Connect them to your website, NACHC's Health Center Week website, but also HRSA, state sources, or anywhere you think will give them insight to the greater story: that changes in Medicaid or health care reform policy that affect community health centers will change the lives and health care of people in your community.

2. Post your press releases on your website.  Search engines may pick it up there before any news coverage or announcements in the press are printed. Publicity in the digital age can be immediate, and a press release can become news before news media chooses to help make it so.

3. Optimize your press release by using strong key words. It is not enough to build a who-what-when-where-how lead to attract attention anymore.  You must create content that improves search engine results while you provide information. Google Insights is a place to start identifying what key words will achieve good results.

Here's a simple example of how this can work. I entered five key words:
Health Care, Insurance, Back-to-School, 
National Health Center Week, & Medical Home 
Some community health centers are currently gaining official "medical home" designation and it is a term used to describe a comprehensive health care center. Lots of back-to-school giveaways and innoculations occur during National Health Center Week. Many people who are unemployed and out of insurance. Community health centers are a place for them.

When I compared how often these terms show up in search rankings I learned that people search the web for information concerning "insurance" more other terms listed, on the web.  Here you'll see results of comparisons in the "Health" category. I also checked related categories, like "Lifestyles," "Business," and "Local" and though different, confirmed the term most searched was "Insurance." You can narrow the search to your region or Metro area, as well.

This graph tells me health centers should highlight their mission to serve the uninsured, especially during this economic downturn time. Decribing fully why an FQHC can do that OR adding a quote from a clinician, patient or community leader who mentions that, may bring their press release to the attention of readers who need them or reporters who are writing about the economy, or health care, or community health centers.

Google Insights is just one tool community health center PR people can use to optimize and maximize their publicity efforts. There are many more, and many I do not understand yet, but I'm learning.

Are you working on Health Center Week? Did this help?

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