Promoting Your Public Report: A Hands-on Guide
8. Creating Audio Clips or Videos for Download and Use by Media: Strategic Considerations
The goal of promoting your public report is to get others to write, talk, and think about it, as people need to be aware of your report before they will use it. Fortunately, technology can help you create audio and video communication pieces to help spread the word about your public report.
- Make it easy for reporters to cover your public report. With electronic communication, it's now much easier to create interesting communication materials that others can tap into and repost or use for their own purposes. Reporters and others who work for traditional broadcast (i.e., radio and TV) media are often strapped for time and resources. This is especially true for smaller organizations and media outlets. By creating audio clips and short videos for download, you can make their work easier.
- Audio clips. Most computers can record audio clips with simple software and an inexpensive microphone. As you develop a news release or other announcement about your public report or the work of your Collaborative, consider recording a short audio clip that could be used as a quote in a radio reporter's story or replayed by the station in its entirety. You may want to talk with your local radio stations in advance to see what length and file format would be of greatest use to them. Once you've created the audio clips, post them with your traditional news release (connected using hyperlinks) in an area of your Web site dedicated to providing information and resources for reporters and others in the media. Then let the media know that these resources are available for their use.
- Video clips. Another way to extend your communication reach is to create one or more short videos—ideally less than 2 minutes—about your public report or other news from your Collaborative. Most people own or have access to a digital camera that can be used to record these short video clips. The quality of your videos may not satisfy the needs of local TV stations, so they might not run your video in their story. But videos can be used to encourage reporters to interview your leaders and can be used to inform others. For example:
- Post the videos on your public report or Collaborative Web site for the public to watch, as some would rather do that than read a document.
- Post the videos on YouTube and other social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter to create the ability for others to pass it along. The viral spread of social media is a big part of the value: others can share the link with their friends or repost it to expand the number of people who eventually see it.
- Make the clips interesting to your audience. As you explore whether to create audio or video feeds as another tool in your coordinated communication, consider your intended audience carefully to ensure that what you produce will be interesting and useful to them. Simply having someone read from your news release will not produce the results you want. Instead, consider these basic ideas:
- Have consumers talk about some aspect of your public report and what it means to their own health and well-being. It's best if consumers can speak to how they have used the report or how they engaged in their own care with their doctor to improve their health.
- Ask employers, union leaders, or human resources professionals to speak to why they find the public report valuable. Again, this is a way to offer the perspective of real people in the community, speaking about specific elements of the report and how they've used the information to make better health care decisions. This works best to not only address the issue of promoting the health and well-being of employees, but also to touch on the cost pressure that concerns most employers. Better quality care is often lower cost care in the long run, so this is an important connection to make for the business community and consumers.
- Have one of your Collaborative's physician leaders speak about the process of how your public report was created and how doctors can use the information. Being able to see how their performance compares to peers across the region is often a great benefit that the medical community gains when a public report is available. Most people don't realize that in many areas, doctors and hospitals have not had this kind of information available either. In contrast to a potentially punitive interpretation of reports being used to expose bad doctors or hospitals, this positions physicians in a positive way, as they are interested in learning from each other so that everyone can improve.
The challenge will be to keep these audio or video clips both interesting and brief. Depending on the comfort level of your Collaborative leadership, adding appropriate humor is a great way to get the attention of the public, especially for a topic that is often viewed as somewhat dry and complicated. That being said, tread carefully and seek comments from trusted advisors before you post any audio or video clips that are intended to be humorous. What one person finds funny others may not.