Health sector PR coverage is about quality not quantity

Lisa McGauley - Senior Account Manager

Lisa McGauley – Senior Account Manager

As PR practitioners, we all share a common goal – achieving client visibility in the media. But what is more important: achieving blanket coverage in many outlets or securing hits in a select few of your client’s top media targets? Well, that depends what sector your client operates in…

Take healthcare. There isn’t a day at the moment when the NHS is not in the news. With 17 A&E departments declaring “major incidents”, waiting times ‘getting worse’ and the NHS being seen as a political battleground in the lead up to the General Election, the NHS could not be higher on the news agenda.

Acceleris client Liaison, the leading financial services provider to the NHS that is focussed on saving NHS trusts money, published its inaugural report into pay and agency fees for temporary staff across the NHS in England and Wales in December. Called ‘Taking the Temperature’, the report analyses agency staff spending in the last financial year and is the most comprehensive review of its kind ever carried out.

Acceleris executed a carefully engineered campaign to ‘get in on’ the issue and achieve the optimum PR results; agreeing with the client at the outset that our core objectives were to achieve a trade national exclusive and a national newspaper exclusive.

We offered the leading and highly respected title the Health Service Journal (HSJ) the trade exclusive and they interviewed Liaison managing director Andy Armitage. The exclusive was published on the HSJ website and also in the hard copy of the magazine the same week.

Heath Service Journal (online and print):

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The exclusive was also the lead story on the HSJ’s e-newsletter which goes out to 14,000 contacts.

Objective number one – secure trade media exclusive – was successfully ticked off the list.

Next, we looked at the national press and agreed that we would approach the Times. The process here was a slightly lengthier one and we liaised with the health correspondent over the Christmas period as he checked some details of the report. The story appeared not only in the Times but on its front page; a fantastic way to welcome 2015 and a result that pleased both client and agency no end.

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But the success didn’t end there. The Daily Mail also picked up the story and ran it on the same day as the Times, as well as on the Mail Online website, boosting the story’s reach enormously.

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The coverage delivered great profile for Liaison as it seeks to position itself as a market leader in helping the NHS drive greater efficiencies in temporary staffing.

These results go to show that when it comes to health sector PR, it’s not always the amount of coverage achieved, but the quality of it that matters.

Going forwards, Acceleris will seek to establish Liaison personnel as go-to experts on the NHS agency spending topic, ideally resulting in more inbound requests from key influencers seeking Liaison’s opinions on important NHS finance issues.

Hard copies of ‘Taking the Temperature’ were also sent out to all NHS and government stakeholders. An online version of the report can be viewed here.

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