Working with influencers
Social media influencers are people with a large or active following on social media. They can help amplify your message and raise awareness.
Working with influencers can deliver powerful results, when done correctly. However, the world of influencers has become a very crowded market, so it is important to work with people who are authentic and align well with your brand values. Not all eligible influencers need to have millions of followers. Micro influencers have audiences under 10k. Some influencers are primarily bloggers who are more versed in creating content on a particular topic, and so may be a great starting point. Working with influencers is about quality rather than quantity, paying most attention to their followers.
It would be worth considering influencers within the medical/hepatitis space, eg those who have lived experience of hepatitis, thought leaders in health and medicine or care about sharing health and medical knowledge, and influencers who are known for their work for charities/not for profit organisations.
- Identify the audience you are targeting and then identify the influencers.
- It’s best to reach out via email. Most influencers should include an email address in their bio. If not, send a direct message to request this.
- When you reach out, describe why they should care about viral hepatitis, and the need to raise awareness.
- Make sure you ask the influencers to use the campaign hashtag to ensure maximum visibility.
The media is one of the most influential advocacy partners you will have. They not only raise awareness of World Hepatitis Day, but they have the power to exert influence on policymakers and other key decision-makers. Therefore, don’t see the media as a tactic, see them as an ongoing partner – which you should cultivate and grow throughout the year.
To understand how to work with ‘the media’, you need to know who they are and what they want. Media can be broken down into distinct categories; broadcast, written, online, bloggers, etc.
But before you choose which type of media to use, it is important to think about your audience. The type of audience you wish to target will affect the type of media you speak to. For example, if you are targeting policy makers, you may wish to contact specialist political and healthcare media. If you want to speak to patients and the public then newspapers, magazines and TV/radio would be your best option.
Once you have identified a target audience, you may find it useful to develop a media list of specific journalists that you can contact. Look at what type of news they typically cover to make sure you are speaking to the right contact.
Engaging the media
Journalists are always interested in new content for features or news articles. You will need to make sure that your story is interesting, engaging and well-researched in order to make it into the news.
Stories of people with lived experience of hepatitis are one of the most powerful ways to engage with the media. The case studies provide a ‘real-life’ perspective that draws people into your story. They can be used by all the different media – broadcast, newspapers to blogs. Make sure the information provided is accurate and that the person is happy for it to be made public. Along with the case study you should present a solution to the issue, with practical steps for decision-makers to take.
Newspapers and magazines
Search online for local, national or regional newspapers. You may want to narrow your search to those which already have a health focus, or that cover the sort of story you will be pitching.
There are two types of stories covered in these media:
- News articles cover current stories that can be ‘pitched’ to journalists at very short notice. They are likely to be printed in daily national or regional newspapers, online publications or broadcast on news bulletins.
- Feature articles are longer and more in-depth. Features are often pitched up to six weeks in advance, and may be published in monthly or weekly magazines, or journals.
Radio and television
Radio and television are highly effective ways to reach many people. Getting your story out through these media could mean: having it covered in a news bulletin; promotion of your event in community news; taking part in a talk show or interview.
Blogs are becoming increasingly popular ways of people getting news and there are thousands to choose from.
- Finding blogs: find out if prominent organisations you work with have blogs, such as universities, research centres etc. You can also search online for health blogs.
- Researching blogs: read previous posts and find out what they like to write about. This will help you show how your story is relevant.
Before you start
Choose your media angle. Source your statistics. Know your audience.
Select an embargo
Before you distribute your press release, choose the date and time when you believe it’ll be most impactful. Usually this should coincide with the launch of a report or a certain day like World Hepatitis Day. If you send it to journalists before the date, make sure to include an embargo, which means they cannot publish it ahead of time. Remember to indicate time zones, especially for international press releases.
Your headline is the most important line in your press release. Ultimately, it will be the headline which makes a journalist decide if they want to read the release or not. It should grab attention and provide a snapshot of the main message. Using numbers and comparisons can help increase pick-up.Eg “Hepatitis C treatment costs as little as a budget airline flight”.
Your press release should be structured in the following way;
a) the opening paragraph should give a broad overview of the theme and highlight any evidence like a report.
b) The second paragraph should focus more on explaining the context of the issue eg what hepatitis is and why it is a problem.
c) The next paragraphs should explain the problem in depth and showcase local examples or activities.
d) The rest of the press release should illustrate the solutions and steps being taken to counteract the issue.
Data is king
The more data and new findings you include, the richer the story will be. Without being too confusing, include as much evidence as possible. This will help the journalist develop a story for their audiences.The Polaris Observatory from the CDA Foundation is a good source of national data.
Quotes are very important as they give a human component to the release. It also offers you a chance to include your advocacy message. Quotes are often provided by the CEO of your organisation or relevant spokesperson. Ensure your spokesperson is available for interviews after your press release is distributed.
Try to keep your press release to two pages maximum. Use bullet points and graphics to further explain your points.
Notes to editors
At the end of your release, include further information about your organisation, hepatitis and your subject. This will help the journalist craft a deeper story.