Transitioning to Content Development in the New Media Landscape

The media landscape has gone through drastic changes. Americans have an insatiable appetite for news, but newsrooms are facing a dilemma with reporters changing their beats to cover the growing crisis, to spikes in furloughs and layoffs which leaves reporters strapped for time. 

As PR practitioners, this dramatically impacts not only how we should be interacting with the media but how we add value to our clients. Part of that is acknowledging that reporters are incredibly busy and if you’re not adding true value – keep it moving. Another part is highlighting your client’s voice through owned and earned content. 

Below are three examples on how to effectively shift to content development in the “new normal.” 

Use LinkedIn as an Extension of Your Blog 

LinkedIn is the top network for professionals and professional development. Hootsuite reports that there are 675 million users on the social platform and LinkedIn has 15x more content impressions than job postings which means it’s a gold mine for content marketing. For thought leadership, consistent and quality content shared on the platform allows for them to showcase their credibility and smarts. LinkedIn and LinkedIn articles are an extended arm of your content plans and are an important part of a larger communications strategy that supports business goals. 

It’s important to approach LinkedIn strategically, so consider implementing the following before you post. 

    1. Social Audit – how is your content resonating on LinkedIn? What kind of content is performing the best? How are your competitors or notable brands performing? Where are the gaps between the two? 
    2. Channel Strategy – Does your LinkedIn content connect to and intersect with your website, blog and other social content? How can you use different channels to support a unified message and keep your target audience within your sphere of influence (ie move them between owned content networks)?
    3. Thought Leadership Platform – what can your thought leaders speak to? What does your audience want to hear about from those leaders? How often can you and the team commit to content? 
    4. Benchmark and Track Progresswhat are your goals for your LinkedIn efforts? How do those goals align with social metrics? What does success look like?

Shift to Byline Writing 

As mentioned earlier, many reporters are strapped and have a larger list of demands and pressures than they had before. They might be interested in your point of view but not have time to write. You can do that for them. This is a great time to pursue contributed content across publications to highlight top of mind topics and thought leaders’ perspectives. 

For the Highwire Healthcare team, this is something we’re really leaning into. Examples include: 

Think Critically about Announcements

Highwire dove into the topic of press releases vs. blog posts in a recent blog. There are many considerations here but it offers detailed guidance on what to consider when choosing a medium for company updates. 

As the state of the media landscape continues to shift, it’s important that we change with it. Take the time to consider your clients’ goals and match that with the reality of the media. What challenges are you facing in terms of coverage and content? Share with us below! 

Racism is a Public-Health Issue

The murder of George Floyd and countless Black lives created a ripple effect of anger and action across the U.S., while also illuminating the systemic racism that is ingrained in every facet of society, including healthcare. 

A Commonwealth Fund blog poignantly shared that 15 years ago the Institute of Medicine published an Unequal Treatment report which highlighted that “U.S. racial and ethnic minorities are less likely to receive preventative medical treatments than Whites and often receive lower-quality care.” Since the publishing of that paper and the Institute of Medicine prompting “equity to a list of aims for the U.S. healthcare system,” little progress has been made. 

As shared in a recent announcement by the American Medical Association, and further validated by COVID-19, Black people have “long-standing inequities, including historical structural inequities such as neighborhood disinvestment, which has led to less healthy and affordable housing, as well as barriers to consistent transportation, health care access, and employment opportunities—contributing to chronic stress and ‘weathering’ that have made Black communities more vulnerable to illness.” This is also paired with racism within healthcare institutions – doctors reportedly spend less time with Black patients, and are more likely to ignore their symptoms and/or dismiss their complaints. 

It’s our goal to educate and highlight how systemic racism negatively impacts the health of Black communities. While the below is just a snapshot of a long list of problems, it does highlight a need for more awareness and action to improve outcomes. 

COVID-19  

  • Of the novel coronavirus cases in the U.S. in which a person’s race was identified, 30 percent of those people were Black (CDC
  • In New York, Black New Yorkers are dying at twice the rate of their White peers. In Louisiana, which experienced a rapid spike in cases, Black people make up 32 percent of the state’s population, but almost 60 percent of COVID fatalities (Vox)

Maternity

  • Black, American Indian, and Alaska Native women are two to three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than White women – and this disparity increases with age (CDC
  • From 2011-2016, there were 42.4 deaths per 100,000 live births for black non-Hispanic women (CDC

Cardiology 

  • Black Americans ages 18-49 are 2 times as likely to die from heart disease than White Americans (CDC)
  • Black Americans ages 35-64 years are 50% more likely to have high blood pressure than White Americans (CDC)

Mental Health 

  • Black Americans are 10% more likely to experience serious psychological distress (HHS)
  • In 2017, suicide was the second leading cause of death for Black Americans, ages 15 to 24. The death rate from suicide for Black men was more than four times greater than for Black women, in 2017 (HHS)

For those in the healthcare space, whether you are a communicator or a care worker, it’s crucial that we all  play a role and check ourselves. Personally, I’m going to make sure that the narratives that I share for my clients are inclusive of Black communities and the issues they face. 

For those that are not in the healthcare space, but are looking to educate oneself on this topic, check out the following resources.

Looking to support the access to care? You can donate to the below organizations. 

But, the most important action is to register to vote and make your voice and the voice of others heard.