For a writer (or blogger), nothing is more exhilarating and/or frightening than the sight of a blinking cursor on a black text document. Dorothy Parker is quoted as saying “I hate writing. I love having written.” This statement is true for so many.
Deciding what to say and how to say it can be extremely stressful. Sometimes, the ideas in your head don’t translate to “paper,” and other times, there are simply no ideas! We worry about whether our words will resonate with our readers. And we hope that what we write is actually well written. These thoughts have been circling my mind the past few days as I struggled to come up with a topic for this, my latest blog post.
And then it dawned on me, this is what health communicators stare down every time we’re called upon to come up with a new campaign. We ask ourselves: What’s been done to death? What’s worked before? What’s the new “thing” we should be leveraging? Often, we find ourselves staring at the proverbial (and sometimes literal) blank screen and blinking cursor, waiting for genius to strike.
Knowing that you got it “right” this time and that your work is making an impact on the target community is the best part of this job. It’s why we do what we do—and why we keep doing it even when the job is hard.
Although there is no secret formula that is guaranteed to work every time, there are some things you can do to increase the chances of having a successful health campaign.
- Look before you leap. You cannot develop appropriate messaging before you thoroughly understand your issue. Research is the cornerstone of a successful campaign. Without conducting this research, you won’t know how to craft a campaign that will resonate with the right people.
- Know your audience. And, just as important, make sure your audience knows it’s your audience. You need to know everything possible about your target audience so that you can target your messaging appropriately. However, you must also make it clear to the consumer/viewer that you are talking to them. If your message goes over their head or is easy for them to ignore, you won’t reach them.
- Clarify your message. It is easy enough to start with a clear goal for your campaign, but having a clear message is where your campaign fails or succeeds. What do you want your audience to do and why do you want them to do it? An unclear call to action (or worse, no call to action) means your campaign will fall flat.
- Don’t feel like you have to fly solo. Sometimes you need a little help to get your campaign off the ground. Reaching out to influencers such as journalists, bloggers, or, if you’re lucky, a celebrity endorser, can help give your campaign the boost—and credence—that can elevate it to the next level.
Each time we launch a new campaign, we wonder if our message is reaching those who need to hear it most. A health communicator’s job is never done. After concepting comes creation, followed by execution, and then evaluation. What are you surefire tips for waging a successful campaign?