Did you know December is Awareness Month of Awareness Months month?
There seems to be a day, a week or a month to raise awareness, recognize or celebrate just about anything. And, as ridiculous as “Awareness Month of Awareness Months” might be, I’m going to capitalize on this opportunity to recommend how your company can leverage awareness holidays in any industry. While the concept might seem 101, many companies are missing an easy opportunity with awareness or cause-related holidays to tell their stories in a new way, put the spotlight on their customers or case studies and “newsjack” trending topics related to the holidays. Follow these three steps to make awareness days part of your PR plan.
Identify the relevant recognition days/weeks/months
We are not suggesting that you tweet about National Taco Day on your company’s social pages. Instead identify awareness days, weeks or months that align with your overall marketing and PR strategy. Many of these stem from industry organizations, associations and often in healthcare, non-profits. Assess what industry groups are celebrating and what their focus is. For example, the National Patient Safety Foundation is celebrating Patient Safety Awareness Week in March 2018. They developed an entire microsite dedicated to ways to get involved and share news, including the hashtag #weareallpatients.
Some other key dates in healthcare are:
- Feb: Patient Recognition Week
- March: Patient Safety Awareness Week
- May: National Nurses Week
- May: National Hospital Week
For more, check out Becker’s Clinical Leadership & Infection Control comprehensive list from 2017.
Some top manufacturing days to have on your radar include:
- Feb: National Engineering Week
- March: National Energy Efficiency Day
- National Energy Awareness month
- Manufacturing Month
- US Manufacturing Week/Day
While an awareness day/week/month is a great time to join the conversation and cultivate brand recognition, do not forget the point of the day and always tie your content back to the bigger initiative.
Plot them in your content calendar
Once you’ve identified the top days in your industry, populate the dates into your 2018 content calendar. Assess where they land during the year to fill gaps in your content calendar or make a big splash around something new – like a study or a whitepaper announcement. Or perhaps use the day/week/month as the basis for a larger integrated campaign to generate content to share across multiple marketing channels. For example, many manufacturers plan big events around Manufacturing Day in October in which they invite prospects, the media and students in for factory tours, presentations and demos. Throwing an event can result in pre- and post-event content for social media, email campaigns, blog posts, earned media placements, etc. to populate your content calendar.
Plan your content and be prepared
Rather than simply publishing a social post at 5 p.m. on the recognition day, put some thought behind the content and consider a multi-channel approach.
Often trade publications only cover niche industry topics one or two times a year. Therefore, getting coverage without a new case study or product announcement can be difficult, especially if you have already been in the publication. Taking advantage of these awareness days can help you find an angle and get coverage outside the usual news cycle.
In 2017, Tegaderm™, a 3M brand, was celebrating its 35th anniversary, and to tell the brand’s story, 3M placed an article in Becker’s Clinical Leadership & Infection Control during National Nurses Week. The article was able to tie in the anniversary story as it recognized nurses’ influence on the innovation of its Tegaderm dressings. Another company that has taken advantage of these days is Cardinal Health, a company providing cost-effective solutions that enhance the hospital supply chain. Typically you wouldn’t expect to see a supply chain company promoting content around Patient Safety Awareness Week, but Cardinal Health found their way into the news cycle with the article, “Patient Safety Awareness Week: 4 tips for supply chain leaders.”
And if getting coverage in a trade publication isn’t possible, consider self-publishing content and promoting it through your social channel(s).
Your content strategy shouldn’t hinge on recognition and awareness days, but they also shouldn’t fall by the wayside. Awareness days provide a great opportunity to connect with your audience in a new way or context than what’s considered your brand’s norm. Integrate the most relevant days into your content strategy to help position your company as not only one that provides innovative products or solutions, but one that cares about the customers and industry it serves.
Disclaimers: I am not advocating for the articles or the content of the companies profiled in this piece, however I believe they serve as examples of how we can leverage these days beyond social posts and tie broad industry days back to niche company topics.
3M is an Inprela client.