by Shannon Walsh
Healthcare PR plays a critical role in raising awareness about serious diseases and spurring people to take action to protect their health. With misinformation on COVID-19 spreading rampantly, and cases once again surging, now is a crucial moment for PR to help educate people on the facts, especially as the first vaccines start becoming available.
Where can communications professionals concentrate their efforts to initiate greater public uptake of relevant science-based information?
First, we need to craft engaging, factual messages that resonate even with the more reluctant audiences.
Second, leverage the right spokespeople who won’t alienate different audiences. Although opinion-leading doctors often are the right choice to be credible voices, given the backlash that some of the more reputable experts have received, it is advisable to engage other influential people, particularly those who won’t be seen as polarizing.
Third, we need people to understand why they should care. Stories from real people make the message relevant, especially when delivered by people who are relatable.
Finally, bring the message to everyone. Focusing on earned and social media is always a smart strategy, but combating the far-reaching myths means going beyond these channels. This includes street signage, highway warnings, public service announcements, and community-level initiatives.
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