..and more important – than during Covid
The care sector, it feels, is afflicted by some permanent form of distress. A relentless funding crisis, the perennial challenge of recruiting and retaining staff.
Now, of course, we have the worst of them all – Covid19. All topped of by a national media forever keen to jump on stark attention-grabbing headlines.
But while using the national media to create a more positive public perception of social care may be largely out of reach of most care operators, it’s the contrary at a regional level.
And the regional media has never been so recipient to receiving positive care news stories from care providers.
Let me emphasise this – your regional media loves to hear about how your care operator is providing good innovative care within the confines of Covid19 – and it’s an opportunity you must take advantage.
Every residential or nursing home right now is a treasure trove of dozens of potential positive and indeed heart-warming ‘stories’ of care during Covid19.
Positive CQC reports are still published, landmark birthdays for residents are still being celebrated during lockdown and examples abound of quality dementia care and personalisation, innovative activities or staff going above and beyond during this pandemic
Your staff, celebrated as national heroes, are also headline-makers. Longevity of service, being shortlisted or winning awards and personal achievements can all make news during this Covid19 period, and convey to the public the calibre of your team.
The purpose of securing media coverage for any home is often to raise its visibility and profile and to help generate enquiries, particularly from self-funders.
In so doing care providers can harness the power of the regional media to transform the public’s image of care homes during Covid19.
For care operators the local media should be priority because this is the media most able to reach prospective families.
Let’s look at the raw numbers.
Every care home should aim to secure at least 10 pieces of positive media exposure every 12 months.
So, let’s say a quarter (4,250) of the UK’s 17,000 care homes secured (the quite achievable) 10 pieces of positive local media exposure per year, that equates to 42,500 positive media care home stories per year. That’s a potentially colossal public impact.
One local newspaper can still be read by tens of thousands. Moreover, their associated websites, Facebook pages and Twitter feeds means opportunities to read your stories increase threefold.
BBC local radio stations and TV news programmes – again with viewing and listening figures of tens of thousands – can also be ideal media vehicles for raising positive awareness of your homes.
As for strategising on how best to pitch your story to regional media, including during Covid19, a key element is often to focus on the ‘human-interest’.
For example, if you ushered in an online video method for residents to communicate with their family, the story’s ‘angle’ may not necessarily lie in the video method itself but how one particular resident is perhaps benefiting from it.
And when you marked the VE day celebrations during the lockdown it’s how it was an extra special day for one or two residents.
As for social media, Facebook must be your medium of choice, and posts should ideally encourage reaction and interaction to make them more visible in people’s feeds.
However, the workings of Facebook’s algorithms now dictate that – unless you incorporate a ‘sharing’ mechanism into your posts – only your ‘followers’ or ‘friends’ will hear about your positive news.
So if you want to promote your news to tens of thousands of people per month, rather than a few hundred, you must utilise Facebook ‘boosts’ or ‘ads’
Elevating your profile to turning around opinion takes effort and time.
But when it comes to regional media, care operators can be at the helm with considerable more control of message.
And as operators battle to win back public confidence they should harness the power of a sympathetic regional media as never before.
* To listen to the Care Home PR And Marketing Podcast, go here: https://www.springup-pr.com/uk/category/care-home-pr-and-marketing-podcast/