Key takeaways in this post:

  • A good communication campaign educates and inspires.
  • Successful campaigns understand their audience. This makes creating effective messaging easier.
  • Making visual elements prominent helps capture attention.

As healthcare costs rise, many hospitals are working to improve community health. One of the most effective ways to make that happen is through a robust public health communication campaign.

It may seem like an overstatement. But a well-executed campaign can inform and inspire. It can also help make communities healthier, happier places to live.
Here are four campaigns that made a big impact on community health:

The truth anti-smoking public health campaign targeted to teens

Founded in 1999, the Truth Initiative aimed to stop teens from smoking. So, it launched a campaign with engaging ads, messaging and calls to action.
The approach worked. The American Journal of Public Health reported that the campaign helped teen smoking rates decline nationwide.
Watch one of their most popular ads: The Singing Cowboy.

The Man Therapy® campaign to remove the stigma around men’s mental health

In 2012, the Colorado Office of Suicide Prevention launched a public health campaign. The campaign targeted men ages 24-54 to reduce the state’s suicide rate.

The Man Therapy® campaign used humor to dispel the idea that asking for help wasn’t manly. The campaign used a fictional therapist, Dr. Rich Mahogany. He shared helpful (and humorous) tips on how to relax and destress. The campaign featured a robust website with information about mental health issues and connected visitors with support tools.

The site included resources for a crisis hotline and links to other organizations equipped to help men deal with addiction, depression and other mental health issues.

Take a minute to view the campaign’s case study video to discover the impact this local campaign had around the world.

The “Get Yourself Tested” campaign targeted to young adults

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launched “Get Yourself Tested” in 2009. This was in response to a rise in sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) among young people.

The public health campaign encourages young adults to get tested and treated for STDs, HIV and AIDS. The annual campaign includes on-the-ground events. It also has social media partnerships to spread the message. These include a collaboration with MTV.

In its first year, the campaign reached an estimated 20,000 youth at events and made more than 140,000 referrals to STD testing sites. These results suggested that young adults were receiving — and acting on — the message to get tested.

The “Know Your Lemons” early detection campaign for breast cancer

According to the CDC, breast cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death for women worldwide. Early detection is crucial to survival. But not everyone knows what to look for.

The Know Your Lemons® uses a simple but effective visual aid. It shows 12 lemons in an egg carton to depict visible symptoms of breast cancer.

Since 2017, the Know Your Lemons® Foundation has reached over 1.5 billion people. Learn more about the creation and impact of this campaign. Watch founder Corrine Ellsworth-Beaumont’s TED talk.

Knowing your audience is step one in creating an effective and engaging public health campaign. The organizations we’ve mentioned shaped their campaigns with the reader or viewer in mind:

  • truth used language that resonated with teens.
  • Man Therapy® relied on humor to normalize mental health.
  • “Get Yourself Tested” used its partnerships to reach young adults.
  • Know Your Lemons® used a simple visual to reach people at risk for breast cancer.

These campaigns have many similarities. One is that they prove you can influence public health. How? Through a strategic, coordinated public health campaign.

What health issues face the community that your hospital or organization serves? Is obesity an issue or do residents need more physical activity? Your organization’s leadership likely already knows some of the most pressing health issues in the area. Talk to them and other nonprofit organizations to identify your community’s needs.

  • What resources are already in place to support your initiative? What services and programs do you want to highlight? Asking these key questions can help you invite the right people to the planning process. It also ensures you have the infrastructure to support the campaign.
  • Who is your audience? Make your messaging fit their needs. Are you trying to reach baby boomers, moms, men, millennials, Gen Xers or Gen Z? How can you reach them?
  • What is the ultimate call to action? Do you want more people to wear seatbelts? Exercise more regularly? A clear, simple goal can help drive the campaign.
  • What effective channels do you already have in place? Do a lot of people read blogs? Open emails? Focus on public health communication strategies you know will reach your audience. Funnel them to new and creative outlets. Think video, podcasts or online quizzes.
  • Get creative! What tactic has your team always wanted to try but hasn’t had the chance? Now is the time to think like an outsider. Brainstorm fun, engaging and effective ways to reach your audience!
  • How will you measure success? Create clear objectives to keep everyone focused on the campaign’s goal.

WG Content helps healthcare organizations nationwide create messaging that resonates with their communities. Our team of experts can help with rebranding, public health communication campaigns and more. Connect with us to discover how we can support your team.

It’s a type of messaging that educates the public about health issues. It also promotes healthy behaviors.

It plays a crucial role in improving community health. A good communication strategy informs. It also engages and motivates people to take charge of their health.

Conduct audience research and set clear objectives. This will help you create compelling messaging. Use multiple channels for promotion – from social media to email. This will help you reach more people. After launching your campaign, monitor its performance. You may find areas for improvement.

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