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Tips for Promoting a National Health Observance

National Health Observances (NHOs) are special days, weeks, or months dedicated to raising awareness about important health topics.

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Each National Health Observance (NHO) presents an opportunity to educate the public, energize co-workers and community members, and promote healthy behaviors. The NHO toolkits have the information and tools you need to get started.

Use the tips in this guide to plan a successful health promotion event.

Planning

Planning is critical to the success of any outreach effort. Contact the NHO sponsoring organization several months ahead of time to request up-to-date information and materials. (Contact information for each month’s sponsoring organization is provided in each toolkit).

  • Consider enlisting the help of a community partner to help you plan and promote your event.
  • Meet with those who will be valuable in your event coordination. To get started, sit down with potential partners, such as local businesses, local government agencies, key leaders, organizations, and media partners who share an interest in the NHO.
  • Recruit volunteers, speakers, and community liaisons.
  • Develop new or adapt existing materials to distribute at the event.
  • Be sure to get them printed and/or copied in advance.
  • Conduct a run-through before the event.

Promoting

Develop a publicity and media outreach plan. Designate a media contact from your planning team and make sure they are available to answer questions and follow up on media requests.

  • Start by creating a local media list.
  • Use local access television, radio, newspaper, and community calendars to promote your event.
  • Post event announcements on your website. Encourage your partners to post similar announcements on their websites.
  • Send a press release.
  • Engage the media by offering a spokesperson from your organization or the community.
  • Post flyers or posters throughout the community: on bulletin boards at local community centers, places of worship, the library, post office, local schools, recreation centers, clinics, pharmacies, stores, and businesses.
  • Send flyers to each participating organization for distribution.

On the Day of the Event

  • Set up tables, chairs, and a check-in table prior to your event.
  • Make plenty of sign-in sheets. Create a separate sign-in sheet for members of the media.
  • Don’t forget the refreshments!
  • Make signs to direct participants and reporters to your event.

Tracking Media Coverage

If you are distributing information to the media, plan ahead of time to track your coverage. There are both paid and free resources to track media coverage.

Free media tracking resources search for news articles based on your specific search term(s) and a date range. Some tracking services will send automatic e-mail alerts to notify you when your event and/or keywords are mentioned.

Paid media tracking typically captures a wider range of media stories (both print and online) than free Internet search tools. Paid media tracking sources search within certain locations, news outlet types, and/or specific dates. Some paid media tracking tools offer e-mail alerts and the ability to search archived Web and print news; they also allow users to tailor searches to obtain the most relevant media stories. Other paid media services monitor all forms of social media, including blogs, top video and image-sharing sites, forums, opinion sites, mainstream online media, and Twitter.

Be sure to share media coverage with your community partners, stakeholders, and all those who helped you plan and promote your event. Post a summary of media coverage on your organization’s website. No matter the size or success of your event, remember that your efforts are key to educating the public about important health issues.

Last but not least, share your feedback and results with us here at healthfinder.gov. You can contact us at info@nhic.org or send us a tweet @healthfinder.

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