Women and girls have all sorts of questions about their health: Could it be a yeast infection? What does a healthy weight mean to me? What do I do if my breastmilk supply goes down?
For more than two decades, women and girls have turned to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health (OWH) for answers to these questions. For more than a decade, Hager Sharp has partnered with OWH to deliver the information women and girls need.
We help OWH think strategically about its communications efforts, recommending and developing a unifying identity and voice. We regularly develop content for womenshealth.gov and girlshealth.gov so consumers and health care professionals have accurate, easy-to-understand information at their fingertips. We engage women in conversations online, providing visual, shareable content so they can help carry information through their networks. And we promote several campaigns and programs, from National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day to National Women’s Health Week.
In our time working with OWH, we have generated billions of media impressions, reached 1.6 million people through social media, helped drive millions of women and girls to OWH’s websites, and secured partnerships with more than 100 organizations.
For many years, OWH engaged different contractors to provide communications support, which led to fragmented outreach strategies, inconsistent implementation, different graphic identities, and an online presence that was getting lost. To bring OWH’s outreach efforts together under a cohesive framework, Hager Sharp developed and implemented a five-year strategic communications plan. It outlined OWH’s overarching goals and objectives; how communications could deliver on OWH’s goals and objectives; and the audiences whose knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors OWH wanted to change. The plan now serves as a foundation for all other promotion plans, whether OWH is promoting an observance or engaging health professionals.
Partners are powerful vehicles for delivering OWH’s messages directly to women and girls. We’ve engaged organizations large and small, from CVS, AOL, and The Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc. to the Black Women’s Health Imperative, Eating Disorders Coalition, and National Alliance for Hispanic Health. These organizations promote OWH and its resources through social media, developing public service announcements, holding free screening events, hosting webinars, and disseminating information through newsletters and e-blasts. Hager Sharp is currently working with OWH to develop an overarching, office-wide partnership plan to identify organizations who can work with OWH year-round and be engaged in more robust ways.
One of the keys to our partnership outreach is engaging health professionals. They’re on the front lines, helping women and girls lead healthier lives, so we implement strategies that position OWH as a resource that health professionals can turn to for up-to-date, accurate information. We also help OWH deepen their relationships with health professional organizations. One of our first partner activities for health professionals was to coordinate, promote, and execute a webinar to help them navigate conversations with patients about reconstruction options after breast cancer surgery.
Hager Sharp regularly brings OWH’s content to life by designing compelling materials, ranging from fact sheets to infographics to exhibit booths. We redesigned OWH’s popular Your Guide to Breastfeeding to make it more user-friendly, approachable, and attractive. And, to make sure all breastfeeding moms have access to the information they need, we created an e-pub version that’s available for download through Apple, Google, Barnes and Noble, and Amazon. We also recently designed a new, cutting-edge exhibit booth for when OWH is on the road. It uses images of real women and interactive elements to entice foot traffic.
Video production is a big part of what our in-house creative team offers OWH. To showcase the most popular health topics on womenshealth.gov, we developed an animated video series that presents the information in a visually appealing, easy-to-understand format. Additionally, we created a “Recipe for Health” video for National Women’s Health Week 2017, borrowing from the time-lapsed recipe videos made popular by BuzzFeed. OWH’s version illustrates the ingredients that add up to a healthy lifestyle.
With so many women accessing information online, Hager Sharp develops and implements a robust digital strategy to drive people to that information. We use a mix of organic and paid outreach to maximize OWH’s reach. Each month, we develop approximately 150 posts for OWH’s social media channels, and we regularly implement paid ads across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google, and LinkedIn. Our efforts have helped OWH grow its social following to 1.5 million and have won several awards, including top accolades in PR Daily’s Digital PR Awards and an honorable mention for Best Digital PR Campaign.
Media outreach is an essential part of promoting OWH, the work it does, and its resources. We regularly craft compelling pitches and work with reporters and editors to generate coverage of OWH’s key observances. We’ve secured stories in Women’s Health magazine, Huffington Post, the TODAY Show, The Doctors, and many other outlets popular with women. Other highlights include placing an op-ed on Ebony.com around domestic violence, working with Dear Abby to highlight National Women’s Health Week in hundreds of newspapers across the country, and organizing radio media tours for OWH spokespeople.
Hager Sharp has helped OWH tailor communications and outreach to Latina audiences. We oversee the Spanish translation of all content on espanol.womenshealth.gov; develop and translate content for OWH’s Twitter handle, @SaludDLaMujer, which includes about 40 posts per month; and are managing the cultural adaptation of Your Guide to Breastfeeding. As needed, we also translate content for observances and pitch Spanish-language media outlets.
Hager Sharp supports OWH in various capacities at conferences and meetings. We work with OWH to determine which conferences to attend and manage all logistics, including securing booth space, developing materials for distribution, and shipping. We also attend the events and conferences as needed to support OWH on-site. In addition, we regularly develop abstracts for OWH and, when accepted, develop the presentations. Previously we have supported presentations at the National Conference on Health Communication, Marketing, and Media, the American Public Health Association Annual Meeting and Expo, and the University of South Florida Social Marketing Conference.
Formative Research: Hager Sharp regularly conducts formative research to understand OWH audiences and ensure we’re packaging information in a way that resonates with specific audiences. To inform updates to girlshealth.gov, we led focus groups, surveys, content mapping exercises, and usability testing. We also recently conducted an environmental scan and held an expert panel to guide decisions about cultural adaptations and translations of Your Guide to Breastfeeding. And, we’re in the process of implementing a robust formative research program to determine the barriers that health professionals face in caring for women and their needs and preferences for resources. Our research will also explore how women seek health information. Activities will include surveys, an expert panel, and focus groups.
Evaluation: Hager Sharp supports OWH with process and outcome evaluation activities to ensure OWH’s resources are best meeting the needs of its target audiences. We collect and monitor monthly media coverage, social media metrics, and website satisfaction information, and we’ve overseen multiple community-based evaluation studies to assess the effectiveness of OWH programs, such as the multisite, quasi-experimental study to evaluate BodyWorks, a program to help parents and caregivers of adolescents improve family eating and physical activity habits.