Create a product to inspire your community and promote your hospital throughout the year. Here’s how:
Select a theme. What is your community hospital known for? Is there a service or department that could be featured or promoted? What would be the most beneficial to your community?
Tell your story. An important key to captivating the community is choosing subjects who tell a vivid story. Where are the best stories at your community hospital and how can they help educate and inspire? The NICU? Your own employees? The ER? Zero in where the stories are!
Involve the hospital community. Invite hospital staff to participate by nominating patients or fellow employees to feature in the calendar. Active participation will give your hospital staff a sense of ownership and enthusiasm about the project. The featured community members will likewise feel a closer tie to your hospital. The more people you involve, the larger your community grows. (And the more likely you are to generate word-of-mouth buzz.)
Quality photography is a must. One of the most important and memorable elements of your calendar will be the photography. Do not skimp on this—consider hiring a professional photographer to capture your featured patients. It will make all the difference in elevating your project.
Go beyond the dates. See beyond the calendar as a composition of photos and dates and add valuable patient information to each month. Have a special event for Breast Cancer Awareness Month? Feature it! Make sure it’s already penciled on every recipient’s calendar. Offer phone numbers and information for how patients can easily schedule mammograms. Think of the calendar both holistically and month by month to make the most of the marketing space.
Judge your calendar by its cover. It’s not always the best idea for books, but calendars are a different story. Make sure you have a cover that grabs you, and consider what educational information you can offer on the front and back covers to guide the community to all your resources.
Think outside the paper. The process of producing these calendars creates so much more than a single product. Consider the other arenas your now-gathered stories and photography can be used. Turn different months into series of ads, eblasts, direct mails and more. It takes a lot of work, but the beauty is you’ve used one product to produce a year of easy marketing for yourself.
Waste not. Record everything you can every step of the way. Have a passionate patient or employee at your fingertips? Why not record him or her while you’re at it. Be sure to videotape any community calendar presentation gatherings. You never know what you might do with all that footage.
Order more. Seriously. If you follow our steps, demand will be greater than you anticipate—especially if you experience inaugural year success. Consider if calendars are offered for donations or as a nicety to patients. Make sure people can order online so friends and family of featured subjects can order from across the country.
Don’t forget to celebrate. Don’t overlook the importance of pomp and circumstance when unveiling your calendar creations. Foster community by creating an event that brings together patients, community members, doctors, providers, friends and family to fawn over the calendar, sign calendar pages, share stories and connect. Calendar subjects might be the featured stars, but your community hospital will come out on top every time.