4 tips for COVID Communications: Why Healthcare Communications is More Important Than Ever
By Isabel Allain, Account Executive
For many people around the world, COVID-19 has completely changed the way they go about their everyday lives.
With the nature of COVID being a global pandemic, the amount of information available to the public is constantly changing as well as being updated. But not all information that is being fed to us is true.
Communications within the healthcare industry has never been more important. It is vital for these communication professionals to supply the public with trustworthy information that can help people protect themselves and the ones they love from this new threat.
To help the healthcare industry provide information about COVID to the public quickly, reliably and efficiently, in March, the “Federal Communications Commission named the COVID-19 pandemic as an ‘emergency’ under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.
This ruling is major as it allows hospitals, healthcare providers and health officials the ability to spread information about COVID through automated calls and send text messages.
With this new way of information sharing, paired with social media, news sources, etc., communications professionals must learn how to best communicate with the public about this pandemic.
Below are 4 tips for communicating COVID information, whether or not you are in the healthcare industry!
1. Know your audience.
The whole world has been affected by the pandemic, although some more than others. That being said, it is important to consider who you are communicating to, including race, class, age, and risk. Once you know your audience, you can modify the message to reach them. This may mean using email blasts instead of social media while targeting older generations. In other cases, for example, while communicating with children, you may need to break down information into bite-sized pieces that are easier to understand.
2. Do your research.
Although there is plenty of uncertainty surrounding COVID, a lot of research has been conducted within the last few months. Ensure your message includes numbers, context, history and any changes to information. Also, and perhaps most importantly, be sure that the sources you are getting your information from are accurate so that you can in turn also be accurate.
3. It’s okay to not know.
In this time of uncertainty, it is important to stay away from being over or under assuring. Instead, be open and honest about what is known and unknown. In other words, stick to the facts! Build trust with your audience by acknowledging that any information you are reporting on now may not hold true in a week’s time.
4. Be creative!
We have experienced an overload of COVID-19 information over the past few months. That being said, this unforeseen time can be used as an opportunity for original thinking. Creating unique communications materials with COVID information not only brings happiness and excitement to this scary time, but it also allows the news and safety protocols to be more eye-catching and fun! (For an example of creative COVID communications read PR News article, How Brands are Employing Creative COVID-19 Messaging)