One of the first steps in the public relations engagement was conducting research to achieve a greater understanding of the market by assessing where it is today and its direction for the future. It was also important
to know what ACS’ strengths and challenges were, which aided in pitch development for trade media.
Results showed the following strengths:
Strong brand reputation
Comprehensive set of tools and services and technology
The following challenges were also identified:
Aggressive growth expectations
Lingering skepticism among providers about working with a health plan
This campaign had a heavy focus on media relations, so the development of strong story angles to pitch to trade publications was crucial. Dodge leveraged the research results through thought leadership and brand awareness initiatives that demonstrated experience working with numerous prestigious provider groups in accountable care programs. Dodge aimed to develop a robust library of thought leadership content, incorporating the goals of accountable care into main messaging points—better health for populations, better care for individuals and lower per capita costs. These story ideas resulted in bylined articles, commentaries and interviews with journalists.
Also included was the development of a media list, editorial calendar and an analyst relations plan to position key spokespersons as go-to resources for reporters and analysts. Other tactics included conducting joint PR efforts with clients, partnering with them to develop joint or client-focused press releases. Dodge developed and secured bylined articles authored by client executives and crafted ongoing case studies highlighting both high-level and tactical results of working with ACS. These case studies were later turned into marketing materials for clients to use in sales meetings, post on the website and use as gated content for lead generation.
Dodge also worked to promote thought leadership beyond print and online publications through a speakers’ bureau plan. This process included investigating speaking opportunities focusing on health information technology (HIT) conferences, managing the speaking application process, developing presentations and identifying spokespersons from ACS and customer organizations for events throughout the year. Dodge worked to secure media briefings with ACS thought leaders at conference events. These one-on-one meetings allowed for additional time with journalists and editors with the goal of securing premium coverage after the event.
Dodge also developed a share of voice (SOV) comparison to compile ACS media coverage and compare it to coverage secured by its competitors. This SOV report, now compiled on a quarterly basis, provided ACS with an idea of the themes and topics covered by its competitors. Dodge used this information to form new pitch ideas, identify additional outlets to pursue and continue securing coverage to stay ahead of competitors.