The whole purpose of American Pharmacists Month is to draw attention to your work and celebrate your profession. That means sending the right messages to the right people and generating buzz for your events.
APhA wants to make all of this easy for you. We’ve put together tips to get the word out and give your audience the right impressions.
Whenever you create any APhM materials, feel free to cut and paste from our website and kits as much as you like. This will bring consistency to your messages message and save you time.
American Pharmacists Month is the time to take your message on the road. Don’t worry—you won’t have to go far. There are countless opportunities in your own community. Patients of all ages can benefit from discussions and information about how to use medications safely and effectively.
Attract Media Coverage
Attracting media attention requires a good story and good visual opportunities. Determine which media outlets you want most to reach, and tailor your work to what they need in order to appeal to readers and viewers.
Step 1: Target your media outlets
- Find the right size: Local and personal stories appeal more to small and local media. Issue-based stories can warrant regional or national coverage.
- Broaden your scope: There’s more to coverage than a news story or feature in a particular show or section. Try letters to the editor, opinion pieces, radio talk shows and TV station editorial segments.
- Don’t limit yourself to health: You might discover your story is more appropriately suited for the metro, business or lifestyle sections of a newspaper.
- Know your reporters: Check for particular writers, columnists or broadcast journalists who have covered pharmacy-related issues, and take your stories to them first. Check the media outlet’s website for contact information.
Step 2: Have a good story
What’s special about your American Pharmacist Month celebration? Are you trying to get as many seniors as possible to an event? Are you spotlighting a pharmacist with a strong relationship with patients? Are you looking at issues in the changing role or science in pharmacy? What are you most passionate about when it comes to pharmacy? What you care about is usually the seed for a story others will care about, too.
Media outlets want stories that are timely, interesting and full of local and personal appeal. APhA has tools such as pitch letters, news release samples, media advisories and media kits to help get your message out.
Step 3: Cultivate media relationships
Even in a short-term contact, a successful relationship with media outlets will go a long way toward accurate and compelling coverage. Here are some professional-caliber instructions to keep your work top quality:
- Send a pitch letter or email to your media list about 20 days in advance of an event.
- Prepare and send a media advisory the day before or the morning of an event. A follow-up phone call can help increase interest and attendance.
- Prepare a press release featuring greater detail. Releases help reporters write full stories.
- Assemble media kits to distribute at the event. Include the press release and information about your practice and the services it provides.
- Immediately after the event, distribute the release to members of the media unable to attend.
- Monitor the media for stories about your event. Send a thank-you to reporters who covered it.
- Keep copies of the press clippings to include in future media kits. See if you can get permission to post a video clip to social media.
APhA has experts ready to help you work with the media. Just e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org for guidance.
Get Official Recognition
You can get official recognition for American Pharmacists Month in your municipality, city, county or state, which can lead to a ceremony with a wealth of promotional opportunities. It’s fairly simple to do, but the process can take up to a few months.
Here’s the step-by-step guide to getting an official proclamation:
Step 1: Find out if officials can issue proclamations without action from the city council or state legislature.
If legislative approval is not required to issue a proclamation:
Step 2: Call the mayor/governor’s office to find out how proclamations are issued.
Step 3: Prepare your proclamation language. The website provides a sample template. Localize relevant facts about pharmacy and explain why American Pharmacists Month should be recognized by your city or state.
Step 4: Try to elicit support from other pharmacy leaders in your area. Ask local pharmacy associations, health organizations, and academic and business leaders and groups to write a letter of support to the governor. Provide addresses and sample letters. Broad correspondence and support from state leaders reflects wide interest and gives your proclamation a better chance.
If legislative action is required to issue a proclamation:
Step 5: Contact your local representative’s office to get instructions for the proclamation process.
Step 6: Because resolutions typically must be sponsored by a member of the appropriate governmental body, find an official who supports pharmacy. An alternative is to focus on a government official who has not yet worked with you, whom you could educate. Is there a pharmacist among the legislators?
Step 7: Ready your proclamation—use the sample template provided.
Step 8: Work with your proclamation sponsor to find out how you can help get the proclamation approved. You will probably need to lobby potential supporters and identify co-sponsors. Start by writing your legislators about the proclamation and soliciting their support.
Remember, a follow-up phone call might be necessary.
The final steps come after the proclamation is issued. Be sure to invite those instrumental in getting it approved to any ceremonies planned. After APhM, send letters of thanks and appreciation.
Use Social Media
It’s the easiest, fastest, and probably your favorite way to promote American Pharmacist Month events. But with social media, your message could get lost in a flood of information. Here are some tips for standing out and getting leverage. And remember—stick with APhA messages for best results.
- Just the Facts: For the whole month, post a daily pharmacy fact, tip, link or an article to your Facebook wall or Twitter stream.
- Tag It!: Use the Twitter hashtag #APhM2016 when tweeting about the profession, the month or your event. The more people who use a hashtag, the better chance it has at becoming a “trending topic.” This then ups the chances that other non-pharmacy users will run across the information.
- Let Facebook Help: If you’re hosting a special event in honor of APhM, spread the word through Facebook. It makes it easy to send invites and for attendees to share the event with friends. It’s also a neat way for attendees to see the guest list of who’s going (which helps get them to the page!).
- Get Visual: Get out your smart phone and start shooting and posting photos of events. Three things to remember: Ask permission, use captions, and check before tagging.
- Document with Video: Create a serious record of your events that others can learn from, or try a short, fun video with music or voice-overs. Once you’ve asked permission, post away.
- Pin Up: Pinterest and similar visual-based social media sites can be a good place to share tips and information. Consider:
- Recipes for people with diabetes, allergies or other chronic conditions
- A poster showing flavors available for children’s medicationIdeas on storing or remembering medications
- A calendar for medications or a tip-a-day
- Photos of pharmacists providing patient care services
- GIF videos or images of food and drugs that may interact
- Don’t forget to fill in the description box with extra information.
- Get Personal with a Blog: If you don’t have a blog already, APhM is a great time to start one. Or use a group blog where contributors rotate. Use this month to write about your work or what the profession means to you, or to share tips with students or professionals on continuing education or career advancement. A blog is an easy, relatable way to talk about the profession. Posts can be short and informal—the key is keeping the content fresh and consistent.
- Record a Podcast: This is a great way to address an issue in pharmacy that’s important to you. A podcast is typically a short recorded audio session, and it’s easy to do through the microphone on your computer. Try talking about pharmacy, interviewing a patient or colleague, or describing how pharmacists can help someone with a certain condition, such as diabetes.
- “Tell Your Friends”: After people sign up for your event, take them to a “Tell Your Friends You’re Attending” page. With the click of a button, a customized tweet is created and posted for them. It makes it simple for attendees to share that they’re going—and gives a link for readers in their network to click.
- Add a Twitter Widget: If people are already talking about the event, why not use that as proof to market to other potential attendees? The widget is a box that allows users to scroll through just the tweets relevant to your event (with your hashtag).
- Build the Excitement: Are you able to give away some free tickets to your upcoming event, or offer freebies or prizes? Social media is particularly conducive to building excitement around things like giveaways. It encourages people to share/retweet/repost—and it will up the awareness of your event.
- Capture the Experts: Will your upcoming events feature interesting or popular speakers? Get your social media audience acquainted with them—and excited to hear more. Promote their appearance before the event, and get permission to post content, a report, or a video of their presentation or a Q&A.
- Invite Leaders: Most senators and representatives now use social media tools. Contact your local legislators via social media and invite them publicly to attend your events.
- Provide Online Answers: Spend some time during APhM visiting a Q&A website, such as WikiAnsers or YahooAnswers, and offer professional advice reminding people to contact their pharmacists with questions about issues such as potential drug interaction-related symptoms.