The research, strategies, messages, and guidance of Opening Doors to Aging Services can be used to mount a stand-alone awareness campaign in your community. Employ a range of tactics to reach your target audience, including:
Community Events and Partnerships
Direct engagement with the public in your community is an ideal way to build authentic awareness of the aging services sector.
To maximize visibility, invite local public and media personalities to attend or emcee events that you host. Provide information or training on effective messages and encourage presenters to use their own words to maintain authenticity.
Host community forums: Invite community members to learn from your expertise through online or in-person sessions featuring aging experts on relevant topics, such as:
- Aging at home
- Combating isolation
- Exercise and nutrition
- Memory care
- Pandemic safety
Participate in community events: Seek out community events to attend, such as block parties or picnics, county fairs, fun runs/athletic events, or music festivals.
- Develop a short presentation and materials about your organization, its services, and people.
- Include dynamic caregiving professionals and clients/residents as speakers.
- Gather names of interested community members and encourage social media follows.
- Develop a follow-up action for interested community members.
Create community partnerships: You can implement on your own—or identify allied organizations, agencies, or businesses in your area for partnerships. Potential partners might include:
- Churches, synagogues, mosques, or other religious groups
- Civic associations (Junior League, neighborhood civic associations, Rotary Club)
- Community groups (animal rescue, friends of the parks, advocacy groups, boys and girls clubs/scouts)
- Local government (city or county) council or commission on aging
- Public safety organizations (fire departments, municipal police, National Guard, etc.)
- Community colleges and schools
- Volunteer recruitment organizations
Capitalize on social media’s reach, ease-of-use, and cost-effectiveness to reach target audiences by posting Opening Doors to Aging Services content daily, across all channels. Be sure to monitor engagement and boost posts that generate a strong response.
- Update social media landing pages to reflect Opening Doors to Aging Services strategies, messages, messengers, and images.
- Develop a social media series featuring caregiving professionals and clients or residents living vibrantly with the help and support of aging services. Include testimonials from clients or their family members, whenever possible.
- Host Facebook Live events to offer community members a virtual way to meet your caregiving professionals and learn from your expertise (consider holding virtual versions of your in-person community events).
- Invite caregiving professionals and clients or residents to serve as messengers for Opening Doors to Aging Services by sharing your social media posts and creating their own.
- Share LeadingAge social media posts to augment your content.
Leverage paid media, on a budget of any size, to reach new audiences. Establish benchmarks to track effectiveness and modify ads or placements as needed/possible.
- Small budget: Boost posts or create ads on social media with a targeted buy.
- Medium budget: Expand social media with radio ads/sponsorships or digital advertising on news and lifestyle sites.
- Large budget: Place local television and print advertisements. Purchase outdoor advertising (transit ads or billboards).
Media outlets are pivotal to shift the narrative on aging services by debunking myths about aging services and covering “good news” stories from the sector.
Educate journalists about aging services and your organization. Editors, reporters, and journalists, like members of the public, need help understanding the sector. Develop tools, materials, and opportunities for them to learn more.
- Develop simple and clear materials to use in all your media outreach, including an informative boilerplate and fact sheets about the sector, your services, and the people you serve as a convenient backgrounder for the media.
- Invite key members of the media for a coffee chat to give them background on the sector and your organization. Be prepared to share facts and stories that embody the principles of Opening Doors to Aging Services (and don’t pitch them—just offer yourself as a source).
- If you serve adults at a campus, community center, or congregate living community, offer an introductory tour to members of the media (when safe) to show them how you help older adults maintain their health, independence, and quality of life.
Find, develop, and pitch feature stories. Many local outlets seek out feature stories from their community—you can be an ongoing source of inspiration and ideas.
- Begin building a story bank, with narrative and related visuals. Help the reporter by providing as many details as possible and by making relevant people available for interviews.
- Leverage holidays, happenings, and news events as a “hook” for your stories. Build those stories and pitch them in advance, so reporters have plenty of time to develop their pieces for publication.
- Create your own “hooks” for stories that don’t align with external events. Possible themes: cutting-edge technology or approaches, extraordinary clients or residents, and dedicated professional caregivers. (Many TV stations have “Hometown Heroes” segments.)
Invite journalists to join events and celebrations. Leverage your own annual events and celebrations by inviting the media to attend. Issue a press release, make key people available for interviews, or offer key journalists a chance to participate (as a host or emcee, for example).
Maintain a media contacts list that includes key media outlets and journalists. Keep your media lists current and diverse, including:
- Outlets covering aging, health, longevity, family, homes/ lifestyles
- Reporters and editors who cover aging, health and health policy, metro/region, state legislature and lifestyle
- Opinion writers, columnists, and editorial writers who cover aging, family, health, health legislation
- TV assignment editor for general news
- Community or “good news stories” reporter and/or public service director
- Producer for radio talk shows that cover aging, health, lifestyles, family
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