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Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action Communications Toolkit


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Complete Communications toolkit includes the following:
• Introduction to Traditional Media Outreach
• Creating Effective Media Materials
• How to Use Campaign Messages
• Hosting an Action Coalition Event
• Social Media toolkit

Published in: Health & Medicine
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Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action Communications Toolkit

  1. 1. How to Use Campaign Messages 1How to Use Campaign MessagesA message is defined as the most important point you wantto make.A message platform or framework outlines and organizes a campaign’sor organization’s most important points—the “what, why, and how” of its missionor work. Use these messages when speaking to the media, giving a presentation,conducting a meeting, or creating materials to promote your Action Coalition work.With more than 50 state Action Coalitions and dozens of national and regionalpartners, it is important to “speak with one voice” for our message to resonate.Effective messages are clear (understandable), concise(short), contrasting (how you are different), andconvincing (yes, we agree with what you are saying).When you talk about the campaign, you probablyspeak to a variety of audiences. Good speakers firstconsider who their audience is, what matters to them,andhowtogetthemtocareabouttheirissue/campaign.Simply put, why does your work matter—not to you,but to your audience?Think about it this way:A patient has just learned that she has been diagnosedwith breast cancer. What do you say? What isimportant for her to know? What do you want her todo? In all likelihood, you instinctively do three things:•• Empathize with her and provide emotional support.•• Discuss her treatment options.•• Help her plan. What should she do next? Do youshare any tips from your years of experience?This is similar to communicating messages. You wantto convey clear and consistent points that will helpyou to:1. Connectwithyouraudience:Explain theproblems/ challenges that need to be addressed.2. Putyourworkincontext: What is the Campaignfor Action trying to do, and how will it solve theseproblems?3. Make“yourcase”forwhythismatters: Don’ttalk about what matters to you—talk about whythis work should matter to them—e.g., to increaseaccess, to contain costs, to improve quality.4. Generatesupport:What do you want them to do?And, whenever you can add your own personalstories or examples to the messaging, you will bemore effective. Communications research showsthat people are much more likely to remember astory than a laundry list of ideas.
  2. 2. How to Use Campaign Messages 2So, how do you use these messages?•• Incorporate these messages into your materials—your presentations, your letters to stakeholders, yourwebsite page, and any other media or marketingmaterials you have developed—as appropriate.•• Keep these messages in mind when you writepress releasesandplanevents.Doesthereleasecommunicate at least three of these messages?Does your event underscore or illustrate at leastone of the messaging points?•• Use this messaging when you conduct mediainterviews, give presentations, conduct coalitionmeetings, or write a letter to the editor.How to Use Campaign Messages(continued)Anytime you talk about the campaign, you should weave these messagesin wherever and whenever possible.
  3. 3. How to Use Campaign Messages 3How to Use Campaign Messages(continued)Frequently Asked QuestionsWe understand that it’s not that simple. The following FAQs will help you better understand how touse the overarching Campaign messages when you communicate about your work and the Campaign.1. “But this is not exactly how I say it. Do I haveto use the messages verbatim?”Think of messaging like the frame of a house.You choose the siding, the type of windows,the color. These messages should be thefoundation of what you communicate.Incorporate them as best you can in a way thatworks for you. Think about how you arecommunicating your work. Is it resonating?Are you explaining your efforts in ways youraudiences can understand or relate to?2. “What might work in New York does notnecessarily work in Texas.”We understand that. Here again, you will needto customize, but this messaging was developedto reach as broad an audience as possible.When everyone speaks with one voice, ourmessage is more likely to get through.3. “There are a lot of messages here. When I do aninterview, they only quote one or two sentences.Which ones should I use?”Select the best two or three messages that willwork for your interview. Depending on thetopic or the event, think about the three mostimportant points you want people toremember. Then focus on and repeat thosemessages/points.4. “I am very comfortable talking to patients,but talking to the media is scary.”You might not have felt comfortable talking topatients when you first started, but with practice,it became second nature. Think about how youapproach talking to patients. Do you considerhow they might be feeling? Do you considerwhat really matters to them? Do you considerhow to help them understand their diagnosisand treatment? All these rules apply whentalking to the media or making presentations.Try to help your audience understand whyyour work matters, and why the changes youare working for are important. Think not interms of the nursing profession, but about whatyour work will mean for patients.5. “Who are these messages designed to reach?Issues that are important to the nursing orhealth provider community are not the sameas issues that are important to the businesscommunity or to funders.”Again, this messaging was developed to reachas broad an audience as possible. We alsoprovide a set of talking points tailored for a fewkey audiences: hospitals, physicians, and funders.You should customize this messaging for theaudience you are speaking with. Think aboutwhy this work matters to them. How can yourwork help them achieve their goals or addresstheir challenges?
  4. 4. Campaign for Action Key Messages 4Future of Nursing: Campaignfor Action Key MessagesHealth care is undergoing a much-needed transformation to serve more patients, better.•• Our nation faces pressing health care challenges—an aging and more diverse population, more patientswith more chronic conditions, millions more insured, soaring costs, and a shortage of providers.•• We can address these challenges—now—by maximizing the use of nurses. That means preparingnurses/nursing to meet the health care demands of today and tomorrow.•• As the largest segment of the health care workforce—and the ones who spend the most time withpatients and their families—nurses are vital to the successful transformation of health care.* Nurses are at the center of many of the innovations we rely on to increase access, improvequality, and contain costs.* Nurses with strong clinical and leadership skills can help promote wellness, developnew models of care, manage coordination of care, and help hospitals to reduce medicalerrors and re-hospitalizations.The Campaign for Action is working to improve health care through nursing.•• The Campaign for Action is working to prepare nurses/nursing to address our nation’s most pressinghealth care challenges—access, quality, and cost.* We are working to make sure patients get the care they need, when and where they need it.•• A joint initiative of AARP and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Campaign for Action hasorganized 50 state Action Coalitions to help implement the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) evidence-based recommendations on the future of nursing. We continue to mobilize and invite diverse healthcare stakeholders to join us.•• The Campaign for Action provides a voice and a vehicle for nurses at all levels to lead/manage systemchange, in partnership with others.To meet growing health care demands/challenges, we need to change how nurses are educated, trained,and practice.•• Nurses will need to provide care to more people, with more chronic conditions, from more culturally diversebackgrounds. Nursing must be ready to meet growing demands; this includes preparing nurses topractice in new ways and in different settings, with more diverse populations.•• We need more nurses with bachelor and graduate degrees to manage increasingly complex healthsystem challenges, in a range of settings (ambulatory, community, home) and to teach the nextgeneration of nurses.
  5. 5. Campaign for Action Key Messages 5•• Outdated barriers limit fully qualified nurses and others from giving care to people who need it. Wemust change laws, regulations and organizational policies that restrict advance practice registerednurses (APRNs) and other skilled providers from practicing to the full extent of their educationand training.Our goal is to ensure that patients get the care they need, when and where they need it.•• Leadership: To meet the needs of patients, we need to prepare the next generation of nurses to meetgreater demands/challenges, and position nurses to lead/manage system change.•• Barriers to Practice and Care: Expand access to care by maximizing the use of nurses. We need to removeoutdated laws, regulations, and policies that prevent nurses from practicing to the full extent of theireducation and training OR providing care they are fully qualified to provide.•• Workforce Diversity: Recruit and train the nursing workforce to provide culturally competent carein a variety of settings to more aging and ethnically diverse patients with more chronic illness.* Nursing needs to reflect the changing demographics of the U.S. population to meet workforcedemands, provide culturally appropriate care, and address health disparities.* Racial and ethnic minorities make up 30 percent of the population, but only 10 percentof nurses.•• Education and Training: Prepare our nursing workforce for the future by strengthening education andtraining. Enable nurses to manage patient care in an increasingly complex system with new models ofcare and in a variety of settings.* A more highly educated nursing workforce can lead system improvements and improve quality,accountability, and coordination of care.* More nurses with bachelor and graduate degrees can manage system change and prepare thenext generation of nurses.•• Interprofessional Collaboration: Improve quality and coordination of health care by promoting ateam-based approach to education and practice. Encourage greater collaboration among all healthprofessionals to significantly improve patient care.* Examples include the need to reduce medical errors, hospital-based infections and re-admissions.Future of Nursing: Campaignfor Action Key Messages (continued)
  6. 6. Campaign for Action Key Messages 6Future of Nursing: Campaignfor Action Key Messages (continued)Join us to improve patient care and guide/lead system change.•• The success of this effort will depend on the willingness of diverse health care stakeholders to cometogether as leaders to expand access, improve quality, and contain costs.•• We invite you to join us and/or your state Action Coalition. You can learn about our progress and findout what each state is working on at•• Be part of the discussion. Join our Campaign. Shape the future of health care for all Americans.
  7. 7. Specific Audience Talking Points 7Specific Audience Talking PointsWhen paired with the Campaign for Action key messages, these talking points areintended to help you communicate about the Campaign  more clearly in terms thatresonate with specific audiences. Hospitals, physicians and funders are important toyour Action Coalition’s success, and you’ll be more effective if your messages canresonate with each of these groups. We’ve provided the following talking points as aguide for your Action Coalition to use in helping these audiences understand why yourwork matters and how it affects them. You should incorporate real-world examples andstories that help illustrate these messages whenever possible.HOSPITALSNurses are essential partners to hospitals’ efforts to improve quality and safety, andto meet increased patient demand.•• Hospitals can better manage an influx of older and sicker patients and millions more insured if wemaximize the role of nurses.•• The Campaign for Action is working to meet increased patient demand and control health care costs bypositioning nurses to bridge gaps in our health care workforce and ensuring that all providers canpractice at the top of their education and training.•• As hospitals face new payment and reimbursement systems, more highly educated nurses are betterpositioned to implement best practices, help manage complex systems in a variety of settings, andachieve measurable results.When nurses’ opinions are valued, we can reduce medical errors, readmission rates, fatalities, and costs.•• The Campaign for Action is working to position nurses as valued partners in health care improvement.When nurses are encouraged to speak up, we see reductions in medical errors, readmission rates, falls,and fatalities, all of which directly affect a hospital’s bottom line.•• Hospitals that don’t include nurses on their boards are missing out on the frontline clinical perspectiveonly nurses can provide.A more educated nursing workforce can deliver more efficient, coordinated health care.•• The Campaign for Action is working to strengthen education and training so nurses are positioned tomake maximum contributions to tomorrow’s health care teams and deliver highly coordinated care.•• Studies show that a more highly educated nursing workforce leads to care improvements in acute caresettings, including in lower mortality and morbidity rates.
  8. 8. Specific Audience Talking Points 8Specific Audience Talking Points(continued)•• Hospitals looking for a competitive advantage should consider hiring a more highly educated nursingworkforce.Hospitals that implement the Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommendations on nursing will beleaders in health care delivery.•• The Campaign for Action can help you to improve health care delivery quickly and efficiently byimplementing the IOM’s evidence-based recommendations on nursing. You can also make importantchanges now by ensuring that your board has at least one nurse.•• Hospitals can meet increased patient demand by removing institutional barriers to advanced practiceregistered nurse (APRN) care, credentialing APRNs to the full extent of their education and training,and providing admitting privileges to nurse practitioners and nurse midwives.•• Join the Campaign for Action and become a force for change to make nurses a valued partner in healthcare improvements.
  9. 9. Specific Audience Talking Points 9PHYSICIANSNurses can be essential partners with physicians in expanding access to care, ensuring quality andsafety, and using limited resources wisely.•• We can meet increased demand for patient care more efficiently if we reexamine our roles andresponsibilities and maximize our time and skills.•• New payment and reimbursement systems mean we need to rethink how we deliver care. One of theways we can improve health care delivery is to use nurses and physicians more effectively.•• The Campaign for Action is working with physicians, nurses, and other health care stakeholders tomanage the influx of more aging, and sicker patients, and to provide quality care for patients when andwhere they need it.We need to think less about the professions and more about the patients.•• With increased demand and provider shortages, we need to be smarter about how we use our resourcesand how we train, recruit, and retain physicians and nurses who can care for patients when and wherethey need it.•• When nurses are valued members of the health care team, we are all better able to improve quality andsafety, and reduce medical errors and costs.•• It’s about transforming health care by using nurses more effectively and positioning nurses to helpmanage complex systems in a variety of settings.When we put patients first, we all win.•• Health care transformation has left the station. If physicians and nurses join together to put patientsfirst, we will all win.•• With more and sicker patients and a shortage of providers, all clinicians need to be able to practice atthe top of their education and training.•• To better meet the needs of patients, we need to change how providers are educated, trained, andpractice. That means interprofessional education and collaboration, better coordinated care, and apartnership between physicians and nurses that enables all of us to use our skills and resourcesmore wisely.We encourage physicians to support the Campaign for Action.•• Join the movement. Visit, read the evidence-based Institute of Medicinereport on the future of nursing, and get involved.Specific Audience Talking Points(continued)
  10. 10. Specific Audience Talking Points 10•• Participate in your state Action Coalition. For the sake of better patient care, help us to removepractice barriers, strengthen nurse education and training, and promote interprofessionalcollaboration.•• Value nurses in your everyday practice and benefit from their unique insights and perspectives.Specific Audience Talking Points(continued)
  11. 11. Specific Audience Talking Points 11FUNDERSPLEASE NOTE: This messaging will depend entirely on which funder you are approaching. Please besure to check the mission and priorities of the funder, and tailor your messaging and “ask” accordingly.We’re working to change health care to better meet the needs of patients and populations.•• Our state/community is grappling with an aging and sicker population, more patients needing care,soaring health care costs, and a provider shortage. The Campaign for Action is working to expand ourability to provide care, improve quality, and control costs.•• As the largest group of frontline health care providers and the ones who spend the most time withpatients, nurses are essential to any effort to improve health care delivery and public health.•• The Campaign for Action is working to prepare and position nurses to transform health care, improvepublic health coordination, and recruit and train the next generation of nurses.The Campaign for Action is working to prepare nurses to expand access to care, improve quality, andcontain costs.•• To expand access to care, the Campaign for Action is working to remove outdated barriers that limitfully qualified nurses from providing primary and preventive care.•• As we face severe primary care shortages, we need nurse practitioners who can provide care inunderserved areas and a more diverse nursing workforce to provide culturally competent care.•• We need to bring together a diverse set of stakeholders—nurses, physicians, other providers, hospitals,health care systems, insurers, employers, consumers, and the business community—to work in the bestinterest of patients and populations.Nurses must be prepared to help the health care system of the future move into the community.•• The Campaign for Action is helping to rethink health care delivery and advocating evidence-basedInstitute of Medicine recommendations on the future of nursing.•• People want and need to stay in their homes whenever possible; when not able to do so, they need to beable to access quality care close to home.•• To better manage more patients with more chronic conditions in more complex health care systems,we need to change how nurses are educated, trained, and practice.Specific Audience Talking Points(continued)
  12. 12. Specific Audience Talking Points 12Here’s how you can help:•• If you are interested in improving patient care, access to health care, reducing medical errors,advancing nurse leadership, strengthening nurse education and training, promoting health care teams,or recruiting a more diverse culturally competent nursing workforce, we should talk.•• Learn more at and see what is happening across the country through ourstate Action Coalitions and in our online community.Other Ideas•• If you approach a community-based foundation, make sure to connect your Campaign work to how itwill help your local community.•• An Action Coalition in Wisconsin won funding from a local foundation that had nothing to do withhealth or health care, but was very interested in diversity, leadership, and economic development. TheAction Coalition framed its project in those terms and was successful.•• Check the following for possible funding or in-kind support:* Office of Rural Health* Corporations* Large employers* In-kind support* Communications counselUpdated February 2013Specific Audience Talking Points(continued)
  13. 13. Creating Effective Media Materials 1Creating Effective Media MaterialsThe media can help build support for the Campaign andpromote the work of your Action Coalition.You face a lot ofcompetition, so your materials need to be timely, clear, concise, and eye-catching.Whether you have an event to promote, a new partner to announce, or you’ve reacheda milestone in your program, you must decide what information to send and how bestto send it to a journalist, a broadcast reporter, or a producer.There are a number of different ways to sendinformation to the media. Your approach will varydepending on the audience you want to reach. Thisdocument will help you decide which materials arebest to use for the news you want to share.The list below describes several commonly usedmedia outreach materials, and the “how to” sectionsthat follow will help you create each one on your own.Press release. A news announcement issued to themedia that summarizes an organization’s event, datafindings, collaboration, development, or new project.It is usually distributed through a newswire or directlyto reporters via a pitch letter.Pitch letter. An email to reporters, editors, orproducers providing them with a story idea, newsangle, or potential spokesperson for publication. Apitch letter is designed to pique a reporter’s interestand encourage him or her to cover a specific story ortopic. It is also helpful to include a press release ormedia advisory pasted at the bottom of the email.Letter to the Editor. A timely letter written onbehalf of an individual or organization in response toa recently published story or article. Letters aredrafted to support or refute a position taken by areporter or contributor and should include examplesor current events to support the presented claim.Op-ed. An article submitted to the mediathat expresses the opinion of an individual ororganization in response to a current event or issue.Each news outlet has a preferred method ofreceiving op-eds, so be sure to check thatorganization’s guidelines before submitting.Media advisory. A brief announcement thatdescribes an upcoming event or activity. Thisdocument should be short, easy to read, and shouldfeature key points of interest, including the who,what, when, where, why, and how,plus contact information for media inquiries.
  14. 14. Creating Effective Media Materials 2How to Write and Distributea Press ReleaseA press release is a statement prepared for distribution tothe mediathat publicizes something newsworthy. Most journalists regard pressreleases as a valuable starting point for preparing a story. While some news organizationsrun press releases verbatim, most use them to gain an overview of the facts. Then theychoose the angle they want to pursue. When preparing to write a press release, considerwhether your announcement will provide something of value to the media:•• Is the information timely, or are you releasing new or surprising data or information?•• Does the news affect a large number of people in the community?•• Do you have a notable spokesperson involved in your work?•• Have you reached a major milestone in your project?These questions will help you determine thenewsworthiness of your announcement. Should youdecide to go this route, below are some importantitems to include in your release:Dateline and Contact. This section at the top ofthe page contains the “For Immediate Release” or“Embargoed Until” date, as well as contactinformation for the person a reporter shouldconsider a source for more details or for schedulingan interview. This should include name, phonenumber, and email address for the media relationscontact person.Embargo. This note that appears before the date ofrelease tells journalists not to leak or print the storybefore a particular deadline. This is typically usedfor product announcements and for studies that aredue to be published in scientific journals. If youwould like to providea press release to a reporter and not have theinformation go public until a certain date, you cancreate an embargo by writing “Embargoed Until”before the release date. The phrase “For ImmediateRelease,” which is often found at the top of a pressrelease, indicates that the information in the releaseis not embargoed.Headline. The first line of text in the press releasethat deals with the topic is the headline. It tells areporter what the press release is about and why thisnews matters. It can be a very effective tool to gainthe attention of the journalist, so make yourheadline compelling and relevant. It should bedescriptive but not too long—somewhere in therange of 100 characters. It should be formatted intitle case, that is, each word of four letters or moreshould have the first letter capitalized. Acronyms,of course, can be all caps.
  15. 15. Creating Effective Media Materials 3How to Write and Distributea Press Release (continued)Body­—dateline. Begin the first line of yourpress release with the originating city of thenews described.Body—lead. This is your introductory paragraph,where the “meat” of the press release begins. Thefirst few sentences should provide answers to thequestions who, what, when, where, and why thisstory matters.Body—details. Here, after the introduction, giveexplanation, statistics, and background that supportthe claims you’ve made in the introductory paragraph.The body should be at least 3000 characters, or 500words, and should have a minimum of twoparagraphs. Each paragraph should be between5 and 8 lines long. Leave a blank line after eachparagraph for good visibility. And try to includeone or more quotes from key spokespersons orpeople who provide credibility and support forthe case you make.Boilerplate. The boilerplate acts as an “about”statement, and is used repeatedly and consistently.It is generally a short section providing backgroundinformation on the organization(s) issuing thepress release.See sample press release on next page
  16. 16. Creating Effective Media Materials 4Sample Press ReleaseNEWS RELEASE CONTACT: Linda Tieman,(206) 878-1200August 20, 2012 Lisa Lederer, (202) 371-1999Washington State One of Just Nine States Selected for Grant toBuild a More Highly Educated Nursing WorkforceFocus in Washington State Will be on Increasing the Proportion of BSN Nurses to 80 PercentPrinceton, N.J. —The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) today announced that Washington State is one of ninestates chosen for a two-year, $300,000 grant to advance state and regional strategies aimed at creating a more highlyeducated, diverse nursing workforce. The funding is through a new RWJF program, Academic Progression in Nursing(APIN).In addition to Washington State, those chosen for the new grants are California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Montana, NewMexico, New York, North Carolina, and Texas. Coalitions in each state will now work with academic institutions andemployers on implementing sophisticated strategies to help nurses get higher degrees in order to improve patient care andhelp fill faculty and advanced practice nursing roles. In particular, the states will encourage strong partnerships betweencommunity colleges and universities to make it easier for nurses to transition to higher degrees.The emphasis in Washington State will be on increasing the number of nurses with a bachelor of science in nursing(BSN) or higher degree to 80 percent. “This work is transformative. We’ve had the right people for years and have beenmaking progress, but this grant will really help us make sustainable change,” said Linda Tieman, RN, MN, FACHE,executive director of the Washington Center for Nursing. Currently, 51 percent of Washington State nurses have a BSNor higher degree. “We’ve got work to do. But it’s work we enjoy doing.”APIN is run by the American Organization of Nurse Executives (AONE) on behalf of the Tri-Council for Nursing,consisting of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the National League for Nursing, American NursesAssociation, and AONE, which is leading the $4.3 million, Phase I two-year initiative.In its groundbreaking report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, the Institute of Medicine(IOM) recommended that 80 percent of the nursing workforce be prepared at the baccalaureate level or higher by the year2020. At present, about half of nurses in the United States have baccalaureate or higher degrees. While acknowledgingthe contributions of Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses and associate-degree-prepared Registered Nursesto health care, the IOM report says that a better-educated nursing workforce is needed to ensure that our nation’spopulation has access to high-quality, patient-centered care.“The nation needs a well-educated nursing workforce to ensure an adequate supply of public health and primary careproviders, improve care for patients living with chronic illness, and in other ways meet the needs of our aging andincreasingly diverse population,” said Pamela Austin Thompson, MS, RN, CENP, FAAN, national program director forAPIN, chief executive officer of AONE, and senior vice president for nursing at the American Hospital Association. “Wehave great confidence in the nine states that will receive these grants to implement bold and effective strategies that willwork in their states and create models that other states can utilize.”RWJF is also helping advance recommendations in the IOM report by supporting The Future of Nursing: Campaign forAction. The Campaign for Action is a collaborative effort to advance solutions to challenges facing the nursing professionin order to improve quality and transform the way Americans receive health care. It is coordinated through the Center toRelease date/StatusHeadlineDatelineSupportingquoteSupportingquoteLead
  17. 17. Creating Effective Media Materials 5Sample Press Release(continued)Champion Nursing in America, an initiative of AARP, the AARP Foundation, and RWJF. It supports 49 state-basedAction Coalitions around the country, and Action Coalitions are leading the APIN work in each of the nine funded states.“Our state Action Coalitions are bringing nursing and other key leaders together to ensure that nurses have criticalcompetencies, including leadership, cultural competence, interprofessional collaboration, and quality and safety, and toincrease the diversity of the nursing workforce,” said RWJF Senior Adviser for Nursing Susan B. Hassmiller, PhD, RN,FAAN. “We are pleased to be able to provide financial support to nine of the Action Coalitions that are doing highlyeffective work on academic progression. Advancing a more highly educated, diverse workforce where nurses are able topractice to the top of their education and training is essential to achieving the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’smission to improve health and health care in this country.”The Washington Center for NursingThe Washington Center for Nursing’s mission is to contribute to the health and wellness of people in Washington Stateby ensuring that there is an adequate nursing workforce to meet the current and future health care needs of ourpopulation.About the Robert Wood Johnson FoundationThe Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As thenation’s largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to health and health care, the Foundation works with a diverse groupof organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, measurable, and timely change. For 40years the Foundation has brought experience, commitment, and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems thataffect the health and health care of those it serves. When it comes to helping Americans lead healthier lives and get thecare they need, the Foundation expects to make a difference in your lifetime. For more information, visit the Foundation on Twitter or Facebook the Tri-Council for NursingThe Tri-Council for Nursing is an alliance of four autonomous nursing organizations each focused on leadership foreducation, practice, and research. The four organizations are the: American Association of Colleges of Nursing;American Nurses Association; American Organization of Nurse Executives; and the National League for Nursing. Whileeach organization has its own constituent membership and unique mission, they are united by common values andconvene regularly for the purpose of dialogue and consensus building, to provide stewardship within the profession ofnursing. These organizations represent nurses in practice, nurse executive,s and nursing educators. The Tri-Council’sdiverse interests encompass the nursing work environment, health care legislation and policy, quality of health care,nursing education, practice, research, and leadership across all segments of the health delivery system.Boilerplate
  18. 18. Creating Effective Media Materials 6How to Draft a Pitch LetterThere is intense competition today for media coverage.Togenerate media interest in your activities, you will need to think about how to “package”or “sell” your efforts before drafting a pitch letter or a press release. Consider:•• What’s the news?•• Why does it matter?•• Why should people care?The top-of-mind answers you might give may not bethe answers you need for reporters. In other words,there is a difference between “inside baseball”—stories that may be of interest to the trade or industrypress (e.g., nursing magazines)—and what might beof interest to your local paper, especially if you livein a major media market.The Campaign for Action is focused on five basicissue areas as outlined in the Institute of Medicine’sFuture of Nursing report. To generate media interest,you will need to frame your work in terms of why itmatters to patients, or how what you are doing isaddressing major health care challenges, such asaccess, cost, and quality/safety. No matter what youfocus on, you will need a local angle, for example:•• Are advance practice registered nurses (APRNs)solving a provider shortage in your state? Or,is your state suffering from a provider shortagethat APRNs could solve, if practice barrierswere removed?•• Do you have a nursing school in your state? If so,what will the proposed education changes meanfor that institution? More jobs?•• Are any of the hospitals in your state changinghiring requirements for nurses, e.g., requiringbachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degrees?What is your involvement, and what is the localreaction to these changes?Once you have your angle and story idea and thereporter’s contact information, you are ready towrite a pitch letter.A pitch letter is designed to pique a reporter’sinterest and encourage him or her to cover a specificstory or topic. A pitch letter must contain basic factsabout the newsworthy item and provide substantialreasons for the reporter to cover the story. A pitchletter should not tell the entire story (your pressrelease will do that), but rather should offer aninteresting angle and key spokespersons who areavailable to speak on the subject. You should notpitch multiple stories at once. It’s a good idea tomonitor news coverage and pitch to a relevantreporter at the appropriate time.Pitch letters should be distributed via email andpersonalized to the reporter if possible. A late-morning distribution time is recommended, because
  19. 19. Creating Effective Media Materials 7How to Draft a Pitch Letter (continued)reporters have already had their daily planningmeetings, but are not yet deeply involved in otherstories and are not scrambling to meet four or fiveo’clock deadlines.Here are some tips to help assure that a reporter willread your pitch letter:Start with an attention-grabbing subject line.Reporters receive hundreds of emails and unsolicitedpitches a day, and the subject line is the first thingthey notice. There are a number of ways you canmake your subject line eye-catching. Connect yourtopic to a current news trend, if possible. If you’repitching a story about a new partnership, why doesit matter? What is your goal? If your story involves awell-known organization or location that willresonate with the reporter, be sure to put that intothe subject line. Don’t mislead by promising the“first ever” if it’s not (reporters are often wary ofthose kinds of claims anyway). Take some time tocraft a short, attention-getting subject line that willmake the reporter want to open your email. Andkeep it short and sweet.Get to the point. Don’t bury your lead in the bodyof your email. Pique the reporter’s interest in thefirst sentence. Give the reporter something that willmake him say either, “Gee, I never knew,” or “That’sa fantastic story.”Make it personal. Your pitch letter should containbasic information, but your primary objective is todeliver a relevant and customized angle to specificreporters. Do your homework and research yourtarget. What stories has this reporter filed in thepast? Has she covered nursing or other relevanthealth care issues? If so, when? Were the storiespositive, negative, or neutral in tone? Whichsource(s) did she quote? Never miss an opportunityto compliment a reporter on a story she wrote thatyou liked.Take your time. The process of finding the righttargets, reviewing their recent work, and thenwriting, rewriting, editing, thinking, and proofingtakes time, but in the end, the payoff is getting yourstory covered.See sample pitch letter on next page
  20. 20. Creating Effective Media Materials 8Sample Pitch LetterSample Media Pitch E-mailStory Idea: Campaign Update. It’s been more than two years since the Institute of Medicine released itslandmark report on the future of nursing. What goals or issue areas is your Action Coalition working on?What are the most pressing needs in your state? What is the trend in terms of home care? Have there beenany high-profile stories about medical errors or unmet needs? Is your state experiencing a populationinflux? How are health care needs being met or not? Customize the pitch below according to thequestions or issues you are dealing with in your state.Sample PitchSUBJ: Reinventing the Modern NurseGreetings [NAME],Two years ago, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) issued a landmark report on the future of nursing thatreceived widespread attention—including in your paper [CHECK THIS AND SEND TOAPPROPRIATE REPORTER, NEWS, OR HEALTH EDITOR. CITE THE ARTICLE TITLE ANDDATE].The report outlined strategies to address the increasing demands on our health care system, including anaging and sicker population, millions more insured thanks to health care reform, a shortage of primarycare providers, and the soaring cost of care.Here in [STATE], we are working to implement the IOM’s recommendations. As the lead/co-lead of ourstate’s Action Coalition on behalf of the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action (a joint initiative of theRobert Wood Johnson Foundation® and AARP™), we believe that nurses are uniquely qualified toaddress many of the challenges facing our health care system, both quickly and cost-efficiently.We are working to:• Expand access to primary care by removing outdated barriers that prevent advance practiceregistered nurses (APRNs) such as nurse practitioners from providing care to the full extent oftheir education and training;• Improve the coordination of care by adopting more team-based approaches to care in medicaleducation and practice;• Strengthen nurse education to increase the number of nursing faculty and the number of advanceddegree nurses who can manage leadership roles;• Recruit a more diverse nursing workforce to provide culturally competent care and to helpaddress health disparities.I would be more than happy to discuss some possible story ideas on our work here in [STATE] and theprogress we are making to improve access to care for all our residents.Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to speaking with you.Sincerely,[NAME]  
  21. 21. Creating Effective Media Materials 9How to Write and Submita Letter to the EditorSubmitting a letter to the editor is an effective way for youto comment on a specific issue being covered in the press, and to presentyourself as an expert or spokesperson on that issue. A letter to the editor responds to anews article, editorial, or opinion piece that has already appeared in the newspaper. Itshould provide new information, a correction, or a different perspective than the originalarticle. It also provides an opportunity to connect with the media in lieu of any newsworthyannouncement or event.Here are some tips to help get you started.Take a Position. Take a stand either in favor of orin opposition to an opinion expressed by the editorialor article that prompted your letter, or offer newinformation or a perspective that was not includedin the article. Use your research or your organization’stalking points to back up your position.Be Specific. Focus on a particular issue that thearticle or opinion piece raised. You risk dilutingthe letter’s overall impact if you address more thanone issue.Be Brief. Keep your letter to one or two paragraphs.If you find that you have a lot more to say, considersubmitting an op-ed article to the paper. (For moreinformation, see the tip sheet, “How to Write andPlace an Op-Ed” in the “Resources” section the Original Article. In the first or secondsentence of your letter, mention the title and date ofthe article your letter is responding to: e.g., “DearEditor: Your recent coverage of the issue of theuninsured (“Health Care in America,” June 13,2012) was a thoughtful piece…”Say Thank You. If the coverage was particularlygood, you could open your letter by thankingor congratulating the reporter or newspaper fortheir work.Edit and Try Again. Write and edit your lettercarefully. If the letter isn’t published, considersubmitting it to the comment thread at the end ofthe original piece in the online edition. In somecases, comment threads attract more readers thanthe letters to the editor.See sample letter to the editor on next page
  22. 22. Creating Effective Media Materials 10Sample Letter to the EditorNursing programs are about quality care, equityCommentaryBy Walter Bumphus, Published June 29, 2012Editor’s note: The following is a letter to the editor to the New York Times pertaining to a June 24 article on requirements fornursing students.Dear Editor:Because the nation’s community colleges currently prepare more than half of all new nurses, we read with interest your recentcoverage of the growth in BSN programs at four-year colleges (Perez-Pena, Richard, "More Stringent Requirements Send NursesBack to School," New York Times, June 24, A13).The writer gives compelling context for an urgent national problem, a problem that will become worse over the coming decadesas an additional 32 million people strain the capacity of our health care system. An estimated 848,000 new nurses will be neededby 2020 to ensure quality of care for our families and communities. In fact, research recently released by GeorgetownUniversity’s Center on Education and Workforce indicates at least a 29 percent shortfall in professionally trained nurses.Community college nursing programs–either alone or in partnership with four-year institutions–remain critical to meeting thenation’s need. Your article presents a number of contradictory and somewhat unclear assertions. It suggests that BSN educatednurses are preferred, but then notes that “such policies are limited to a small fraction of hospitals.” It cites surveys purported toshow that most hospitals would rather hire BSN nurses, but it does not document that research. It quotes administrators whoimply community college educated nurses may be “limited to nonhospital settings," without explaining the clear and prevailingtrend that much of our health care is increasingly moving to community and public settings.A further and key point that the article does not address relates to equitable access to health care careers. The shift in our nation’sdemographic makeup is well documented, with minority populations projected to represent a growing percentage of the nation’sworkforce. Community colleges provide the greatest diversity to the nursing workforce and are the typical gateway to practice forthe highest percentage of minority students. In addition, in remote and rural communities, which typically face greater challengesin attracting and retaining adequate numbers of nurses, community colleges provide an essential pipeline to the nursingprofession and thus to quality of care in those communities.Because we are dealing with human lives and not just an issue of supply and demand, understanding the factors underlying thenursing shortage is complex. Devising strategies to address that shortage while also protecting access and equity for students whowould hope to enter the profession requires greater support for all nursing programs. Community colleges are key—both to themathematical and the human equations.Bumphus is CEO and president of the American Association of Community Colleges.  
  23. 23. Creating Effective Media Materials 11How to Write and Place an Op-edAn op-ed—the term stands for “opposite the editorialpage”—is an opinion essay written by either a newspaper’s staff columnistor an outside contributor. Writing and placing an op-ed is a potential means forpromoting your work on behalf of your Action Coalition or the broader Campaign forAction and for raising awareness of an issue among policy-makers and the public. Hereare some suggestions for writing and placing an op-ed:Say Something New. Stay abreast of the paper’sangle on the subject you want to address. If youprovide a new angle, your submission may receivemore consideration.Stay Focused. Hone in on one angle of the issue.Include relevant examples and statistics, providesuccinct interpretations of their significance, andif possible, close with a “call to action.”Address Your Target Audience. Decide whomyou want to reach and consider their interests asyou write. What are their needs, concerns, andlikely objections to your points?Avoid Jargon. Do not use technical or “insider”language. If a specific term is absolutely necessary,define it for a lay audience.Edit Your Work. Submit a carefully written piece,keeping in mind that newspapers reserve the rightto edit it further (usually for length and clarity).Newspapers generally limit op-eds to between 700and 800 words. It is a good idea to ask a friend orsomeone outside your field to review the article fortypos and basic understanding before you submit it.Follow the Paper’s Guidelines. Major newspapersexpect exclusivity and will not consider op-eds thathave been submitted to, posted to, or published byother news outlets, including blogs. Papers typicallypublish on their websites their terms and conditionsfor accepting op-eds.See sample op-ed on next page
  24. 24. Creating Effective Media Materials 12Sample Op-edLocal View: Time is right to address nursing shortageJANUARY 11, 2012 11:57 PM • BY JULIANN SEBASTIAN / FOR THE LINCOLN JOURNAL STARThe shortage of nurses poses a threat to the health of Nebraskans.As Nebraskas population ages, one of the most important factors in maintaining ourquality of life is to have an adequate number of well-qualified nurses.Nurses make up the largest segment of the health professions workforce, providingessential services in every sector of health care -- from homes, schools and workplaces,to hospitals, clinics and nursing homes.Unfortunately, Nebraska is facing a growing shortage of nurses, and areas of our stateare already experiencing an impact on the health of our citizens.The Nebraska Center for Nursing estimates that by the year 2020, the state will have ashortage of more than 3,800 nurses, or more than triple the current shortage. Right now,73 of Nebraskas 93 counties have fewer nurses than the national standard. Ruralareas, in particular, are hit hard.This shortage is significant because research shows that the ratio of nurses to patientsis related to the quality of care, including patient mortality, hospital infections and falls.In addition, its important to have nurses with bachelors degrees or higher available toprovide direct care services.These nurses provide care coordination for people who are at high risk for healthproblems, helping patients make the important transition from hospital to home, andhelping people stay healthy at home.We also need more advanced practice registered nurses -- such as nurse practitioners -- to provide care to people with common and recurring illnesses. Nurse practitionerswork with physicians and other health professionals, giving patients the best of inter-professional team care.Increasing the number of nurses in Nebraska will not only lead to healthier communities,it also will strengthen local economies. Nurses contribute to the economic success of acommunity. Nurses pay taxes and purchase homes, goods and services. They providea workforce that allows communities to retain their own medical clinics, hospitals andnursing homes. In turn, the availability of high-quality, affordable health care contributes
  25. 25. Creating Effective Media Materials 13Sample Op-edto workforce productivity and provides a recruitment advantage to attract and retainbusinesses.The growing shortage of nurses is not for lack of interest among students. In Nebraska,402 qualified applicants were turned away from baccalaureate and graduate nursingprograms in 2010, including 50 to 60 percent of the qualified applicants to our Kearneyand Lincoln programs.We cannot accept more students, however, for two primary reasons: We lack adequatespace to accommodate their instruction, and we do not have enough faculty to teachthem.At the UNMC College of Nursing, we have been making progress toward addressingthis issue over the past few years, adding a fifth division of the college in Norfolk in 2010and expanding our Omaha facilities last year. We must do more.Helping build a talented workforce for Nebraska is one of the universitys highestpriorities, and there is a clear need across Nebraska for more nurses and nurseeducators. Its important to note that 76 percent of UNMCs BSN nursing graduateshave chosen to remain in Nebraska, with 44 percent of our respondents practicing inrural areas.Expanded space for our high-demand programs in Lincoln and Kearney would givemore students the opportunity to pursue the career they desire, improve health,contribute to job growth and spur economies across Nebraska.One solution lies with an initiative that has been a top priority for the University ofNebraska since 2008 and that will be considered by the Legislature this year: a newfacility to house the Lincoln division of the College of Nursing on the UNL campus,replacing an inadequate rental facility in a former downtown department store. Thiswould allow our Lincoln division to expand by 64 students per year, with an emphasis ongraduate programs so we can increase the numbers of future faculty and advancedpractice nurses.The state of Nebraska has a great opportunity now to contribute to a healthierpopulation and a healthier economy by investing in expanded nursing education in keyareas of the state.Juliann Sebastian is dean of the College of Nursing at the University of NebraskaMedical Center.  
  26. 26. Creating Effective Media Materials 14How to Write a Media AdvisoryAction Coalitions are encouraged to host speakingengagements, site visits, and other eventsthat highlight localaction and support for the Campaign for Action. In-person meetings are a greatopportunity for Action Coalitions to engage local communities, organizations,and state leaders in an effort to advance campaign goals.A media advisory is designed to provide importantfacts about an upcoming event so that reporterscan make decisions about whether or how they’llcover it. The advisory should outline the keyelements of the event that are most important tothe media, including:Logistical information. Include the date, time,and location.Purpose. Include a teaser about why the event ishappening and what information the reporters canexpect to get by attending or tuning in.Key speakers. Include the names and titles ofspecific newsmakers attending and/or participatingin the event.Interview opportunities. Include informationabout scheduled times and locations for one-on-oneinterviews with speakers or panelists.Contact information. Include a name and phonenumber of the person reporters can call for moreinformation.NOTE: With budget cuts to news staffs, it may bedifficult to encourage media to actually attend yourevent. In that case, a media advisory can be used topromote either a conference call (also known as a“telebriefing”) between members of the news mediaand your spokespersons or a live webcast of theevent. Be sure to include information about how tolog on or call in.See sample media advisory on next page
  27. 27. Creating Effective Media Materials 15MEDIA ADVISORY CONTACT: Gretchen Wright or Johanna DíazFebruary 23, 2011 (202) 371-1999Emily Dodd for The College of New Jersey(609) 771-3066Advancing Health and Nursing: New Jersey’s Campaign for ActionNew Jersey Health Experts to Discuss Plans to Expand, Improve, and Advance Nursing andHealth Care for All New Jersey ResidentsLeading experts on nursing and health care in New Jersey will discuss a groundbreaking campaign to improve health caredelivery, increase access to health care, and hold the line on costs across the state. The effort is part of the Robert WoodJohnson Foundation’s Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action. New Jersey is one of only five states to participate in thepilot phase of the Campaign.The forum will be held:10am – 11:30am, February 25, 2011Mildred and Ernest E. Mayo Concert HallMusic Building, The College of New Jersey2000 Pennington RoadEwingSpeakers will include:Susan Hassmiller, PhD, RN, FAAN, senior adviser for nursing, Robert Wood Johnson FoundationEdna Cadmus, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, clinical professor and director of the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program–Leadership Track, Rutgers University College of NursingMary Ann Christopher, MSN, RN, FAAN, president, Visiting Nurse Association of Central Jersey, national advisory chair,New Jersey Nursing InitiativeDavid Knowlton, president and CEO, New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute, former deputy commissioner, New JerseyDepartment of HealthSpeakers will address the ways in which the New Jersey Regional Action Coalition is piloting efforts to:• Strengthen the team-based system to allow all health providers to deliver care that complements the expertise oftheir colleagues;• Allow all health providers to deliver the care they are trained to deliver;• Improve nursing education to meet the needs and demands of changing populations;• Empower and prepare nurses to lead, which will help improve care delivery; and• Improve workforce data collection and analysis.# # # #The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As thenation’s largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and health care of all Americans, we work witha diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, meaningful, and timelychange. For more than 35 years we’ve brought experience, commitment, and a rigorous, balanced approach to theproblems that affect the health and health care of those we serve. When it comes to helping Americans lead healthier livesand get the care they need, we expect to make a difference in your lifetime. For more information, visit was the 40th anniversary of the first baccalaureate nursing class at The College of New Jersey. The School ofNursing has a rich history of faculty, students, and alumni leaders who have contributed to the school, the College, andthe nursing profession through education, practice and research, health care delivery, and health policy.Sample Media Advisory
  28. 28. Introduction to Traditional Media Outreach 1Introduction to TraditionalMedia OutreachThe media can serve as an important tool to build support forthe Campaign and promote the work of your Action Coalition. Local and nationalmedia can help raise broader public awareness of your issues, prompting action andinfluencing decision-making that can help move the Campaign for Action forward.The growing media landscape has opened opportunitiesto talk about the Campaign in print and broadcastnews, as well as online and through social media. Thisdocument focuses on traditional media, including printand broadcast (TV and radio) news. To make use ofthese channels, it is important to consider the tone andcontent specific to the news outlet you choose and totailor your information for specific audiences.Many Action Coalitions have generated media coveragein local newspapers that highlight accomplishments,publicize meetings and events, and provide commentaryon news articles about nursing and health care. Byoffering something “newsworthy” to a media outlet,Action Coalitions can reach a wider audience, educatestakeholders, and in some cases, create new partnerships.Reaching out to media may feel daunting at first, and itcan be time consuming—but the benefits this outreachcan yield are well worth the effort.
  29. 29. Introduction to Traditional Media Outreach 2How to Tell if It’s NewsWhen you know what reporters consider newsworthy andprepare your messages accordingly, you can increase the odds of your research makingthe news.So what makes a good story?A number of factors help determinenewsworthiness. The more items in thislist that apply to your work, the greaterpotential interest it may hold for a mediaoutlet.•• Timeliness. Is your work related in some way to arecent news topic or a new issue? For example, canyou tie the need to expand access to AdvancedPractice Nurses to the Affordable Care Act and theanticipated increase in need for primary careproviders? Perhaps Nurses Week offers opportunitiesfor a timely news hook.•• Discovery or novelty. Are you working in a way thatis new or surprising? Is there something significantlydifferentaboutyourapproachto nursing (or education,interprofessional collaboration, or leadership) fromothers in the field?•• Magnitude. Are many people involved with oraffected by your work? Are the lessons learned fromyour approach relevant to a large and growingnumber of people, or to a small, segmented population?•• Human interest. Can you provide personalstories that would highlight your work and makeit more compelling?•• Notable spokesperson. Does your work address anissue that has caught the eye of a well-known publicfigure? The involvement of such a person can dowonders for getting an issue intothe press.•• Milestones. Can you tie your story to the anniversaryof the IOM report on the Future of Nursing(October 5) or a national observance day?•• Visuals. Think about anything visual you can use inyour presentation, materials, or interview. Can yourtelevision interview be conducted in a hospital orhealth care setting rather than in your office? If youare working in the field of nurse education, can thestory be filmed in a classroom?•• Practical information. Has your work led to actionsteps or recommendations that other states or systemscould use to address the same nursing issue?The communications team at CCNA is available to help you determine whether anevent or other content is newsworthy or to help you modify it to increase the interest ofthe news media.When considering what topics tocover, reporters, editors andproducers ask themselves questionssuch as:ü Will our readers/listeners/ viewersbe interested?ü How does it affect our audience?ü Does it make a good story?
  30. 30. Introduction to Traditional Media Outreach 3Deciding Which Media Outlet Is RightBefore approaching a news outlet, you want to be sure to understandyour message, the “hook” in the story, and which outlets are likely to cover this kindof information.For widely read publications like daily state newspapers,consider submitting an editorial piece. Opinioneditorials and letters to the editor have a much greaterchance of publication than a hard news story, especiallywhen signed by a leading local health expert. Consideralso writing a letter to the editor of a specialtypublication, especially one that targets your state’sbusiness, education, or health community.Your Action Coalition may also seek outreachopportunities with broadcast news on television andradio. Radio is sometimes easier to connect with thanTV, because talk radio stations, both AM and FM, oftenlook for brief news stories that have a large local angle.In addition, many local universities and colleges haveradio stations, and some National Public Radio affiliatesare found on the campuses of academic institutions.Network TV news affiliates like your local ABC, NBC,CBS and FOX stations may cover a story if they believeit has a large impact on local viewers. These stations,in addition to your local public television station, mayhost a weekly segment or interview show on communityaffairs. Take a look or a listen to your local TV and radiostations and make a note of the range of opportunitiesavailable within each news outlet.
  31. 31. Introduction to Traditional Media Outreach 4Building Your List of Media ContactsOnce you’ve decided on the story you want to promote and the bestmedia outlets to reach, the next step is finding out who to “pitch” for your story.Consider which newspapers, radio, or TV stations youread, listen to, or watch for local and state businessnews. There is a good chance that your target audiencesare reading, listening to and watching the same newsoutlets. Take a moment and write down these newssources. Most media outlets have websites, so you can gothere to find out which programs may be appropriate foryour message.You can also use Google to determine media outlets inyour area. For example, to find local talk radio stationsin your area, Google “talk radio” and your city and state(e.g., “talk radio Ventura County, Calif.”). Or, to determineaffiliates in your area, Google “ABC affiliate” and cityand state (e.g., “ABC affiliate Ventura County, Calif.”).For each contact you find for your media list, be sure toinclude the name, phone number and email address.Then, think about the kinds of reporters and editorswho would be interested in your story. Those coveringhealth and health care might be interested, but you alsowant to be thinking of additional topics or audiencesrelevant to the work of your coalition such as education,aging issues, or policy and legislative news.The next step is to get the name and contact informationof those reporters and editors. Scan the state’snewspapers (or look on their websites) to see whichreporter is covering which type of issue. Also, manyacademic institutions and libraries have access toLexisNexis, a service that provides synopses of pastarticles by topic. To find out the names of the editors(those in charge of a section of the newspaper), youmight need to contact the paper directly. TV and radiostations have producers who make the decisions aboutwhich stories to cover. Their names may be on thestations’ websites or you may need to call the station tofind out that information.Talk to members in your Action Coalition in case theyalready have this information. Often, universities andlarge corporations already have media lists developedand may be willing to share them with you. The mediaor public relations department at such institutions canoften be invaluable in helping you build your contact list.
  32. 32. Getting Started with Social Media 1Getting Started with Social MediaOver the past decade, social media has emerged as an extremely influential tool forcommunications. It has become the rule, not the exception, when conducting outreachactivities. Social networks and platforms—such as blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and videoapplications—give participating audiences an immediate, interactive place to discussand share items of interest. Engaging in social media can help your Action Coalition to:•• Disseminate information and achievements toonline audiences.•• Ask your stakeholders to take action.•• Connect to other organizations.•• Build grassroots efforts through localsocial networks.•• Keep advocates up-to-date on local andnational progress.•• Solicit feedback and ideas from people ororganizations in your community.Connecting with your audience online can helpyou gain exposure to the communities you valuemost—whether they’re nursing students, healthcare professionals, policy-makers, bloggers, orcommunity organizations—and offer them a wayto engage with your Action Coalition and theCampaign for Action. Through social media, you cantap into a network of individuals to advance yourshared goals toward transforming health care, andyou can build a community and engage friends andfollowers like never before.With all the momentum behind the ever-growingworld of social media, it’s easy to forget a fewimportant concepts.Social media is just one of the tools in yourcommunications toolkit. Used correctly, socialmedia can help you expand the reach of your othercommunications efforts such as websites, pressmaterials, newsletters, and e-blasts by distributingyour messages in a fast and easily accessible way thatallows for viral distribution.Social media is a two-way street. While you may beexcited to push your message out, you’ll likely besearching for content to share as well as monitoring,reviewing, and responding to questions andcomments from others. If you use social media onlyto get your messages out and ignore what others aresaying, you’re not embracing the purpose of socialmedia and you may alienate your audience.Although most social media platforms and toolsare free to use, your time is not. It will take timeto learn a new technology, adapt to a new way ofcommunicating (in some cases, such as tweetingwhere many words are abbreviated), find ways togrow your social media presence, and engage withothers on social media on a regular basis. Makingthe investment will be well worth the return—arobust online community to engage with and helpadvance your efforts!
  33. 33. Getting Started with Social Media 2Creating a Facebook page or a Twitter accountfor your Action Coalition is just one part ofestablishing a communications strategy andmanaging your social media channels. In a perfectworld, you would have a robust social media strategythat aligns with the overall goals and objectives ofyour communications plan, which then ties intoyour strategic action plan. We understand that notevery Action Coalition has a communications planin place, and that’s okay. Now is still a good time tolearn about how to use social media and how it canbenefit your Action Coalition’s work. You can dipyour toe in the water without fully diving in!To help you prepare, we’ve included a quickreference guide to familiarize you with social mediatools and terminology. Although not all-inclusive,the list will help you get started. Further in thismodule, you’ll also learn how to communicate viasocial media with the Campaign and its partners,and you’ll see step-by-step guides to creating aFacebook page and Twitter account for yourAction Coalition.Getting Started with Social Media(continued)
  34. 34. Getting Started with Social Media 3Social Media GlossaryWeb 2.0—ThecurrentlandscapeforInternettechnologyandusability,whichallowsuserstointeractandexchangeinformationoveravirtualcommunity.ExamplesincludesocialnetworkingsiteslikeFacebook,blogsliketheHuffingtonPost,wikislikeWikipedia,videosharingsiteslikeYouTube,hostedservicesandWebapplications.Social media—Platforms or tools (often online oraccessed via mobile device) that allow and encouragecommunication and content sharing through easilyaccessible Web-based publishing technologies. Socialmediacantakemanydifferentforms,includingInternetforums and blogs among others.Social network—Incomputing,aWeb-basedplatformthat connects individuals, groups, organizations, andcommunities with one another through a variety ofshared interests, ideas, and knowledge. Most socialnetworking sites allow privacy settings to limit theamount of information that is shared with other users.Social networks include Facebook, Twitter, andLinkedIn among others.Facebook—A social networking site that allows usersto connect and engage with other users through profile,fan, and event pages. Participants manage a profile pageto publicize interests and work/study information andhave the option to update their profiles with comments,sharedlinks,posts,and“likes.”Facebookfanpagesalloworganizations to promote information and events andkeepsupportersorconstituentsengagedintheiractivities.Twitter—A social network built around micro-blogging that allows users to post and read “tweets,”text containing no more than 140 characters in length.Users can “follow” and “be followed” by other users,allowing them to repost another author’s tweet andsharepersonaltweetswithindividualsandorganizationsin their network.LinkedIn—The leading online professional directoryofindividualsandcompanies,providingaccesstopeople,jobs,news,andupdates.Professionalscansendmessages,posts links, add skills, give and receive individualendorsements on LinkedIn members’ skills, and more.Those who are already using Twitter can set up theirLinkedIn updates to appear in their Twitter feed andvice versa, so the two networks complement each other.Organizations can use a “company” page to buildvisibility for their brand.Google Plus (or Google+)—A social networkingservice (owned and operated by Google) that has beendescribed as an information network where people canshare and follow interests rather than a purely socialsite such as Facebook. Unlike conventional socialnetworks that are generally accessed through a singlewebsite, Google+ has been described by Google as a“social layer” consisting of not just a single site, butrather an overarching “layer” that covers many of itsonline properties. Companies can form communities,categorize content, and gain visibility using this service.Instagram—An online photo-sharing and socialnetworking service that enables its users to takepictures, apply digital filters to them, and share themon a variety of social networking services, such asmedia sites including Facebook or Twitter.Pinterest—A virtual bulletin board for saving andsharing Web pages of interest. Pinterest allows users tocreateanddisplayboardsofinterests,creatinganidentitythrough links, pictures, words, and ideas. Nonprofitsand other organizations can use Pinterest to tell theirstory using images that link to relevant content.
  35. 35. Getting Started with Social Media 4Social Media Glossary (continued)Podcast—A channel through which digital audioand video files can be broadcast over the Internet anddownloaded to a mobile device or personal computer.Podcasts can be standalone files or part of a series;subscribers often learn of a new podcast through anRSS feed.Blog—A Web-based log that allows individuals toshare items of interest publicly. Blogs can have aneutral tone or provide commentary on recent news.They can be created in an open or closed platform,allowing the author to control who can viewinformation. Blogs also often allow for commentsfrom readers, engendering a conversation among avariety of individuals. A few examples include theRobert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) HumanCapital Blog, the New York Times Well blog, and theAmerican Journal of Nursing’s Off the Charts blog.RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds—A way tostream information, including news, music, video, andevents, from one website to another. This Web feedformat allows users to subscribe to a variety of onlinecontent sources and have the information organizedwith other content into one combined feed. RSS feedsareusedtopublishreal-timeinformation to subscribers.All modern Web browsers include the ability toaccess RSS feeds.Discussion forum—A website similar to a messageboard that allows users to discuss topics and ideaswith several users. Discussion forums can be private orpublic, allowing users to view a conversation andengage in it if they wish. The Campaign for ActionOnline Community is a good example of a discussionforum, where Action Coalitions and Campaign staffcan post discussion topics in addition to resources.
  36. 36. Getting Started with Social Media 5Social Media SnapshotsFacebookBelow is a screenshot of the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action Facebook page. The bar at the topincludesaccesstopeople,messages,notifications,accountsettings,andasearchbartofindotherFacebookaccounts.The large image is called a “cover photo.” The smaller box to the left is for a profile picture or other image(such as a logo) can go. The space underneath includes links to photos, links to Facebook users who “like”the organization, and links to the welcome page and a listing of events.Below that, the screen is separated into two columns. The column on right shows what other people haveposted to the Facebook page; the column on left includes space to write and upload a post and shows theorganization’s posts.
  37. 37. Getting Started with Social Media 6Social Media Snapshots (continued)TwitterBelow is a screenshot of what you’ll see when you log in to a Twitter account. You can see tweets from people@FutureofNursing follows on the right side under “Tweets.” The top box on left shows how many times@FutureofNursing has tweeted, how many individuals @FutureofNursing follows, and how many peopleare following the account. Twitter also suggests users to follow and items that are “trending” in real time.Across the top bar, you can access various settings, view and update your profile, search for individuals orsubjects, and compose a tweet.
  38. 38. Getting Started with Social Media 7Social Media Snapshots (continued)PinterestBelow is a screenshot of what you’ll see when log in to a Pinterest account. The main image in the middle ofthe page is a “pin.” When you click on the image, you are taken to a website for related information. Abovethe image, you have options to “like” the pin or “repin” it to your own bulletin board. The larger bulletinboard on left (“Passion for elder care,”) is where the account holder houses that pin and other, related pins.In the far right column, you can see options to share the pin via other social media channels, includingTwitter and Facebook.
  39. 39. Getting Started with Social Media 8Social Media Snapshots (continued)LinkedInBelow is what you’ll see when you log in to a LinkedIn account. Across the top, you can access your profile,connections/contacts, and professional groups you’re a part of, for example. You can search for companiesto find their pages. Below is the company page for the Visiting Nurse Service of New York, which someonecan follow by clicking the yellow “Follow” button at the top right. Following allows you to see moreupdates and posts from the group.
  40. 40. Getting Started with Social Media 9How to Create a FacebookOrganization PageCreating a Facebook page for your Action Coalition is an easy and cost-effective way tocreate an online presence, promote your cause, publicize events, and engage a broadaudience. As you build “fans” for your page, these people can become conduits who canhelp spread the word about your coalition and the specific nursing workforce issues youare addressing.To create a Facebook organization page, follow thesteps below:1. Have an official representative of your ActionCoalition log in to his or her personal Facebookaccount* to create the page.2. *If you do not have a personal Facebook account,see step 3.3. Once logged in, go to to begin creating your page.4. If you do not have an existing personal account, youcan create a personal page by providing an email andpassword to obtain administrative authority. Werecommend storing this login informationsomewhere safe so you can remember how to accessFacebook or allow another coalition member or staffsupport to log in.5. You will be asked to select your type of organization.We recommend selecting “Company, Organization,or Institution.” Then you will see a drop-down listwith organization options. Facebook has alreadyestablished a category for Health/Medical/Pharmaceuticals, so we suggest using thatdesignation. In the “Name” box, type in the name ofyour Action Coalition, agree to the Facebook terms,and then click “Get Started6. Once the page is created, upload a profile picturethat is unique to your organization and usesbranding consistent with your website and othermaterials.ThiscouldbeyourActionCoalition logo.7. Fill in the “About” tab with the organization’smission, goals, and other information that you wantcommunity members, stakeholders, and potentialstakeholders to see.8. Fill in the “Facebook Web Address” tab with aunique Facebook Web address. Facebook willalready have a suggestion waiting.9. Skip “Enable Ads” tab.10. “Status Update” section of your page to share newinformation, coalition updates, upcoming events,new partnership announcements, and pictures. Keepthese status updates brief, and when possible link to aresource or in-depth news item on your ActionCoalition website or on Web pages of the Campaignfor Action and RWJF.11. Update your Facebook page at least twice weekly.Remember that social media networks areconstantly being updated, so you have to staycurrent to stay relevant.12. Create a photo album, if desired, with pictures frompast events if available; keep a camera on hand atfuture events to create and update your photoalbums.13. Use the “Search” tool within Facebook to findlike-minded organizations and individuals. You maywant to start by searching your Action Coalitionpartners, other state Action Coalitions, local healthexperts, the Center to Champion Nursing inAmerica, and RWJF. You can “like” fan pages and“friend” organizations that you want to be affiliatedwith.14. Interact with other users by commenting and“liking” relevant posts; respond to comments and“likes” when received.
  41. 41. Getting Started with Social Media 10How to Create aTwitter Organization PageTwitter is a social networking site that provides users with the ability to share informationin 140 characters or less. You can use your Twitter account to post news about yourAction Coalition, information about upcoming events, or updates on the nursingworld. The brief, micro-blog format and ease of mobile posting allow you to post andfollow up-to-the-minute news. Maintaining a Twitter account will help you to:•• Listen to what key stakeholders are saying aboutnursing issues and the work of your Action Coalition.•• Promote your work within and connect to awider audience.•• Monitor a variety of topics simultaneously that are ofinterest to your Action Coalition.•• Expand the reach of your work via your followers’networks and beyond.•• Participate in discussions involving thenursing community.•• Build a community of advocates of nurses andnon-nurses interested in your work.TocreateaTwitterorganizationpage,followthestepsbelow:1. To start, visit to sign up.2. Think about what you want to call your Twitteraccount or “handle.” Remember that social media isanother way to reinforce your Action Coalition’sname and brand. Consider using your stateabbreviation and the campaign acronym in yourhandle name. Keep in mind that shorter is betterwhen it comes to your handle—it’s easier toremember and uses fewer characters, making iteasier for others to retweet you.3. Once you have decided on a handle name, enter it inalong with an email address and a desired password.Then click “Create my Account.”4. Follow the Twitter prompt; to build your timeline,you must begin to follow people.5. To set up your profile information, upload an imagefor your picture and a quick bio. You can use a photoor upload your Action Coalition’s logo if you haveone. An image is a must; followers tend to viewaccounts with images as more credible.6. Under the “ME” tab, you can update informationspecific to your coalition, including:7. Updatelocationwithyourorganization’sgeographicinfo.8. Update “Web” with your actual website URL.9. Update bio with a brief description of your ActionCoalition in no more than 160 characters(including spaces).10. Make sure to click “Save” before moving on to thenext step.11. Now that your profile is complete, it’s time to tweet!A tweet is a message of no more than 140 charactersthat briefly tells your followers about a piece of newsoritemofinterest.JustaswithFacebook,werecommendtweeting relatively frequently about news, initiatives,successes, and other important bits of information.
  42. 42. Getting Started with Social Media 11How to Create aTwitter Organization Page (continued)12. You should also use what is called a hashtag (#) tofeature key words. Hashtags allow you to searcheasily for tweets that specifically deal with thattopic, and it helps individuals who do not follow youto find your tweets. For example, the Future ofNursing Twitter account uses the hashtag#futureRN when tweeting about items related tothe Institute of Medicine report or Campaign forAction. This allows us to see who else on Twitter istalking about the report. We encourage you to alsouse the #futureRN hashtag in your tweets.13. To find other users in the fields (health care,education, etc.) in which you wish to engage, youcan search for those organizations directly intwitter, or you can peruse their websites for mentionof a twitter account. If you want to subscribe totheir twitter and read their tweets, click “follow.”All tweets from that organization will now appearon your home feed.14. To better understand how to use specific Twitterfunctions, remember the following:•• Use the “@” mention function to tweet backand forth with other users.•• Use the “retweet” function to post anotheruser’s tweet on your account.•• Use the “list” function to create and organizefollowers into lists or groups by category.15. Be sure to promote your Twitter handle in youremail signature, on your business card, on yourAction Coalition’s website, and in Campaignmaterials. When it comes to gaining followers andgrowing your network, promotion is key!
  43. 43. Getting Started with Social Media 12Tips to Get StartedPick one or two platforms to start with(and see how they’re being used).With a multitude of platforms to choose from,selecting which social media channels you’ll usemight feel overwhelming. A good way to start is toselect no more than one or two platforms—perhapsFacebook and LinkedIn—and find out if thepeople you’d want to reach are using thoseplatforms. You can find this out by visiting websitesand reviewing promotional materials to search foricons and links directly to social media channels.Unless people are using a private or protectedaccount, you can directly access their Facebook pageand/or Twitter feed. You can see how often they postmessages (several times a day? daily? weekly? rarely?)and whom they interact with (organizations similarto your Action Coalition? local policymakers?members of the media?) to get a better sense of howthey’re using the platform.A simple way to inform your decision on whichplatform(s) to start using is to consider how you (orthe person who will be in charge of social media foryour Action Coalition) will use the platform. Whatkinds of posts will you share? With a limitedcharacter count, Twitter might be a good way toshare quick news bites and provide facts and stats. Ifyou want to engage audiences in conversations andhave more discussions on nursing issues, share lotsof photos or videos, perhaps Facebook might workbest. Keep in mindthatwithalimitedcharactercountandothernuances specific to the platform,Twitter generally has a steeper learning curve thanFacebook. Many find Facebook morestraightforwardand easier to manage and maintain, especially ifthey’re brand new to using social media.Regardless of where you start, there’s no right orwrong way to select a platform or to engage withothers—understanding how you’ll use social mediawill help you make an informed decision.Listen to the chatter.Listening and observing how othersinteract through social media can be agreat way to get started. You can get asense of what people andorganizations are saying, doing and promoting bysearching for certain topics and finding theconversation stream. On Twitter, you can search byusing a hashtag (#), which allows you to easilysearch for tweets that deal with a specific topic. Try ahashtag such as #nursing or #futureRN (thehashtag for the Institute of Medicine’s Future ofNursing report) to see what people are saying aboutthese topics and who is doing the talking.If you already have a Facebook account (even apersonal one), you can search for Facebook pagesrelated to nurses and nursing issues. Keep in mindthat you’ll want to keep yourpersonalaccountseparatefromaprofessionalaccountso don’t rush to “like”something from your personal account or to join aconversation until you have decided whethertouseyourpersonalaccountorcreateaprofessional one.Consider time and staffing.Although social media is meant to be aquickandinformalwayofcommunicating,managing a social media presence is moreinvolved than many think. It takes time to buildyour social media presence, cultivate “likes” andfollowers, and plan your short- and long-termmessages. Even without a fully developed strategy,you can determine a process for posting andresponding on social media.
  44. 44. Getting Started with Social Media 13Tips to Get Started (continued)Many organizations have a full-time positiondedicated to managing social media. Given staffingand resources, that may not be realistic for yourAction Coalition. If that’s the case, it’s even moreimportant to think through your process and strategyso you can plan ahead and aren’t scrambling to thinkof each tweet or post. If staff capacity is limited, youmight want to consider bringing on an unpaidcollege intern or recent graduate from acommunications or journalism program to help youget started. You or another staff member will need toprovide oversight to that intern to be sure each postaccurately presents your Action Coalition’s brandand messaging. You also could develop a social mediapolicy or guidelines for use to avoid undesirablesituations. By doing a simple online search, you’ll beable to find various organizations’ social mediapolicies, which you can adapt for your needs.Explore!Further in this guide you’ll see specific steps forsetting up a Facebook page and Twitter account.There are also plenty of tutorials available online,and new social media tools become available on aregular basis. If you’re not sure how to do somethingwith social media, chances are you can find out justby typing your question into a search engine. You alsocan ask a fellow Action Coalition or your granteeliaisonforresourcesorassistance.Socialmediaisn’t goingaway, so now’s as good a time as any to give it a try!
  45. 45. Getting Started with Social Media 14Social Media PlatformsThe Campaign for Action and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation each have a social media presence.We encourage Action Coalitions to connect with these social networks and engage with us online. Thechart below outlines the goals of each organizational presence and how each is utilized.Additionally, the Campaign for Action website ( has a robustonline community, promoting active discussion and information-sharing to bring all members of theCampaign together. We urge Action Coalitions to promote the online community to their members andjoin the conversation.Campaign for Action Robert Wood Johnson Foundation:Initiative on the Future of NursingPurpose Provides the voice for Campaign activities,engagement, and assistance to expandthe Campaign’s community and reach.Shares information and promotes engagementwith RWJF’s continued support of the researchagenda set forth by the IOM report andimplementation of the recommendations throughall of RWJF’s nursing initiatives.Platforms Twitter: @Campaign4ActionFacebook: @FutureofNursingFacebook:
  46. 46. Hosting an Action Coalition Event 1Hosting an Action Coalition EventHosting an event can be a great opportunity for your Action Coalition to engage localcommunities, organizations, funders, and state leaders as well as to increase support toadvance the work of the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action.When planning an event, consider what thepurpose of your gathering will be. Will this be aninformal meeting of your steering committee? Aninformational meeting to inform stakeholders aboutyour progress? A supportive rally meant to engagediverse stakeholders to help advance your work? Orwill it be a convening of nursing and other healthprofessional leaders to brainstorm new ways toadvance Campaign goals? No matter who youraudience is, or how large or small your event will be,strategic planning in advance will help you achieveyour goal and manage expectations along the way.
  47. 47. Hosting an Action Coalition Event 2Planning an Event:Strategic Planning QuestionsEffective planning will help ensure that your event targets the right audience and getsyou the results you want. When thinking about hosting an event, you should considerseveral questions. You might not be able to answer all of these right away, but it’simportant to think about them before your event.Goals and Objectives:•• Whatdoyouhopetoachieveasaresultofthisevent?•• What do you want attendees to take away fromthis experience?•• Is an event the best or most appropriate way toachieve your goals?•• How will this event strengthen or advance yourCampaign efforts and address the pillars or focusof your Campaign work?•• Will there be next steps or actions that you wantparticipants to take? If so, how will you track them?Planning and Production:•• Have you consulted with your Campaign liaisonor the Center to Champion Nursing in America(CCNA) to determine how they might providesupport or counsel?•• Are there opportunities for your coalitionpartners to help develop the event, promote it,or even host it at their offices? Can you alignwith another organization that is hosting anevent to consolidate resources and potentiallyincrease attendance?•• What is the best date and location for your event?Have you checked local community calendars todetermine any conflicts or opportunities?•• What are your budgetary constraints? Does yourbudget permit offering light beverages andsnacks, which can be a great way to keepparticipants satisfied and engaged?•• How will this event be archived? Does it makesense to hire a photographer or videographer?•• Have you considered web-streaming andrecording your event so audiences outside thearea can participate in or view the event?Depending on the goal of the event, having avideo archive could help extend your impact.•• What is your post-event strategy? Will attendeesbe asked to join a listserv? Will they be asked toengage their organizations as members of yourAction Coalition? What is the “ask”? How willyou ensure that attendees engage or do what youare asking? How will you measure success?•• How will participants provide feedback orevaluate the event? Will you provide aquestionnaire as a handout?•• Consider managing your event planning andlogistics by assembling a team and recruitingstudent interns as additional support. Remember,you can tap into technology such as ConstantContact or Survey Monkey to help you withorganization and tracking event invitations.
  48. 48. Hosting an Action Coalition Event 3Planning an Event:Strategic Planning Questions (continued)Communications and Marketing:•• Who is your audience?•• What is your event’s primary message? Howdoes it tie into the Campaign for Action messages?Connect with your Campaign liaison to get thelatest campaign messages.•• Will you present something new or groundbreakingthat local media may cover? If so, consider invitingselect reporters to attend (remember, a meetingitself is generally not considered newsworthy).•• How will you promote this event, and whatresources do you need to help you get theword out?•• Do your event materials (invitations,advisory, agenda, etc.) match the Campaignbranding guidelines?•• Have you considered distributing Campaignflyers or backgrounders? Have you consultedwith your Campaign liaison to discuss what isavailable from the national office?•• If you plan to have speakers, who are your bestcandidates? For example, if you are workingtoward education progression, can you include alocal nursing school dean, student, or professor?•• If there are multiple speakers, what are their rolesand what is expected of them?•• Will speakers only be asking to give oralpresentations, or will you plan to have slidepresentations?•• Will copies of presentations be available toparticipants after the event?•• If you are inviting local or state businesses,policy-makers, and leaders, would you like arepresentative from the Campaign to present?If so, fill out the Speaking Request Form,available from CCNA.•• Is there a personal story someone can tell or astory you can capture and share on your website?•• Once you’re ready to promote your event,make sure to reference the toolkit modules“Introduction to Traditional Media Outreach”and “Creating Effective Media Materials.”There are many considerations when planning anevent, and the questions above are a good startingpoint. But make sure to contact your Campaignliaison for additional support. The sample event-planning timeline and agenda included in thisdocument will help you put some of these ideasinto action.