This is October. It appears the world has turned PINK in the name of breast cancer… as if someone spilled a lifetime supply of Pepto Bismol and it coated the world.
The breast cancer PWB (powers that be) have done a remarkable job with this branding of pink and breast cancer since their first year of pink in 1985. All that PINK does an extraordinary job of raising awareness for breast cancer research and its fundraising.
And thus – October spells “breast cancer.”
So what does that have to do with your advocacy practice?
I don’t know of any plans to coat the world with some bright color for advocacy! But it does illustrate how we can use the calendar to our benefit for our work, most specifically for our marketing.
Some other examples will sound familiar to you, too:
- In early January, we begin to see articles and advertising for filing our income taxes, due April 15, of course
- Beginning in early July (and earlier in some areas) we begin to see reminders everywhere for back-to-school shopping.
- Beginning in August we see promotion for costumes, candy, and anything Halloween related. And of course we begin to see Christmas and other holiday decor for sale as early as September. (yikes.) Other holidays have their parallel “seasons” of promotion.
- Beginning right after Christmas, we begin to see many ads for weight loss. We see them again as summer (and bathing suit season) approaches.
So how can we tap into the calendar for our own advocacy marketing?
As I write this tip in October, an obvious opportunity comes to mind – Open Enrollment for choosing health insurance plans. Whether or not you are a medical billing or insurance advocate, providing tips to your clients or potential clients about Open Enrollment seems like a no-brainer. (Find some here – lots of ideas and links.)
Other calendar, advocacy-related topics like Open Enrollment might be:
- Avoiding the hospital in early summer, or over the winter holidays.
- Flu season begins in September – maybe write or speak about the pros and cons of flu shots.
- Late in the year, highlight problem dieting or diet drugs that can hurt a client.
- And if you are interested in featuring specific diseases or conditions, HHS, through Healthfinder.gov maintains “kits” full of good information to use for National Health Observances (like breast cancer awareness.)
How do you use these dates and seasons? There are a number of places you can use them to your own marketing advantage:
- Discuss them in blog posts.
- Include them in newsletters.
- Feature them in social media (facebook, twitter, instagram, pinterest, or others)
- Focus on them as topics for public speaking.
- You may think of other ways, too.
What’s the easiest way to make sure you hit the right dates for these marketing tasks?
Figure out what dates or observances you want to feature.Then, on your own calendar (whether you use Outlook or iCal, or google calendar, or even your paper planner), mark the date. Then, for each one, figure out how much preparation time you need, and make yourself an advance note on your calendar.
Example: Say you want to write a blog post about Open Enrollment. It always begin in the early part of October, so mark it on your calendar early in October, say October 3. Then, because you know it will probably take you a week to write the perfect blog post, you’ll note your calendar one week earlier, in this case September 26, to start writing the post.
Repeat for each date you want to highlight.
As you complete each one of these calendar-related tasks, move them to the next year’s calendar – then, on the date your preparation will begin (like September 26), make notes to improve the same task for next year. Keep track of what worked, what didn’t, or what you wished you had remembered to do.
Your calendar can be a powerful marketing trigger! So use it… or, like time itself, you’ll lose it.
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