In October, we wear pink. But did you ever wonder where Breast Cancer Awareness Month started?

Well, you can thank the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). They’re the department behind the National Health Observances (NHO) calendar — which is about to become your new favorite tool for creating the editorial calendar of your dreams.

Since every piece of content can be repurposed for online distribution, always use SEO best practices when creating content. You could even get lucky and have a national news outlet pick it up. (It’s possible; just ask our client Henry Ford Health System. The doctor interviewed in their blog post was featured on Good Morning America.)

Build Your Editorial Calendar: Start With Health Awareness Months

The NHO is designed to spread the word about health topics. And it can help you build out your editorial calendar. (You know you need one of those, right? And here’s why.)

Simply grab on to any of the 200 topics that align with your institutional goals. Use it as the “hook” you need to join the conversation and promote your service, widget or event.

For a tad more firepower, use the NHO toolkit whenever possible. HHS identifies one or two topics for each month and builds a toolkit that offers sample content and resources to spur creativity. (And who among us doesn’t like a head start?)

Create a Campaign Around Health Awareness Topics

Here’s the scenario: The powers-that-be in your organization set an aggressive goal for vision-related services. As a super-savvy marketer, you know you need to get the word out to generate that kind of revenue.

You review the calendar and realize there are 9 (!!) months where you could potentially link your messaging to a health observance. Everything from “National Glaucoma Awareness Month” in January to “Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month” in November.

Look carefully at the observances. Do they match up with your strategic goals this year? Do the conditions match with your service line goals? If so, consider the following steps for editorial calendar magic:

Step 1: Identify your channels

Your channels typically include your:

  • Website
  • Blog
  • Newsletters
  • Social channels
  • Physician profiles

Step 2: Line up your subject matter experts

You’ll rely on these SMEs to help create high-quality content geared to your audience. Think outside the box: In addition to an ophthalmologist, reach out to a pediatrician or geriatrician who serves on the front lines. Or talk to a researcher enrolling people in a clinical trial.

A word to the wise: Given their “expert” status, SMEs are pretty busy people. Engage them a few months in advance and remind them of their commitment often!

Step 3: Map it all out

If you love puzzles, this is when the fun begins. I find old-fashioned calendar printouts are helpful as I identify the “who, what, when and where” of creating a health awareness campaign that has legs. You can use online tools as well — you do you.

Step 4: Create

The last step is content creation. Remember, you don’t need to start from scratch. If the toolkit helps, use it. Know your audience and your channel to decide how to get the content length just right.

Here’s what your content creation might look like:

  • Website: Use a splash page to put glaucoma-related content front and center, such as a condition overview with symptoms to watch for.
  • Blog: Inform your readers about new advances or opportunities. Do you offer a new glaucoma treatment or are you enrolling people in a glaucoma-related clinical trial?
  • Newsletters: Introduce your audience to glaucoma with an in-depth piece, including symptoms and content about your leading-edge diagnostic and treatment tools.
  • Social channels: Generate buzz and promote an upcoming glaucoma screening event as well as your blog.
  • Physician profiles: Announce a new member of the eye care team and what they can offer patients at risk for or living with glaucoma.

Need help creating a robust editorial calendar? Send us an email!

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