Your care home is an integral part of the community. It provides essential care to the older generation, not indifferent from the local school providing care to children.
You’d think this was reason enough for everyone to know about you, but unfortunately modern day living generally means we are all so busy we don’t give a second thought to what is going on in the communities we live in.
PR (public relations) activities can help to build awareness of your care home and this is normally at a fraction of the cost of advertising. They can inform local communities of who you are, what you do and why you are making a difference to the lives of older people.
Ongoing, PR provides you with the opportunity to build a positive long-term perception of your home and will give you a definite advantage over your competitors.
Those that are searching for care are more than likely going to stumble across a few potential options. A home that a community talks positively about, combined with a host of good news stories, photographs and blogs, will be the one that stands out from the crowd.
So what would your PR activities look like?
Press releases provide an opportunity to showcase your quality care in local and regional news. Editors especially love stories that have a human-interest angle such as a carer that has gone the extra mile, a resident with an inspiring past or an activity that residents have loved.
Using social media is now the norm. It’s a fast paced way to reach your community and the families of those in your care. Photographs, updates, latest news and advice and guidance all make for interesting posts for your followers, and potentially new audiences.
Care homes should be involved in community life and this is extremely beneficial for residents, providing them with a sense of belonging. Being engaged with local activities, groups and events raises awareness of your home and enables residents to remain an active part of the community. Building relationships within the community forms part of the role of PR activity. Although it can be underestimated, as it is difficult to measure, it is an extremely powerful tool to increase awareness and word of mouth promotion.
When you or your care staff have done something well, why not tell everyone about it? Local, regional and national awards are a brilliant way to recognise the hard work of your team and if you become a finalist or winner, this is something that can be promoted on a number of different platforms.
Public relations, and the many activities that fall under its remit, should form part of your overall marketing strategy. Ultimately PR will build a positive image for your home, communicating key messages to your target audiences and protecting your reputation.
Good public relations is not just writing a press release and receiving some coverage in the local news. It is about understanding your strengths and weaknesses, your values and missions, and the audiences you need to be connected with.