Spectrum Health’s Health Beat blog is a brand journalism effort telling “real stories of real people facing real struggles.” It’s taken first place in the “Blog” category of PR Daily’s 2018 Nonprofit PR Awards.
The journalistic approach means the blog’s staff mirrors what you might find in a journalistic endeavor: a managing editor, a multimedia manager, two photojournalists and a health care journalist; their work is supplemented by freelancers and fellow Spectrum Health staff. The team works directly with service lines, accepting story pitches and coordinating resources.
The opportunities presented in the posts for readers to connect with Spectrum Health are subtle; the story comes first. Articles are promoted through a variety of channels, including social media and email newsletters that serve a healthy number of subscribers. Posts are always well-written and supported with outstanding visuals.
The site reaches 10 million people each month; reach from social media and other media has far exceeded 100 million people averaging 700,000 visits to the site each month. Some stories average more than 22 minutes of screen time (compared to a site average of just less than four minutes).
Health Beat employs a variety of techniques in each post, including world-class photography, with a main image at the top of the page and a carousel beneath it, allowing readers to scroll through as many photos as the team wants to share. The articles are beautifully and professionally written, attracting several comments, something other corporate blogs struggle to inspire (and some have given up on altogether).
Congratulations to the Health Beat team of Cheryl Welch, Jill Seidelman, Chris Clark, Sue Thoms and Taylor Ballek.