How PR Helps Health and Social Care Leaders Connect with Their Community

There could be a number of reasons why health and social care leaders need to communicate with their community, and their ‘community’ could be a range of different groups.

The definition of a community is a social unity with commonality such as religion, values, interests or that they share an interest in a certain place or geographical area. For health and social care leaders, communities are likely to take the form of staff, customers, residents, stakeholders, fellow practitioners and even influencers.

So, what part does public relations play in communicating with these communities?

How health PR can connect communties

Well, a huge part actually. The role of PR is to manage reputation and influence opinion and behaviour. This is often done by using a range of media and communications tools.

The health and social care sector have faced growing financial pressure, and the media are quick to place failing and inadequate services on their front page. With this in mind, leaders need to ensure their media communications are beneficial in influencing public perception, attitude and behavior.

This will help to create a positive perception of the organisation for your various community groups. If a crisis does occur, which often cannot be avoided, you are more likely to have the support of your community from the outset if their perception of you is already positive.

It’s critical that leaders consider how they will communicate with their communities, and it’s likely that a range of health PR will be used to target the different groups.

Word of mouth does the job

Relying purely on one single form of communication can be a dangerous game to play for a growing health and social care organisation. Many believe that word of mouth is the most important marketing tool. While it is powerful, it should not be relied upon to convey a message quickly and accurately.

We all know the game of Chinese whispers. So, leaders need to consider what their key message is, when it should be communicated, and how their target audiences would like to receive it. What, how, who and when?

Influencing – not advertising

An advert shouts about how good you are. However, most people, unless they are looking for something at that particular time, will switch off to these ‘paid for’ messages. A leader’s job is to influence and motivate, and it’s a powerful tool in PR. A story told well, that is emotive, trustworthy and moving, can make your communities feel empowered and proud.


When communicating key messages, it’s important to remember that technology has transformed the way people can receive information.

Social media and the internet provide our target audiences with a wealth of knowledge at their fingertips. If your content is not out there, you could be missing out. Make sure you have a constant stream of news and updates for your various community groups to share and engage with.

Face to face

Why hide behind a screen when you can share your passion in front of a crowd. There are a number of ways to convey messages face to face. This includes roadshows, events, conferences, and networking.

Although getting in front of a crowd can be more time consuming, it provides the opportunity for your communities to see a real person and hear first-hand your thoughts and expertise on business news. Public relations can support how these events are planned, secure speaking opportunities and ensure your key messages are being conveyed in the correct way.


When being in front of people is not possible, second best would be video. Technology has provided a way to put video content in front of target audiences quickly and cost effectively.

In the UK in 2019, video dominated. This included streaming services, online videos and video calls. A video can be much more engaging than a written piece of communication. It is therefore more likely to deliver your key message.

The communication tools mentioned are by no means all the methods that could be used to communicate and connect with communities. Having clear business objectives and a PR and marketing strategy will ensure health and social care leaders are clear about their direction, target audiences and messages.

So, think about who your audience is and what groups they belong to, to ensure you are at the heart of your community!

health PR connecting and engaging communities

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