Awards Awards Competitions healthcare marketing awards

Ragan Launches Health Care PR & Marketing Awards

(Note: It is important that I state upfront that I am a regular contributor to Ragan’s Heath Care Communication News.) Last week Ragan announced that it will be launching a new Health Care PR & Marketing Awards Program this Spring. This seems like an obvious next step for the organization given its involvement in the industry. It will now join the likes of Healthcare Marketing Report (Healthcare Advertising Awards), Marketing Healthcare Today (Aster Awards), and HealthLeaders Media (HealthLeaders Marketing Awards) – each of whom sponsors or has sponsored industry awards competitions. For context, Ragan’s Health Care Communication News is one of the leading websites for industry news in health care PR, marketing, and communications.

Within its new awards competition, Ragan has created 25 categories ranging from publications to social media campaigns to intranets. Ragan’s goal is to publicize the astonishing innovations, the path-breaking ideas your communications, PR and marketing departments have pioneered in TV, social media and traditional channels. The competition is open to anyone who works in health care communications in a PR or ad agency, corporation, nonprofit, or government agency.

Think your hospital has incorporated social and traditional media into a cohesive
campaign? Enter your department for the Grand Prize Health Care PR & Marketing Campaign of the Year.

Entries are due by May 25, 2012 to qualify for the early bird rate of $175 per entry. The final deadline is June 8, 2012. Questions? Call Lauren Yanow at 312-960-4167 or email her at To enter now or to learn more, click here.

Below is the breakdown of the various categories for the new awards program: (From –


  • Best Print Publication — Of course this category is first of all aimed at periodical printed magazines and newsletters, but it’s spacious enough to accommodate one-time specialty productions such as pamphlets, brochures, or a limited discrete series of publications about some aspect of health care. Call if you have a question as to whether the publication you’re considering entering would fit in this category.
  • Best Electronic Publication — The same criteria used for print apply here. If you’ve done a great online benefits brochure, or a series of pdf’s on your pension plan, they’ll have just as much weight in this category as an intranet email newsletter or an opulent electronic monthly hospital magazine. This category is wide enough for one-time online specialty publications, too.
  • Best Design (Print) — This is a huge and accommodating category. All kinds of designs, from simple to intricate, can win. We’re not pre-judging any format or any combination of colors or typefaces. It’s all in what the design does. The ultimate test is, Did the reader leaf past the cover to take a peek inside? If you think you’ve got a publication design that gave the reader no choice but to look further along in the publication, enter it!
  • Best Design (Electronic) — The criteria here are simple. The cover art should be arresting and colorful. It should invite the reader to click on the cover lines to the stories inside. All kinds of designs, from simple to intricate, can win. We’re not insisting on one format or any combination of colors or typefaces. It’s all in what the design does. The ultimate test is, if you think you’ve got a publication design that gives your reader no choice but to look further in your publication.
  • Best Feature Article (Print or Electronic Publication) — The feature can be about almost anything in your company, organization or in your client’s organization: A closer look at a department or business unit, stories about workers whose imagination, ingenuity, and initiative have led to the solution of knotty business problems, or more personal stories about employees who are fighting or have triumphed over serious illness. The quality of writing is most important, but Ragan will also  look at headlines, photos, illustrations, and design too.
  • Best Cover Lines (Print or Electronic Publication) — Just look at the covers of popular entertainment, consumer and style magazines. The headlines on these covers are short; they say much in a few words, and they sum up ideas and actions instantly. But most of all, they make their readers impatient to read the articles inside.
  • Best Interview or Profile (Print or Electronic Publication) — What an opportunity to be creative! In the questions you ask, the angle you take, the stories you tell, the quirks and eccentricities you come across. This is a fun category, so don’t think we’ll be put off by a sense of adventure or a healthy editorial imagination. This category is all about revealing the complex human personality behind the austere corporate or organizational title. We’ll be looking for sincerity, authenticity, human interest, and like qualities.
  • Best Photography (Print or Electronic Publication) — Do your photographs add life and interest to your stories? If you’re proud of the way your photos enhance the stories, illustrate ideas in them, or even make themes and ideas in your stories clearer—send them to us. Point out these connections.


  • Best Intranet — If your employees consistently use your intranet to communicate with each other, submit content or suggestions or feedback, or for various other purposes, we want to see it in action, and we’d love to see some tangible results: improved morale, greater collaboration among employees, more debate and discussion that sparks new ideas, etc. Is your intranet employees’ first choice when there’s work to be done? Experts to be found? New projects and initiatives to be started?
  • Best Headlines/Blurbs — Does your or your client’s intranet pride itself on its captivating headlines, intriguing sub-headlines and well-written blurbs? Then you’re in the correct place. We want to see writing that makes your employees look FORWARD to rebooting their computers in the morning just to see your intranet pop up as the home page.
  • Best Interview or Profile — The interview or profile should examine the contributions of your subject to the company or the industry: what has he or she done to expand the business, make its processes more efficient, invent new products, take the company or client in a profitable new direction, etc.
  • Best Social Intranet — Does your intranet capitalize on internal social media platforms that just naturally get employees commenting, observing, contributing on both personal and work topics?  Do these platforms build internal communities of engaged workers who know they share something special in these social and work forums? Has the result been a jump in employee morale and participation—one that you can (and have) measured or that anecdotal evidence confirms?

Social Media

  • Best Hospital Blog — This blog can be written by anybody—the hospital CEO, a Ph.D.-M.D. researcher, a nurse, or an administrator. If you’re lucky enough to have two outstanding bloggers, enter them both. We’ll be looking at how well your blog connects people to people: doctors to patients, administrators to the public and to the media, staffers and departments with each other.  The judges will also look at how well the ideas and insights in these blogs establish your hospital’s unique competence in one or many disciplines and fields.
  • Best Website — We’ll be taking into account how many purposes your website serves, how easy it is to navigate, and whether it makes it easy for users to accomplish what they came on it to do. For example, does your online newsroom section keep journalists seeking background on health issues in that newsroom for whole quarters of an hour? Do people come to your website for wellness information?
  • Best Use of Social Media — Have you seized the digital revolution with social media? We want to hear if your organization has used social media to communicate to your external audience. Do you use social media for brand journalism? Do you exploit shareable content to heighten the power of your indirect marketing? Have you done distinctive work in building enthusiastic brand advocates in online external communities?  We will look at the depth and practical shareability of your content and the ingenuity of your use of multiple social channels to spread the word about that content and about your organization.
  • Best Online Newsroom — Show us how your hospital or health organization has changed its dissemination of information in the Social Media age. Does your website have a resource-loaded online newsroom? Do journalists visit that newsroom to get background and links to other sources for big industry issues? Do you and colleagues get called as experts by journalists who’ve been to your newsroom? Do outside bloggers link to your website newsroom? Is your online newsroom content practical and shareable?
  • Best Infographic — This award goes to the infographic that is so clearly and cleverly designed that it delivers its news quickly and is shared instantly on social and traditional media. Send the judges a link and tell them the outcome.


  • Best News Story Video — Did your team work a visual angle into a news story with video? Did the writer and editor coordinate so that there was an excellent “writing to video” element? We’ll judge entries in this category based on the overall quality of video, writing and sound bites. Feel free to enter your video shot with a Flip-style camera into this category as well.
  • Best Interview Video — Did you present a visually interesting video that adds character to the interview? Submit your best interview video to see if yours has the most character and visually stunning qualities! Feel free to enter your video shot with a Flip-style camera into this category as well.
  • Best Marketing Video — The subject of this video could be almost anyone in your hospital: a medical researcher with a new clinical procedure that reduces patient pain, a clerk who thought of an idea that gets the sick admitted to the hospital 40% faster, a doctor who invented a new blood testing device that eliminates drawing blood from the patient. Video testimonials from patients also qualify. Use your imagination. Find a new idea or product, and let ’er rip!


  • Best Fitness or Health Campaign — Subway and its spokesman, Jared Fogle, changed the way Americans viewed health and fitness campaigns. Did you engage in a campaign to bring awareness to a health or fitness issue?
  • Best Marketing Campaign — How well did your campaign use patient stories to ground your hospital’s reputation as a superior care-giver? How skillfully did your news releases integrate research and excellent storytelling to strengthen your hospital’s position as a leader in, say, breast cancer clinical care? Is your marketing content truly shareable by, and useful to, many public audiences? Did you get a big ROI on the social media part of your campaign?
  • Best TV Advertising Campaign — We’re looking for a combination of eloquence, class, and power in your TV advertising. Did your TV announcements carry a strong message based on indisputable facts, not alarmist statistics? How well did you tell stories about your departments, clinical doctors and nurses, your research, and your patient support staff? Enter it!
  • Best Public Service Announcement — What did your hospital contribute to the initiative to fight the spread of bird flu last year? Have you expanded the fight against teen smoking in a radically new way? Launched a new effort to induce heart attack sufferers to take their meds regularly and make pill-taking a life-long habit? And how about innovative wellness projects? Have you made a positive, not a reactive, contribution to public health recently?

Grand Prize

  • Grand Prize Health Care PR & Marketing Campaign of the Year — Ragan will prefer entries that use more than one media channel to drive home a public relations idea or marketing message in as many imaginative ways as possible. We also prefer to see measured results, but intelligent measurement that takes into account qualitative results whose effect must be judged, not counted. We will look a little more closely at projects that eliminate public ignorance, superstition, clichéd misconceptions about health care, and outright errors.

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