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Expanding your horizons: communications for health service research staff

An overview of research-related media relations and social media. Presented to the research staff and trainees of several U-M health services research centers June 2018

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Expanding your horizons: communications for health service research staff

  1. 1. Expanding Your Horizons: Social Media & Other Tools Kara Gavin, M.S. IHPI/Michigan Medicine Communications
  2. 2. A new era of communication • Erosion of traditional news media’s gatekeeper role • Large institutions = trustworthy news sources • Everyone’s a publisher • If you don’t participate, your voice won’t be heard A new era of communication
  3. 3. News media: Still crucial for wide dissemination • Press release/blog post on newly published research or other work, to share online and potentially attract reporters’ attention • Expert opinion on a topic in a particular specialty • Commenting on research by others or on a societal/policy issue • In-depth stories on a weighty topic • Crisis/problem situations
  4. 4. Use the time AHEAD of publication The “Scout’s honor” embargo system for research news • Relies on researchers to alert communications staff • Institution/journal reaches out to reporters a few days ahead • Reporter agrees not to publish or broadcast results until a set date/time • Used by all major journals & scientific/medical societies
  5. 5. Who needs reporters anyway? • Social media & search • Institutions & individuals create & share directly • Visuals & videos are vital • Rapid response to controversy
  6. 6. Why should researchers use social media? • Connect with others in the field & beyond • Share new findings, publications, news items, observations, opinions, timely links • Engage with individuals/institutions around the world & next door • Retain professional tone while engaging • Get the most out of conferences & events
  7. 7. Creating a personal or group “brand”
  8. 8. Researchers’ personal brands… • NOT a logo • Must be built, over time • Comes from the ways they present themselves to the world… and what people can find about them when they look • Affects how people will interact with them and their work
  9. 9. Why else? Altmetrics! • Aggregating activity around journal articles: • media coverage • blog posts • social media activity • more • Traces links & specific mentions of individual papers by DOI • Assigns a score & percentile • Not perfect! But getting better
  10. 10. Why else? Journals, funders & societies! Increasingly they ask researchers to: • Connect with their own communications staff, and/or the researchers’ institutional communication staff • Write lay summaries and lay abstracts • Tape videos and audio podcasts • Write the tweets that they will send out about your work • Make visual abstracts & infographics • Share news coverage quoting them
  11. 11. Every researcher’s essentials • A robust, updated professional web profile • Know your PR person & when you should contact her/him • Basic LinkedIn profile, updated along with CV • Google them/set up a Google alert for their name (
  12. 12. “Laying low” • Start by “lurking” – follow individuals, institutions, organizations, news media • Monitor Twitter traffic at conferences via hashtags (& use them!) • Subscribe to lists of Twitter users compiled by others in your field • Join LinkedIn groups for professional societies • Send ideas for tweets/posts to your PR person to share on an institutional account
  13. 13. Take it to the next level • Put your full name on your Twitter handle, write a brief bio & link to your page, retweet and like others’ tweets occasionally • Share links & posts on LinkedIn or Medium • Write a “plain English” web blurb on research focus • Post/tweet about each paper and talk
  14. 14. Engaging more fully • Share links to your own work & the work of others • Post slide sets on website/SlideShare • Take part in tweet chats, Reddit AMAs, online awareness campaigns, virtual journal clubs, etc. • On your personal social media, educate friends by sharing news/observations
  15. 15. Tools to use: • Making graphics: PowerPoint templates, Canva, Noun Project • Visual Abstracts: • Making short videos/podcasts: • Smartphone with tripod and lapel microphone – ALWAYS in LANDSCAPE mode! • Lumen 5 for short videos: still images, text, stock footage/music • Record slide show with narration in PowerPoint • Use HITS podcast studio in THSL –
  16. 16. I challenge you… • Take advantage of this new era’s tools. • Consult with professional communications staff early & often • Don’t just hope someone else will do it for you! • See it as part of a research career.
  17. 17. Need more help? My slide sets & social media “how to” sheets: Help with writing in plain English: NIH Checklist for Communicating Science & Health to the Public: National Patient Safety Foundation: Health Literacy Joyce Lee, M.D.’s Slideshares on social media: Find hashtags for your topic:

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  • ennoconn

    Jun. 18, 2018

An overview of research-related media relations and social media. Presented to the research staff and trainees of several U-M health services research centers June 2018


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