Health news site targets community, but draws employees
When Baptist Health’s health news site reported on the risks of an
e-cigarette that looks like a flash drive, parent-employees at the
Jacksonville, Florida hospital network were concerned.
Four of them asked if their school publications could reprint
warning about the device, which reportedly accounts for half of all e-cig
sales in the United States.
That’s a win for Juice, the
hospital’s recently launched brand journalism site.
“Employees are finding our information so interesting that they want to
share it,” says Vikki A. Mioduszewski, editor of Juice.
Brand journalism is often billed as a way for organizations to reach the
community and news outlets through newspaper-style content. That’s a major
goal of Juice, but the site is also illustrating a little-mentioned bonus:
communicating and engaging with employees.
Juice is one of a growing number of storytelling platforms launched by
hospital groups eager to promote good health and tell their own stories in
an era of dwindling news coverage. The
five-hospital and physician office network
in Jacksonville is using journalism tactics to build its brand, offer
health tips and promote patient successes.
“Sometimes within a minute of it being posted, the phone will ring from a
TV reporter,” says Cindy Hamilton, director of corporate communications.
“‘I just saw the story you posted, and we’d like to do that.’”
Ragan Consulting Group advised
the Baptist Health marketing and communications team on creating the brand
journalism site and weekly newsfeed.
“I’m really proud of Juice and how the communicators at Baptist upped their
game,” says RCG founder Jim Ylisela, who worked with the team for two
years. “They reinvented themselves as a newsroom. They upgraded their
storytelling skills, in writing, infographics and video. They became their
“It’s an absolute pleasure to watch it happen, though I kind of miss going
to Jacksonville, especially in January.”
Storytelling thrives at hospitals
As organizations full of experts and inspiring stories, hospitals are a
place where brand journalism tends to thrive.Cleveland Clinic, Advocate Health Care, Cape Cod Healthcare and
others are establishing themselves as go-to sources of medical information.
This brand-building not only serves a public good, it also makes it more
likely that potential patients will think of the organization when the need
The platform especially helps Baptist Health connect with a younger
generation that gets its information largely online, Mioduszewski says.
This includes young mothers seeking pregnancy and pediatric services of the
sort offered by the network’s Wolfson Children’s Hospital. By offering
health news, Juice connects patients with the hospital network between
One advantage of a website like Juice is that it allows the organization to
make greater use of its content. Rather than writing up a press release
that might never get picked up, organizations can produce stories that
reach audiences internally and externally.
“When you only work with media, and you tell your story just to them, you
get one hit and then it’s over,” says Mioduszewski. “And you’ve got this
great content that you can’t use in other places.”
As financial troubles shrink the size of newspaper staffs, the remaining
reporters are often grateful for the resource Juice provides.
“They rely on us as a resource and a source of truth,” Mioduszewski says.
“It’s actually helped them do their jobs more effectively, because we’re
giving everything they need to them on a silver platter.”
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Newsjacking—and delivering life-saving information
The story on e-cigarettes is one of many examples in Juice of brand
journalism, or pegging stories to a news event in order to offer a
hospital’s own information and expertise. After a school shooting in Texas
left 10 dead and 10 more injured, Juice published a story citing an
emergency medicine physician on steps one can take to
keep an injured person alive
while awaiting medical help.
Among other points, it advised, “Apply direct pressure. While someone else
calls 911, you should apply firm pressure to the bleeding site with your
hands, cupping them around the affected extremity like a clamshell.”
The story mentioned a U.S. Homeland Security program called “Stop the Bleed.” An employee
contacted Mioduszewski asking for training, which Baptist Health plans to
offer in the future.
“That’s a non-clinical person who reached out to me,” Mioduszewski says.
“So they might not know that you can still save a life even if you’re not a
physician or a nurse.”
Following the recent deaths of designer Kate Spade and chef and travel host
Anthony Bourdain, Juice
posted a story
that used celebrity suicides to shine light on mental illness.
“Familiarize yourself with 5 signs of suicide risk and local resources
before you need them,” the headline urged.
(The signs are: Chronic pain; a prior suicide attempt; depression, other
mental disorders or a substance abuse disorder; family violence, including
physical or sexual abuse; or having guns or other firearms in the home.)
The story quotes the system director for Inpatient Behavioral Health at
Baptist Health, and highlights the health care network’s free “Mental
Health First Aid” courses at several locations.
Baptist Health plans to launch a marketing effort to reach the community, a
primary audience along with journalists, Mioduszewski says. Meanwhile,
employees have helped spread the word beyond the walls of the hospital.
(Communications opted in all 11,000 employees, and Juice has an additional
1,400 external subscribers.)
Juice’s five writers, as well as its graphic designers, have other duties
in addition to the website, but the site has unearthed potential writers as
well. Mioduszewski reached out to a psychologist as a source and received a
“He wrote back brand journalism style,” she says. “He tied his subhead to
his main topic. … It was delightful.”
Which means Juice plans to recruit him as a guest contributor in the
future—another way of expanding content and showcasing experts.