By Terri Rieck
With all the talk of healthcare reform in Washington, one way the government hopes to change the landscape is with a new breed of wellness programs tailored for companies. Some on Capitol Hill are even proposing tax credits for corporations that invest in such programs.
One publishing company hopes to aide the fight with its flagship publication: TopHealth and the recently launched supplement, TopHealth Manager, directed specifically to HR professionals, health promotion coordinators and wellness coordinators.
“We hear a lot about reforming healthcare and we see the growing enthusiasm for staying well and keeping people well and that’s our goal. We teach them how to stay well in a way that motivates, in a way that’s not preachy,” Liz Carey managing editor said. “The goal is to motivate and educate people about healthy lifestyle behaviors and habits.”
TopHealth recently celebrated its 20th anniversary and helps employers promote wellness in the corporate environment. Marketed directly to companies, the newsletter is then distributed to employees.
“It takes what can often be complicated information and puts it into simple language that the average person can understand, Carey added. “People can walk away with something they can use or put into action in their everyday lifestyle.”
Presenting an un-biased perspective, reviewed and approved by health physicians, the newsletter covers everything from guidelines for the prevention, management and regular screening of diabetes, cancer, cholesterol, asthma, obesity, arthritis and other chronic conditions. It also covers workplace safety, stress management, back pain, headaches, fitness, diet and much more.
With five main articles and a few “shorties,” Carey explained that every monthly newsletter offers a wide range of health topics presented in a “quick read format that engages with clever content and lively graphics.”
As new wellness ideas and publications arrive on the marketplace, the competition is growing. “The wellness business is constantly evolving and I think all of us have something unique to bring to the table,” she said. “But the one thing we have in common is that we so strongly believe in keeping people well and in preventing health problems that lead to lower productivity, higher health care costs and a diminished quality of life.”
With this in mind, TopHealth Manager is specifically written for those involved in the development of wellness programs. By serving as a monthly program planning guide, the publication “presents easy ways to promote wellness in the workplace- sort of a wellness program made easy approach.”
Coverage in TopHealth directly relates to the content in TopHealth Manager. A topic is discussed from both sides of the employer-employee relationship. A recent feature on headaches in the June issue gave advice from each perspective on prevention, the causes and possible fixes.
As the economy remains in the back of everyone’s minds, Carey explained that TopHealth also focuses on “adding more value to its product line as some companies may feel forced to cut back on their health promotion and wellness.”
She added, “It’s still so important that we keep people well and we help people who already have health conditions be at their best.”
TopHealth has also recently expanded its online platform to include the online supplement, Well Connections. “The new supplement features health risk self-assessments, tools and additional content to support a specific monthly theme, in addition to the variety of topics that our print edition features,” Carey said.
The various aspects of TopHealth, from the newsletter and corresponding supplement, TopHealth Manager, plus the growing online platform, can serve as a cornerstone of an effective wellness program.
“We want to be a one-stop shop for wellness for both employers and employees,” she said.
Making the Pitch
Carey stresses the importance of adhering to TopHealth’s editorial calendar, which they create the summer before each year. In addition to the editorial calendar, the publication tries to sync with the National Health Observances calendar, for example, American Heart Month, Alcohol Awareness Month, American Stroke Month, National Cholesterol Education Month, etc.
“The most helpful thing that I can recommend for any non-profit organization, or a PR company representing a non-profit that has a health observance that they want to promote, is to get the themes out there early, including their specific dates. Otherwise, we have to go and hunt this stuff down.”
Another important point to remember is that the newsletter does not mention products, does not include by-lines and does not do interviews. All of the writing is done in-house.
The lead time for the newsletter runs about four to six months in advance. Carey likes to know what the hook is for an upcoming event or promotion, even if it’s six or seven months ahead. “That way if there is something we can tie into it, then it’s much easier for us to know well in advance. We just can’t do anything last minute.”
She urges PR professionals to keep in mind that the content for the publication has already been set and they rarely change it. However, for the online supplement, Well Connections, there is a little more wiggle room. They write the supplement a month or so in advance and focus on one major theme.
Concerning pitching preferences, Carey said, “E-mail is fine. Visual is always good. If they want to send me a PDF that is their promotion- whatever works. I’m not picky.”
However, her pet peeve is numerous follow ups. “I’m on the e-mail. I see it. I do try and respond to with something, but then they keep on calling even though I’ve already extended the courtesy. I promise you, I’m looking for stuff as much as you’re sending it out.”
If Carey is interested, she will let you know.
100 Corporate Pkwy, Ste 600
Birmingham, AL 35242
Liz Carey, managing editor
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