Promotion Plan for Health Rights Web Sites
The goal of this promotion plan is to increase traffic by drawing targeted audiences to the Health Rights sites. While this document was created for the international and Ukraine sites, it includes advice which can be used to promote any of the sites. This plan includes only free promotion options and does not discuss advertising.
Health Rights Web Sites
Version 1.1 | November 2, 2009
Goal: The goal of this promotion plan is to increase traffic by drawing targeted audiences to the Health Rights sites. While this document was created for the international and Ukraine sites, it includes advice which can be used to promote any of the sites. This plan includes only free promotion options and does not discuss advertising.
Disclaimer: This plan pre-supposes that the Health Rights sites contain information useful to the audiences they are targeting. If audiences do not find useful information, even the best promotion plan will ultimately fail. A promotion plan will raise awareness about useful content; it is not a replacement for that content.
Methodology: There are three ways for a user to reach a web site: by clicking a link provided by a search engine, by clicking a link on a referring web site, or by typing the Health Rights site URL (web address) directly into their browser. A complete promotion plan will include strategies to increase all three types of traffic, which are detailed below. Thetime needed for the activity is marked with a 1 = one-off activity, 2 = weekly activity, or 3 = daily activity in order to facilitate additions to the work plan.
One of the most common ways to find a web site is to type key words into a search engine and see what the top results are. Because the Health Rights sites are primarily sources of information (particularly after the practitioner guides are online), Site Coordinators should expect that a majority of traffic will come from search engines. At a minimum, the site coordinator should take the following actions to ensure that the site is 1) returned as a search result for appropriate key word searches and 2) ranked high in the list of results.
The process of making a site more attractive to search is called “Search Engine Optimization” (SEO), the key elements of which are below:
* Submit your site’s URL to the online directories for Google (http://www.google.com/addurl.html), Yahoo! (https://ecom.yahoo.com/dir/submit/intro/) and the Open Directory Project, also called DMOZ or directory.mozilla.org (http://www.dmoz.org/add.html). This can take a few months, depending on the registry, and may require re-submission. (time = 2)
* Where appropriate, link to pages in your own site. Google’s search algorithm is called PageRank and is based on the number of incoming links to a page: the more incoming links a page has, the more relevant it is in search results. We will discuss other methods for getting incoming links in the Referring Sites section. (time = 3)
* Determine what the keywords are for your site (health, human rights, patient rights, law, etc) and use those words frequently in content. Also add meta keywords to your pages, which may be a task for your site designer. Keywords are another way search engines determine the relevance of a page. (time = 3)
* Update content daily. Search engines generally rank frequently-updated sites more highly than static ones. (time = 3)
Other web sites can choose to refer their visitors to you by including a link to your site on their page. This means of increasing traffic makes a lot of sense for the Health Rights sites because it allows more careful targeting: you are reaching out the audience of a specific site, rather than to some unknown search engine user. Creating referral relationships is also a great way to strengthen health rights networks in your country.
* The first step of this process is toidentify other sites related to the field of health rights. Many may be the web sites of organizations that attract your audiences, such as legal and medical associations and health care NGOs. (time = 1)
* After you identify an organization whose site visitors would also benefit from the content on your site, send an email to their web admin suggesting that you two cooperate in sending each other traffic. This can be done by occasionally linking to one another in updates and by doing a banner exchange whereby each of you posts a banner (badge) on your sidebar linking to the other’s site. (time = 2)
* Other than organization web sites, bloggers are another great source on incoming links and new visitors. The first step in this process is again to search your national blogosphere for popular bloggers that would be interested in health rights. These could be policy bloggers, lawyer bloggers, or minority rights bloggers. You need to be creative in finding a “hook” to attract them to your topic. Once you identify bloggers that you think would make good partners, start participating in their blogs by reading their posts and leaving good comments. Then, when you would like them to write a post about a topic on your site, you can email them with appropriate info. Blogger outreach can be a large or small time commitment depending on how active your national blogosphere is among your target audiences. (time = 2 or 3).
* Today, many mainstream media outlets have web sites, so if you get your story in a newspaper, you may also get onto that newspaper’s web site. We will discuss this type of outreach in greater detail in the Direct Traffic section. (time = 2).
* Also remember that you can have a presence on referring sites such as Twitter and Facebook by creating an account. Again, whether or not you decide to build relationships and push out content on these platforms on behalf of Health Rights will depend on how popular these sites are among your audiences of lawyers, medical professionals, etc. (time = 0 to 3).
When a person types the Health Rights site URL directly into their browser, rather than passing through a search engine or referral site, the result is direct traffic. Since direct traffic is not mediated by another web site, it is often the result of offline promotion and thus a new set of promotion tactics. Here are some of the most effective:
* Whenever you send a press release in order to get a story in the mainstream media(radio, TV, print) make sure that the web site URL has a prominent place in the release. This way, any story about the Practitioner Guide project also becomes a means of promoting the web site.
(time = 2).
* Whenever a representative of the host NGO makes a presentation at an event, the web site URL should be present: on the final slide of their PowerPoint presentation, in their printed bio, on their business card, on the event banner, on the podium sign…. The NGO representative should also mention the URL in any public speeches or remarks. (time = 2).
* The site URL should also be present on all printed promotional material created by the host NGO, included brochures, flyers, pamphlets, posters, pens, newsletters…. (time = 1).
Division of Labor
There is quite a lot of work involved in web site promotion and it shouldn’t fall to only person. The Site Coordinator will do about 60% of the work in this plan, the Fellow 25%, the NGO Supervisor 10% and the Developer 5%.
Search Engines: While directory registration and meta keywords are technical tasks and should be done by the Developer or Site Coordinator, the other tasks (linking and keyword usage) fall to whomever is creating content on the site. This could be the Site Coordinator or the Fellow. Updating would also be split between these two.
Referring Sites: Most of the tasks in this section will fall to the Site Coordinator, but she will need help. The NGO Supervisor should advise as to which organizations the Site Coordinator should reach out to and the Fellow can help with blogger outreach. Mainstream media outreach should fall to the host NGO, since it has implications far beyond the web site. The Site Coordinator can do offsite outreach (Twitter or Facebook) if that is deemed necessary, but the Fellow could also share in this task.
Direct Traffic: The tasks in this section fall to the host NGO because these are forms of offline promotion and thus fall outside the purview of the Site Coordinator. Though the Site Coordinator may need to remind the Fellow and NGO Supervisor to include the site URL in press releases, promotional materials, and event appearances, it will be up to those two to carry out these forms of outreach.
Though the Site Coordinator is ultimately responsible for the successful implementation of the tasks in the promotion plan, part of that responsibility is to collaborate with the other project members mentioned above. It is important that all members of the Practitioner Guide project understand that the
promotion of the site is = promotion of the PG project. The web site is the project’s public face and a primary entry point for the provider, patient, legal, and provider audiences it seeks to reach.
This document was created by OSI media consultant Mary Joyce, with content from Artur Potosyan, Site Coordinator of the award-winning www.healthrights.am. The site http://www.apromotionguide.com is also a helpful resource.