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Monday, July 18, 2016

Themed issues: 3 approaches for hospital magazines

Marjorie Reece, Lead Senior Editor

Browse any grocery store magazine rack, and you're sure to spy a themed issue or two. Entertaining Made Easy. Hot Fitness Trends. NFL Preview Issue.

When it comes to grabbing reader attention, themes can do the trick. They pique interest and curiosity. They give people an idea of what to expect—what's in it for them.

If you're a hospital marketer, themed magazines can also help you think of new angles and ways to package your content creatively.

Here's a look at how three Coffey clients approach themed issues—each in a distinct and interesting way.

undefined1. Explore widely

To engage its readers, Rush University Medical Center (RUMC), a leading academic hospital in Chicago, likes to go for a broad concept and explore it widely—from varied and unique angles. For example, in "The Color Issue," a RUMC internist shared information on what color changes might mean for your health—whether it's nasal mucus or stool. A nutritionist offered ideas on eating every hue of the rainbow and a psychologist gave tips for what to do when "you're seeing red." The featured specialists even shared their favorite colors—and why—with readers.

To grab attention quickly, each cover shares fast facts on the topic of choice. A colorful tidbit from this issue: "Children, on average, have colored their way through 720 crayons by age 10."

Every issue, this all-encompassing approach makes Discover Rush something new and different. Here's just a few of the other interesting themes the magazine has taken up: "The Hormone Issue," "The Senses Issue" and "The Speed Issue."

undefined2. Focus intently

For San Joaquin Community Hospital's (SJCH) publication, YOU+US, issues can be a deep dive into a single topic. SJCH uses compelling patient stories to draw in readers and illustrate the valuable ways the hospital touches lives in the community.

In the "Focus on Stroke" issue, we meet both a stroke survivor and the elite team that treated him. Another story features a young woman who had a stroke the day before her 21st birthday. These heart-tugging tales are packaged with pieces that help educate people in this central California valley on what stroke is, what the symptoms are and what to do at the first signs since fast treatment is so critical.

By concentrating on one topic, SJCH helps its local readership gain a greater understanding of important health topics and how the hospital stands ready to help.

undefined3. Weave creatively

Our third take on themed issues is a somewhat more subtle approach. St. Rose Dominican, a Dignity Health hospital system, chooses an inspirational purpose for each issue of their magazine, Reach—and finds ways to touch on the theme throughout the issue.

The summer 2016 magazine promoted "Pulling Together." The cover story couldn't be more fitting: Women who overcame breast cancer team up in a dragon boat race to raise money for others facing the disease. In another article, a family medicine doctor offers tips for working closely with your doctor for better care, while a new technology story features collaboration between patients and doctors. Still on theme: St. Rose experts from different fields share their best tips to make it a safer summer in southern Nevada.

This inspired approach gives the Reach editorial team flexibility on content, while allowing for an overall positive take-home message they hope resonates with readers.

Do you need to theme your healthcare content?

Certainly not. It's just an option, and you may prefer a magazine or newsletter that isn't bound by a theme, or to only use themes on special occasions. In any case, we hope these examples inspire you to think creatively about how you package your content to engage readers.

That's where our team of healthcare content experts can help too. Contact us to learn more about all Coffey can do for you.

Related posts

The Planning Pyramid: Build better hospital magazines and newsletters
Use active voice to bring your healthcare content to life
7 creative ways to package your healthcare content in print


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