Cancer Care Ontario educates the masses

It's not easy to talk about cancer. And sometimes, the stories we hear leave us feeling like cancer is just a matter of bad luck. That there isn't much we can do to prevent it. In fact, more than half of Ontarians are not familiar with the ways to reduce or prevent their risk of developing cancer.

In February of 2015, Cancer Care Ontario — a provincial government agency that focuses on cancer prevention and screening — developed a new online tool called My CancerIQ to help people assess their individual cancer risks and get a personalized prevention plan.

The strategy was to go beyond traditional media relations and build a multi-faceted communications campaign that leveraged earned, owned, paid and social media. The goal was to create advocates who could help spread the message about My CancerIQ.

The integrated campaign began with internal communications to build support and advocacy including e-newsletters, executive blog posts, emails, and a town hall.

Next came influencer and stakeholder outreach to partner organizations, stakeholders and health care providers to enable easy sharing of My CancerIQ. Canadian Health Care Network email blasts, The Rounds online network blog posts, bylined articles in medical publications, and other digital assets were exploited. A link to the tool was sent pre-launch to online health/lifestyle influencers to encourage social sharing.

Launch day began with a media event with the Ontario Minister of Health and Long-Term Care and a Cancer Care Ontario spokesperson. Together they demonstrated the tool and conducted media interviews.

These traditional PR tactics were supplemented with a paid media approach consisting of print stories, an audio news release, sponsored posts and advertorials.

Leveraging campaign iconography, social media content was developed for CCO's social channels. Health influencers were reached through two co-moderated Healthcare Social Media Tweet Chats.

And finally, to encourage hands-on use of the tool, a regional tour including a customized My CancerIQ promotional booth travelled across Ontario to 50 venues, meeting with more than 11,000 Ontarians.

The My CancerIQ campaign was a huge success and beat every KPI set out at the beginning of the program. It generated 273 earned media stories, 33 million traditional media impressions, six million social media impressions and 20 key influencers were engaged.

Most importantly, more than 123,000 Ontarians and counting, have used the tool.