Jamie Deans, Senior Director, Communications
Just as Sovereign Health is a trailblazer and innovator in behavioral health treatment, we are also innovative in the application of our communications and marketing products and services.
There’s no question Sovereign Health has soared to impressive heights in just eight years and will continue to grow. In 2016, the Communications Department played a pivotal role in the company’s growth, as we increased the number of teams and services we offer as well as the quality and sophistication of those services.
While supporting the company’s growth, a major challenge for the Communications Department has been to also establish Sovereign Health as a leading source of behavioral health news and information. This requires the production and distribution of information that will be useful to prospective patients and their families, while also providing news and behavioral health research to referents and colleagues in the field.
Websites and Digital Media
Sovereign’s websites and other media outlets are the primary sources of the admissions that drive our business. For that reason, the upgrading and redesign of Sovereign’s 13 branded websites has been the focal point in 2016 for our digital media team. For the first time, all of our websites are now hosted on a common, cloud-based platform that provides comprehensive website redundancy and includes development, staging and production environments. The new sovhealth.com website was the first to go live in early December with sovcal.com launching at New Year. Sovereign’s other 11 branded sites will follow suit during the first quarter of 2017.
Public Relations, Social Media
During 2016, we integrated our public relations and social media efforts. Our San Clemente-based PR team conducts daily content development and scheduling calls with our Social Media team in India. This blended group also works closely with our Content Writers and Video Production Services teams, who have staff in India and the United States. Our Marketing Communications Coordinators, based at each of our nine facilities, are key sources of content. This combined team now belongs to more than 160 social media groups and will continue to join more every month using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest. The team also worked closely with Sovereign executive management and facility management last year to distribute more than 140 press releases and an average of 200 social media posts per month.
Sovereign also expanded its relationships with a variety of media outlets with regular appearances on KMIR News TV in Palm Desert, podcasts with CoreBrain Journal and a series of articles on TheHill.com.
Sovereign Health greatly expanded the variety and scope of its marketing efforts during 2016.
We’ve built upon our established relationship with Psychology Today, and built relationships with the Los Angeles Times, the Orange County Business Journal and The Recovery Source. Sovereign Health also became corporate sponsors of University of Southern California Athletics (football and basketball). You may also have seen our billboard on the 110 Freeway outside the Los Angeles Coliseum.
During 2016, the Marketing Events team developed a partnership with leading conference host, the Vendome Group, which includes advertising and articles in Counselor Magazine. To date, we’ve extended our thought leadership partnerships by providing speakers in 2016 and 21 speakers in 2017.
The Marketing Events team expanded its operations and now offers continuing education events at all Sovereign Health facilities, while continuing our monthly webinar series. The events team also helps to host our intensive family programs at all Sovereign facilities.
Editorial content: Campaigns, toolkits
In 2016, in addition to rewriting all 13 of our branded websites, our Content Development team produced several successful editorial series starting with “The Black Box of Schizophrenia” and our groundbreaking series, “Not In My Backyard” (NIMBY). Both series drew large numbers of viewers to our websites and created engagement for Sovereign Health on social media.
The Content team also created two highly regarded toolkits: The Unbearable Weight and Relationships in Recovery. The toolkits have been downloaded 194 and 153 times respectively. Most people who have downloaded, interestingly, aren’t lay people but health care professionals adding to their cache of patient resources.
Sovereign editorial content was also featured in Psychology Today, Addiction Professional, OC Business Journal and prominent websites like The Hill in 2016.
The composition of our content team began a dramatic revision in 2016 that will be completed in 2017. For the first time in 2016, we created a team of content writers and editors in India. By improving the quality of the team members and fine tuning the editorial process, the result has been better websites and better content, delivered in a timely fashion.
Video Production Services
In March of 2016, Sovereign created the Video Production Services team, acquired three field production kits, and created three editing bays and a small studio. The team has produced a variety of segments: senior management presentations, program director presentations, treatment facility virtual tours and CE events. Our video editing team in India continues to produce training videos and patient/family testimonials. In November, we launched our own radio program: “In Your Right Mind,” which airs every Sunday evening from 5 to 6 p.m. on KABC 790 in Los Angeles. Audio podcasts are currently available on demand at the “In Your Right Mind” website, and we will soon begin producing the show in video as well.
Video Production Services will be a major area of growth in 2017. We’ve started using video in ways very few other treatment centers do and in much higher volume with a large number of video products used for marketing, social media, and in the areas of news and information, as well as Sovereign’s education services.
In 2017, video products will play an increasingly important role in our marketing, business development and education strategies. Current plans call for a Behavioral Health Podcast to be launched during the first quarter of the year.
In 2016, the Communications Department’s focus has been on developing the full range of services needed by Sovereign Health to promote growth and provide news and information to patients, families and behavioral health professionals. But that’s just the beginning.
The real fun will come in 2017, as we expand our range of communications services and become more adept at providing sophisticated communications products to achieve the company’s business goals and objectives.
Together with Team India, our 2017 goal is to advance our company brand through more resonating engagement, clinical education and smooth web navigation – as fluidly as a single organism.