The Royal College of Psychiatrists has, among its staff and members, the country’s leading voices on issues regularly attracting high profile media attention, spanning everything from cyber bullying and addiction to neurology and terrorism.
Yet while the College is one of the first ports of call for media wanting to cover psychiatry-linked issues, the newly-appointed Director of Strategic Communications wanted to establish a stronger strand of proactive thought leadership as part of a new and expanded communications plan. We were appointed to develop and deliver this work in a six-month programme.
The project involved in-depth development sessions with four nominated ‘thought leaders’, including the College Chair, Sir Simon Wessely, and the Dean, Kate Lovett. In each of these, we explored the individual’s current work and emerging priorities, as well as the wider agenda, to establish our best options for securing coverage in the form of comment pieces, blogs, features and interviews.
We developed comms plans for each individual and worked closely with journalists to develop strong opinion-based packages. Where necessary, we also developed full first drafts of articles based on initial briefings, for the busy thought leaders to review.
This work delivered high profile, strategically valuable coverage in titles including the Times, BMJ, Pulse and Mental Health Practice, and provided opportunities for thought leaders to meet and brief key journalists at the Telegraph and Health Service Journal, establishing important relationships for the future.