creating a health communication for kids?
answer these 7 questions first

March 6, 2012

in context communication,health communication

i’m working with a client to develop a communication strictly for employees’ kids. this is part of the client’s strategy to reach the entire family.

here are a few of the questions we asked ourselves as we went through our planning process:

who are we writing for? are we writing for the kids or their grown-ups? we decided the kids are our audience. sure, they could share the information with their grown-ups, but this is just for them. by writing directly to them, we hope to make health a family discussion and a family focus. all other decisions flowed from this one.

what age group are we targeting? health plans cover everyone from babies up to age 26, so we needed to consider: should our communication be directed at every one of them? we could take the parents magazine approach and write content for age clusters. or we could focus on a narrower cluster—one that we’re more likely to connect with, who’ll read our information, play our games and share what they’re learning with their folks. we decided to go this route, and we supported it with data. we know the average covered child is 11.6 years old. that, we’ve decided, is our sweet spot.

how do we want to deliver the content? and how often? we knew we wanted to use their printed benefits newsletter that’s mailed to homes every other month. the question was whether we wanted to devote an existing issue to kids content, add a new issue to the calendar or do something entirely different. we decided to create an insert we could slip into each issue of the newsletter. that way the grown-up knows what the child’s receiving from the company, we minimize the number of home mailings and the entire family is hearing from us.

what content do we want to cover? do we want to talk with these kids about health plans? i don’t think so. we want to talk with them about things sure to interest them, like technology, weird and crazy stunts (aka exercise), recipes they can make themselves, and so on.

how do we want to cover it? well, we know kids won’t go for text text text. their communication will be a combination of games, reviews, illustrations and other visual communication. as we get our sea legs, we plan to include kid citizen writers so we have kids speaking to others in their own voice about their own concerns and ideas.

how should the communication look? since this kid-specific communication will be inserted into the benefits newsletter, we want it to reflect the newsletter’s look. but only to a point. we know we want it to have more color, more energy, more POP.


our next step is to develop a few alternative looks that reflect our younger audience’s preferences. as part of that, we’ll research best-selling magazines for our targeted age group. the client wants to launch the piece right away, so we’ll save our market testing to the end and ask our readers and their grown-ups to tell us what they think through an online survey. we’ll consider what give-aways to offer for completing the survey. perhaps an issue of chopchop, a zamzee activity tracker, or some other kid-appropriate, health-related gizmo.

stay tuned.


image: art + life


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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Frank Roche March 6, 2012 at 10:20 am

That. is. awesomesauce.

Writing and creating for the kids. Love it.

And love love love the pic.


fran March 6, 2012 at 3:59 pm

i’m so psyched for this communication. it’s challenging and exciting for all involved.

as for the pic, that is my pure joy. abbi with her crew from preschool onward and her cousins. it was taken on a little alley that’s dotted with cool murals and mosaics.



Frank Roche March 6, 2012 at 4:17 pm

Fran, I recognize the kids and that photo. I remember how blown away I was when you published it….it was at Abbi’s bat mitzvah, right? That picture could win awards…it’s amazing.

And, um, you having the strength to get a client to let you write for an audience…amazing, too. I mean, too often it’s upper managers who edit and then the materials don’t work for the audience. This is going to be some award winning work for you, too.



fran March 6, 2012 at 4:52 pm

frank, good memory. yup, abbi’s bat mitzvah. denise does gorgeous work.

as for my strength. i arm wrestled them for it and won. 😉



Elizabeth Borton March 6, 2012 at 4:01 pm

Like Frank, I LOVE this idea. What a great way to get the family talking about health. Kudos to you and your innovative client! You’ll have to report back on how it goes.


fran March 6, 2012 at 4:51 pm

elizabeth, i certainly will.



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