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LLL Group Publicity Strategies

Melia Boyer
Lufkin, Texas, USA
From: LEAVEN, Vol. 37 No. 2, April-May 2001, p. 36

At the 2000 Texas Area Conference session titled "Outreach to Health Care Professionals" participants discussed Group publicity and shared successful ideas.

Plan and Network

Talk with other La Leche League Leaders; devote part of an Evaluation/Enrichment Meeting to publicity brainstorming. Develop a plan. Speak with health care professionals you already know. Mothers helped by phone or in person and those attending Series Meetings are our best advertisers. Give them extra copies of Series Meeting flyers or the Leader's business cards.

Publicity?

Where can you publicize? Anywhere expectant women or mothers go, and in any media they read, watch, or listen to:

  • Doctor's offices: obstetricians, gynecologists, family practice, pediatricians
  • Hospital childbirth classes, nursery and community education departments
  • Childbirth educators, lactation consultants, midwives, and doulas [li]City/county health departments
  • Well baby clinics
  • Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) programs
  • Participate in health fairs and expositions - be visible
  • Radio, television, and newspaper community calendars
  • Support groups: Mothers of Multiples, mother's clubs, teen pregnancy outreach
  • Chamber of Commerce (lists of community contacts)
  • Retailers: department stores and children's clothing/furniture resale shops
  • Day care centers, preschools, mother's day out programs
  • Public bulletin boards: libraries, grocery stores, etc. (Remember to ask permission before putting up posters or flyers.)

Contact Health Care Professionals

Contact local health care professionals, then develop those relationships. It may take a lot of "smiling and dialing" to get your foot in the door. Be persistent and consistent. Make three to five phone calls to different health care professionals each day for a week. Follow up on those and then call some more. Find one person in each health care professional's office to be your contact. Call the office and ask to speak to whoever handles breastfeeding inquiries. Take their name, telephone number, and extension, and what days and/or hours they work. If possible, speak to that person directly and make an appointment to meet briefly in the next week.

Let the Breastfeeding-Aid Sales Program advertise for you!

In the USA, Leaders who participate in LLLI/Medela's Breastfeeding Aid Sales Program will receive a useful "fill-in-the-blank" letter of introduction that can be sent to local health care providers. The Leader's name also will be listed in LLLI's database if someone calls for breastfeeding aids or breast pump information.

Preparation and Presentation

Practice in front of a mirror with a tape recorder or video camera. Anticipate questions health care professionals are likely to ask and prepare answers ahead of time. Ask your spouse or a friend to role-play the situation with you. Watch and/or listen to yourself afterward. Note body language, grammar, and habits of speech that may be distracting to others.

Consider this to be a job interview. Dress for success, conservatively, and apply make-up sparingly. File your fingernails so they are clean and neat. Pay attention to the condition of your shoes. Dress like a professional and you will be treated as such.

Be prompt, courteous, positive, and professional. You don't get a second chance to make a first impression. Now is not the time to critique hospital policies. You are there to offer your expertise as a resource, give them basic information, and leave them wanting to know more.

Don't be intimidated. They are experts in their field and so are you. if you don't know the answer to a question they ask, say so. Tell them you will check your resources and get back to them within a couple of days-then keep your word. Keep the visit brief. Their time, as well as yours, is valuable.

Prepare a manila envelope or folder with printed materials to leave with the health care professional at the conclusion of your meeting. Consider including LLLI tear-off sheets; A Mother's Love brochure, and Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding; your Group's Series Meeting schedule, and your business card. Whatever you choose to include in the folder, remember that after you leave, those papers represent you and LLLI-quality and appearance count!

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