A Force for Change in California’s Health-Care System

The California Health Care Foundation (CHCF) strives for a health-care system that provides high-quality, affordable, responsive care for Californians. Through its research and grantmaking, CHCF has become a trusted and visible source of knowledge for its diverse audiences of policy makers, industry leaders, health-care providers, media, and others.

In 2015, CHCF was at a moment of transformation. Already a valuable voice, it aspired to become a more active agent of change by using its research and information to spur action. This shift required CHCF to rethink not only what kind of content it needed to create, but also how, where, and with whom its content was shared.

The Challenge

Encouraging a conversation

CHCF has built a solid reputation as a trusted source of objective research, but it saw an opportunity to have an even greater voice in the health-care conversation. It wanted to engage its audiences with actionable information, delivered in a way that met their unique needs. By evolving its approach to creating and disseminating content, the foundation could have an even greater impact on helping to shape the way health care in California is delivered.

To do so, CHCF needed a better understanding of how its audiences found, consumed, and shared information. Organizations were no longer limited to lengthy research PDFs to communicate their insights. CHCF wanted to translate its research into content that was timely and relevant to the needs of all of its audiences. Such content might range from op-eds based in deep research and analysis to data snapshots that deliver quick understanding on complex topics.

Through targeted distribution, CHCF could get content directly into the hands—and minds—of the people best able to make meaningful change.

The Path Forward

Creating change through smart content

Atlantic 57 created a comprehensive content and digital strategy grounded in the needs of CHCF’s audiences and the best practices of today’s content powerhouses. Now, we are helping CHCF implement that strategy and adapt its teams and processes to achieve its big ambitions.

Understand the nuances of your audience

We married audience research and a competitive landscape analysis to foster a deeper understanding of CHCF’s audiences and stakeholders. Central to our efforts was expanding CHCF’s understanding of its audiences beyond their individual professions—policy makers, industry leaders, health-care providers, and media—to a more holistic view of who they are, including their attitudes, aspirations, values, and how they consume content.

The foundation needed to create a common and public understanding of its core values—one that transcended any one issue, angle, or moment in the debate.

Through a mix of audience surveys, site analytics, and one-on-one interviews with key stakeholders, we helped CHCF distill its audiences into five distinct personas. These personas help CHCF keep the nuanced needs of its audiences top-of-mind, through every piece of content it creates and distributes.

Find your space—and own it

We then turned our attention to defining CHCF’s unique editorial niche within a crowded health-care landscape. For CHCF, this niche and value proposition was its unbiased credibility, access to rich data, and connection to the front lines of the health-care delivery system. Combined, this allowed CHCF to understand what sets it apart and the unique role it plays in furthering the health-care conversation.

Build content that creates an immediate and lasting impact

Based on this audience understanding and editorial niche, we created distinct content formats that emphasize CHCF’s strengths. Rather than attempting to speak to everyone at once with big, broad ideas, we helped CHCF craft a wide variety of content types, each tailored to a unique audience segment and need. We highlighted how the foundation can expand the impact of its research by weaving sharp storytelling, real-world case studies, and “quick depth” analyses into its narratives.

Make your content count

To ensure these new content formats reached the right audiences at the right time, we helped CHCF improve its distribution strategy on both existing and emerging platforms. The distribution plan provides recommendations and guidelines for how the organization can tailor its content to its different audiences, meeting them on the platforms they prefer with the content they value most. Additionally, we offered a clear plan for extending the life cycle of CHCF’s content by smartly repackaging it to fit alongside timely conversations in health care.

Streamline for success

To empower CHCF’s new content and digital strategies, we examined its processes for giving grants, producing reports, and distributing content. We helped the foundation marry its rigorous research approach with a relentless focus on audience needs and editorial best practices.

We worked closely with CHCF to adapt staff roles and responsibilities and craft a refined process for producing and distributing content. This process creates more opportunities for the communications, program, and research teams to collaborate in service of CHCF’s key goals and messages. Through this collaboration, CHCF can ensure it is making decisions based on the audiences it wants to reach and on what actions they need to take to improve California’s health-care system.