childhood_obesity_0For most people, September is filled with thoughts of back-to-school routines, fall weather and football. However, it also celebrates National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month.

Obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the last 30 years. Today, one in three children in the United States is overweight or obese, causing kids to find themselves at risk for health problems that were once only seen in adults.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the childhood obesity epidemic is only increasing. Nearly 18 percent of children ages 6 to 11 are considered obese, compared to 7 percent in 1980. Adolescents aged 12-19 are also experiencing increases in obesity, with an increase from 5 percent in 1980 to 21 percent in 2012.

No parent wants to see their 8-year-old battling diseases like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure or even heart disease. That’s why numerous initiatives have been created to help prevent and address this growing issue, such as Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move or We Can!

As communicators, we know that a topic like childhood obesity can be challenging and delicate – so how can we drive a successful awareness campaign?

Last year, the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Stroke Association (ASA) teamed up for National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month to create the EmpowerMEnt Challenge. The EmpowerMEnt Challenge was part of an awareness campaign that successfully encouraged families across the country to take control of their health by pursuing a different healthy goal every week of September.

This campaign was a great example of how influencer strategy can drive awareness through three easy steps: awareness

Find the best influencers for your audience

90 percent of consumers trust peer recommendations over brand content – even if it’s someone they don’t know – making it crucial to seek out the right influencers to get your message in front of the right people.

Not sure how to identify the best influencers? Do your research and make sure they have high content quality, a good personality and are relevant to your target audience. Relevance is the most important factor in an influencer strategy, because mass outreach to the wrong audience won’t get you anywhere.

Build a relationship before anything else

Make sure to do your research and engage with your potential influencers before asking them to make a push to their audience. Your influencers are more likely to participate with a cause or brand they are already engaged with, so building that relationship beforehand can make a big difference. Show them why your brand or cause is important, so they can get behind it and want to share it with their audiences.

Be open and make it easy

Sharing your content through influencers increases conversation by at least a 3x-10x higher rate, so the least you can do is make it as easy as possible for them to speak about your brand or cause.

The key here is to be realistic in your approach when engaging influencers. You always want to be respectful of their time and effort, and open to ideas they might have.

 

Have other tips and tricks for influencer strategy? Share in the comments below!