The big, pink awareness month behemoth is over: Breast Cancer Awareness Month. And while many of us are sick of pink and ready to move on to the next thing, it’s worth a look back at the last month to see what ideas we can apply to other awareness campaigns throughout the year.

It’s not just about the products. There are plenty of consumer products taking advantage of breast cancer awareness month. But it’s not just about the Estee Lauder, Aerie and Avon consumer product brands of the world. A lot of health care organizations are taking back health awareness months and making the month their own.

Start a dialogue. Awareness months are meant to spark conversation. Now is the time to get your experts front and center. Mayo Clinic devoted six of their podcasts during October to breast health education with various physicians who could share their expertise. The podcasts are still available online, providing a longer-term resource for people searching for information. Cleveland Clinic also offered their expertise, inviting people to ask questions about breast cancer throughout the month using the hashtag #KnowPink on Facebook and Twitter. Physicians were on hand to respond and Cleveland Clinic provided additional resources and education all month.

Don’t be afraid to be funny. Is breast cancer a serious topic? Yes. Can you be funny or clever when talking about breast cancer (or other serious health issues)? Yes. Humor can help to break the stigma around discussing such a serious or personal topic and make people feel more comfortable and open to learning more. We’ve seen this with Breast Cancer Awareness Month (Save The Ta-Ta’s, Bowling for Boobs, etc.) and it’s successful with other awareness months as well (Movember anyone? Or #FeelingNuts?). Funny can be effective. Just remember to bring it back to real, relevant information.

Budget is irrelevant. People matter. Advocate Health Care in Chicago went big this year – literally – with a giant support bra installation around the city. They also created a much simpler video addressing real fears that women have when getting mammograms. Both tactics powerfully connect with the audience. In both examples (videos below), the message is delivered by real women, including women who have been personally affected by breast cancer. The human element makes this campaign likable and relatable. The health organization delivering the message makes the message credible. And there is a straightforward call to action at the end, making the next step easy.

What trends or ideas have you seen and liked from this year’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month or other awareness months/days this year?