WellNow Urgent Care

Meeting an Urgent Need for Urgent Care COVID-19 Testing.

In April 2020, WellNow Urgent Care, one of the country’s largest urgent care providers, joined the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of the ever-shifting government legislation, the organization received rapid PCR tests it could make available to the public on demand. Unlike other providers who required a doctor’s referral or prescription, WellNow planned to provide the tests on a walk-in basis with no prerequisites or appointments needed. The organization reached out to 19 Ideas. It wanted to launch the tests in 12 locations with the goal of administering 750 tests within 72 hours.

Understanding the importance of the tests for the health and safety of the community, 19 Ideas rolled up our sleeves to swiftly deploy a go-to-market media relations strategy. Our strategy aimed to ensure the 750 available tests would be administered over three days while succinctly educating reporters—and, by extension, their audiences—on the most critical testing information. Moreover, we aimed to earn at least one media story on each network TV affiliate news station in the Buffalo DMA.

Knowing WellNow would receive approval to issue the tests at any moment, 19 Ideas began strategic ideation immediately. We researched materials from the CDC and local departments of health to build a strong understanding of the various tests on the market. From there, we swiftly assembled an informed and targeted list of reporters. We also crafted press-ready materials to streamline our media relations outreach. This included press releases, talking point documents, and FAQs developed by our team in collaboration with WellNow’s Chief Medical Officer to ensure each reporter could execute an accurate story as quickly as possible.

On April 23, our team received confirmation from WellNow that two varieties of COVID-19 testing had been secured: molecular PCR and blood antibody tests. Both types of tests would be offered to anyone who requested one. The notice meant that all COVID-19 testing materials needed to be finalized and in-market the following morning.

Since our angle and all related materials had been pre-approved, we were able to pitch reporters within the Buffalo DMA network quickly. Communications began with tailored media pitches that supplemented the press release. Follow-ups to unresponsive emails were conducted via phone to move the needle further and maximize placement opportunities. Media coverage was monitored in real-time using industry-standard tools to ensure factually-accurate reporting.

Our outreach received an overwhelmingly positive response from the media. News outlets considered the announcement “breaking news,” spurring prime story placements on websites, mobile app push notifications, and social media live segments that captured the long lines of patients waiting to receive a test.

19 Ideas’ media efforts resulted in 68 earned stories, generating 13,739,390 impressions for an estimated publicity value of $138,000. More than 2,300 COVID-19 tests were administered over the first 72 hours., far exceeding WellNow’s original goal to administer 750 tests. The earned media remained at the top of the news cycle for days, creating regular, consistent coverage and significantly transcending the goals WellNow originally identified for the campaign.

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