Caroline Andrew and Cynthia PatnodeCaroline Andrew (L) and Cynthia Patnode (R) co-authored this article

You don’t have to live within the PR or wellness industries to know January is the month that health and wellness dominates the headlines and social feeds. It’s a time of year that has long been dedicated to improving mind, body and soul, and over the last few years, and we’ve seen an inundation of brands, products and experts dedicated to improving wellness as a result.

With so much noise in the market, it’s increasingly difficult to stand out from the clutter. So, how do you create a winning wellness strategy in January that creates meaningful results?

Preparation is everything

Mapping out the plan ahead of time will go a long way in guaranteeing you don’t spend the holiday season with anxiety over securing New Year’s coverage hanging over your head.

Here’s an example: Anna Victoria’s recent media blitz. In planning the Instagram mega-influencer’s impact on the resolution season, Mfa created a successful fall lead-up campaign with community meet-ups and efforts to grow her social and traditional media presence by 400,000-plus. With the goal of securing a live segment on “The Today Show” — along with every other client and PR pro — our team took into account the fact that broadcast producers have been working with longer lead times and set up a series of digital initiatives for Anna with to build her brand cache amongst Today’s audience and demonstrate her influence.

After a few of these hit, we pushed for broadcast, landing a January on-air workout segment. Additional preparation that paid off included a month-long partnership with Shape, with whom Anna put together a video series and Snapchat takeover.

Go beyond “New Year, New You”

How tired are you of hearing, saying or pitching “New Year, New You!”? To beat the cliché, Mfa and Westin Hotels & Resorts conceptualized a global survey regarding 2017 travel trends.

Based on Westin’s strong brand positioning in the wellness space and the understanding that wellness is truly a lifestyle, we decided to add on a few questions about the evolution of fitness and wellness related New Year’s Resolutions. The results, which the team began pitching in Q4, showed a surprising shift in the way people are approaching the New Year’s Resolution: instead of making a January commitment to improving their well-being, global respondents will make ongoing commitments to sleep better, eat more healthfully, exercise more regularly and maintain a work-life balance throughout 2017.

Strategically getting in front of editors early with unexpected data has led to feature coverage in The New York Times among others. Data is also being turned into a visual infographic that will be pushed out via social media.

Think about the larger story

While there’s ample round-up opportunities for active wear, gear and equipment in January, it’s also the time to capitalize on the broader buzz around health and wellness trends, which can lead to more of a spotlight for your client than the credit information given in a curated product collage.

This type of content doesn’t come together overnight, and seeding ideas needs to happen several months in advance to give editors a chance to experience a brand, connect with key brand reps, and research if this is, in fact, a trend (here’s a tip: in your initial pitch, provide a few other examples that illustrate the trend).

When Mfa began working with ROAM Fitness on their January 2017 launch of the first airport gym and shower facility behind security lines, we knew that we’d need to be seeding content to top targets early on to guarantee inclusion in 2017 wellness trend pieces. Offering early-looks for media and influencers led to ample time to build robust results, including coverage in multiple magazines and features in digital trend pieces.

As with any New Year resolution, don’t let your strategy fade after January 31st. Keep the momentum going. Wellness is a topic that can be pitched all year long.


Caroline Andrew is senior vice president at Mfa Marketing & PR. Cynthia Patnode is a senior account supervisor at Mfa Marketing & PR.