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January 11, 2013

A Prescription for Press: Top 20 Health Stories of the Year—How These Features Can Help You Earn Media Coverage

Dorothy YorkDorothy York, President and CEO of North American Precis Syndicate (NAPS)

Every year, North American Precis Syndicate (NAPS) ranks the top Health section stories on www.napsnet.com by highest number of placements in media outlets nationwide. The articles that editors preferred this year came from a variety of corporations, associations and government agencies. The articles targeted a wide variety of consumer groups.

Many of the most successful stories included attractive color photos and were filled with helpful advice from experts, celebrity spokespeople, the latest statistics, results from surveys, trends, time-saving tips, money-saving ideas and other helpful information for people looking for information on topics related to protecting their own health or that of their friends or family members. The most popular topics included skin care tips, prenatal care, flu prevention, medical breakthroughs, heart health, diet tips, dental advice and many more.

We are passionate about working on the kinds of stories that can help millions of people nationwide with news that is potentially lifesaving or that improves the quality of their lives.

Here are the top 20 Health section stories from our latest annual review:

1. Edelman PR/Unilever/Dove Men + Care Body and Face Wash – "Practical Skin Care Tips for Men." Men's grooming tips were provided from a dermatologist for National Healthy Skin Month to help create an awareness of this moisturizing body wash.

2. CerviLenz, Inc. – "Advances in Prenatal Care Help Prevent Premature Birth." This article, targeting mothers-to-be, as well as concerned friends and family members, provided expert advice from a high-risk pregnancy physician noted to be the author of groundbreaking research on progesterone and prematurity prevention.

3. Sanofi Pasteur/American Lung Association – "Add a Flu Shot to Your List of New Year's Resolutions." Kristi Yamaguchi was the celebrity spokesperson of this Faces of Influenza campaign. She helped encourage readers and family members of all generations to get vaccinated, as recommended by the American Lung Association and the CDC.

4. U.S. Army/Korean War Veterans – "Military Medicine." This article created an awareness of medical breakthroughs and how veterans contributed not only to freedom, but also to better medical treatment in combat.

5. American Heart Association – "Coping with Cold Weather and Heart Disease." The American Heart Association provided expert health advice, driving people to a special high blood pressure site sponsored by Merck, as well as the AHA's social media sites.

6. Pharmachem Laboratories, Inc./Natrol Carb Intercept – "Simple Steps for Getting Fit in the New Year." Diet tips from a registered dietitian were provided for those concerned about weight loss and diabetes.

7. Bonfit America/Steripod – "A Cleaner Toothbrush May Mean Fewer Colds." This article created an awareness of toothbrush sanitizers with an invisible vapor shield that can be wrapped around a toothbrush and that includes a nontoxic, botanical ingredient to fight the germs and bacteria that cause colds.

8. Genentech/Boniva – "Are You Following the Doctor's Orders?" This article provided expert health advice to help women over 50 who may need to treat osteoporosis.

9. Astra Zeneca/Crestor – "Are You Getting the Right Prescription at the Pharmacy Counter?" This article revealed the results of a recent survey that included consumer preferences about therapeutic substitutions. Also included were tips to help consumers protect their rights with regard to getting the medication that has been prescribed.

10. WellPoint, Inc. – "When Does It Make Sense to Go to the Emergency Room?" This article suggested that an alternative to visiting an emergency room is to go to an urgent care center and included statistics that indicate the billions of dollars in potential savings for doing so. Tips were provided on how to find nearby urgent care centers.

11. Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative – "Volunteers: A Key to Curing Alzheimer's Disease." This article provided trends to indicate the growing number of people affected by Alzheimer's. Volunteers were asked to contact the National Institute on Aging's Alzheimer's Disease Education and Referral Center for participation in a new study to help end the Alzheimer's epidemic.

12. Amgen/Breakaway from Cancer – "A New Resource Helps Patients Breakaway from Cancer." This article included quotes by celebrity Patrick Dempsey about his mother, who has ovarian cancer, and readers were directed to a site that is a powerful resource navigator tool for caregivers and people with cancer.

13. Epocrates, Inc. – "The Remedy to Pill Confusion." This article created awareness of a new software that helps people identify any pill by size, shape and color. The software is especially helpful for people who take more than five medications.

14. Shire/Dermagraft – "Regenerative Medicine: Helping the Body to Heal Itself." This article created awareness of a company that specializes in the development of life-altering regenerative medicine therapies, including a bioengineered skin substitute for treatment of diabetic foot ulcers.

15. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – "New CDC Program Created to Help Cancer Patients Prevent Infections." This article announced a new CDC program funded by Amgen and included information on how many are affected by cancer, who is at risk, symptoms and available methods of treatment.

16. Water Pik, Inc. – "Travel-Ready Dental Care Delivered in a Compact Size." This article included a photo of a smiling, happy family with a caption about maintaining clean teeth while traveling using a new technology.

17. Quest Diagnostics – "Colon Cancer Screening Saves Lives But Many People Don't Get Tested." This article included a doctor's quote to assure people over 50 that a colonoscopy can catch colon cancer in early, treatable stages.

18. Polar Electro/ Heart Rate Monitors – "Maximizing Your Cold Weather Workouts." This article included tips from a celebrity fitness expert on using fitness gadgets for motivation. Readers were directed to a site where they could design a customized workout plan.

19. National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy – "Preventing Unplanned Pregnancy Among Young Adults." This article included the staggering statistic that one in 10 women has an unplanned pregnancy each year to draw attention to an important issue. A doctor who hosts a nationally syndicated radio program was quoted and readers were informed about relevant social media platforms set up for addressing the issue.

20. Pfizer – "Do You Know What Could Be Hiding in Your Medicine Cabinet?" This article alerted consumers to the dangers of buying potentially counterfeit medicines online. Readers were directed to a site that lists accredited online pharmacies.

NAPS helped meet campaign goals and maximize exposure of these compelling stories by blanketing the media, especially community news outlets in the wealthy suburbs, using the formats that each of the editors requires. This process helped NAPS achieve nearly 3,000 placements for the top story of the year.

Each of these stories was sent to more than 10,000 newspapers and thousands of online publications nationwide in a variety of formats, including CDs and camera-ready repro proofs. They were also posted to www.napsnet.com with RSS feeds by subject, and links to social media sites were offered under each story for easy sharing. In addition, they were distributed by e-mail, NAPS blogs and social media sites, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, iTunes and Pinterest. Releases were posted to a special section on our site that links to banners running on major daily news sites such as USAT.com, LATimes.com and WSJ.com, which helps generate thousands of additional page views per story at a fraction of the cost of advertising because the cost is spread over several releases per banner.

Several stories and releases included broadcast media outlet distributions on a variety of tape and CD formats to more than 6,500 radio stations and over 1,000 TV stations, which gave them hundreds of additional on-air placements.

NAPS offers copy and layout suggestions at no cost or obligation. Our team is well trained to give excellent advice on how to get the most coverage in community news outlets nationwide. For more information or a free proposal from the experts, please visit www.napsinfo.com, e-mail info@napsnet.com or call 1-800-222-5551.

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