Greenwood Genetic Center Public Relations Campaign
Greenwood Genetic Center (GGC), a nonprofit organization in Greenwood, S.C., works to advance the field of medical genetics and care for families impacted by genetic disease and birth defects. GGC physicians and scientists provide clinical genetic services, diagnostic laboratory testing, educational programs and resources, and research in the field of medical genetics. Researchers from GGC, along with collaborators from Biolog, Inc. in California, published a paper in the journal Molecular Autism regarding a discovery in the understanding of autism that opened the door to potential early blood test and therapeutic options. These findings showed promise for developing an early ASDs screening test using advanced cell-scanning technology. GGC charged DNA with developing and distributing a press release to gain media coverage in an effort to build public awareness both regionally and nationally about this discovery and GGC’s efforts.
The overall goal with this project was to inform both the science and health communities as well as the general public about this important discovery and how it advanced the understanding of autism. DNA partnered with Continuum, who was working with Biolog, to make as large a splash as possible with this announcement. DNA crafted a two-page press release from GGC detailing the researchers’ efforts and the significance of their discovery. Similarly, Continuum drafted a release from Biolog regarding their technology’s role in the research. In distributing the releases, Continuum focused on national exposure while DNA focused on regional exposure. In addition to traditional regional news media, DNA also researched independent science writers, mommy blogs and autism associations to pitch to.
Through these combined efforts, the discovery was covered in more than 75 media outlets regionally and nationally, including newspapers, TV, radio, blogs, online forums, and more. Specifically, DNA was very successful with many online pick-ups from the press release and GGC was featured on TV twice and on local radio. DNA’s success in regional coverage helped supplement the limited national exposure that Continuum gained through their efforts. The level of coverage resulting from DNA’s efforts attributed to the project’s success as well as the discovery’s importance, since at this time, autism “breakthroughs” had been abundant in the media and reporters were wary to cover other similar stories.