Who did we help?

DIPEx is a healthcare charity that publishes the innovative and award-winning website Healthtalkonline.org and its sister website Youthhealthtalk.org, based on research from the Health Experiences Research Group at Oxford University. The charity provides a unique database of more than 2,000 people’s personal and patient medical experiences. These enable visitors to watch video interviews, listen to audio clips and read real-life experiences of more than 75 health-related conditions and illnesses.

Where and when?

DIPEx approached Padua Communications to help co-ordinate its media relations and PR campaigns for awareness of the websites generally and around its new health module launches as they were published on the sites. It also required continuing media outreach about the charity’s role in healthcare, such as CCG Commissioning and the issue of patient experience within the NHS.

Why did they need us?

As a charity, DIPEx needed a cost effective, one stop shop solution to maximise its media opportunities for the module launches on Infertility, Penile Cancer and Young People And Eating Disorders. It needed help with strategic planning, co-ordinating media campaigns, liaising with its in-house social media executive and increasing brand awareness. Hits to both websites were climbing steadily, with 1.5 million annual visits in 2011 but the charity wanted to reach 2 million by the end of 2012.

What did we do?

The key issue was to proactively source PR opportunities that would increase brand awareness and improve search engine optimisation through the creation of new and respected web links, which are crucial in driving traffic back to the websites. Padua Communications formed new relationships with key journalists and relevant publications.


The first launch for Infertility involved a fast, four-week turnaround. Padua Communications planned the launch to meet key deadlines and proactively pitched to more than 20 affiliated fertility sites and consumer health publications, creating coverage in Weight Watchers Magazine (circulation 200,023), Mens’ Health magazine and website, The Telegraph (circulation 578,744), the mumsnet forum (circulation 8,500,000) and Female First – one of the fastest growing female community sites (circulation 3,471,816)

Links were also placed with infertilitynetwork, Human Fertilisation And Fertility Friends Authority, British Fertility Society, Transrep, Multiple Birth Foundation and Fertility Friends.

Penile cancer

For the Penile Cancer launch, at the Royal Academy in Pall Mall in October, Padua Communications liaised with men’s cancer charity Orchid, drafting invites, liaising with stakeholders to ensure that internal communications flowed effectively between all parties. Padua Communications generated coverage in the national press by having direct contact with DIPEx interviewees and was able to release lifestyle case study examples that were picked up by the press, most notably in The Guardian (circulation: 3,721,090).

We approached relevant industry publications, securing a double page spread in Primary Care Today. All items were embargoed to ensure a direct hit on the day of the launch.  Crucially, a pre-recorded piece on Radio 4’s Inside Health programme with Dr Mark Porter ensured Healthtalkonline.org was linked back via the BBC website.

Young people and eating disorders

By planning ahead, Padua Communications was able to incorporate the Young People and Eating Disorders live module launch during Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2013 to ensure it had the biggest impact possible. We liaised with eating disorder charity Beat and secured a tailored article in the Guardian Health Network to run during the awareness week.

Brand awareness

To proactively raise DIPEx’s brand profile with health professionals around general health topics such as CCG Commissioning, patient experience and Carers’ week, Padua Communications reached out to both the Guardian Health Network and the Guardian Social Care network.

With web training from our team, senior researcher Dr Nic Hughes and DIPEx trustee Julia Cartwright were able to act as spokespeople for Healthtalkonline.org and took part in two live webinars on ‘What matters to patients’ and ‘Support for Carers’. As part of the Guardian Health Network’s CCG commissioning awareness week, Padua Communications placed and drafted an article for DIPEx partner GCA Ltd.

What was the result?

Securing credible site links back to both Healthtalkonline and Youthhealthtalk created substantial hits for all of the module launches and DIPEx received coverage in national health publications and social media. Visits to both DIPEx websites have now exceeded 2 million. Padua Communications was able to set up long lasting and successful relationships with key supporters and journalists. From pitching to BBC Radio 4, Padua Communications increased not only awareness from a respected and credible source but also established stronger links with a very high profile supporter in Dr Mark Porter, who continues to support the charity, recently highlighting the www.healthtalkonline.org as one of the top five health websites in The Times.

“Padua Communications has a complete grasp of how to build an effective PR campaign and is diligent in creating and following up on project plans to realise such campaigns. A pleasure to do business with.”
Graham Shaw, DIPEx chief executive