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How social content helped share the story of the UK’s NHS Heroes


By Awards Analyst, writer

May 25, 2021 | 5 min read

Boldspace won the Best Use of Content on Social Platforms at The Drum Awards for Content in 2020. Here, the team behind the entry reveal the challenges faced and strategies used to deliver this success campaign for NHS staff charity Heroes

The challenge

Heroes is a new charity with an incredible mission at a critical time in UK history.

The role of the NHS in fighting Covid-19 has led to record-high levels of support and positive public sentiment towards the health service. At the same time, however, NHS staff continue to be under increasing levels of pressure – operationally, physically, mentally, and financially – thus significantly impacting NHS workers and their families.

Heroes was founded by frontline NHS workers for NHS workers in 2020. The charity delivers wide-ranging support to NHS staff, covering their physical, mental and day-to-day needs, from doctors and nurses to cleaners and porters.

Boldspace was briefed to design a campaign to:

  • Raise awareness for Heroes with the general public (reach), NHS staff (engagement) and partners/potential partners (engagement/interaction);

  • Double engagement rates across all social platforms during the campaign versus the previous week;

  • Increase week-on-week donations to Heroes by 50%;

  • Drive NHS staff engagement with Heroes that leads to at least five counselling appointments being taken-up during the campaign.

The strategy

Boldspace identified an opportunity to use the NHS’ 72nd birthday by outlining 72 ways people can help the NHS, and position Heroes as a key charity whose offerings help to protect the livelihood of its invaluable workers located across the UK.

With only a week’s lead time, Boldspace created 72 individual points and ideas describing ways the general public could help the NHS at this critical time, profiling a combination of Heroes-specific services as well as suggestions centered around the community, public health and political awareness

As many calls to action were included as possible, including Heroes’ ambassadors, partners, links to the donation page, educational information around coronavirus, and existing health initiatives led by the NHS (such as Couch to 5K, ambulance volunteer programs, blood and organ donations and more).

Once the strategy was finalised, Boldspace devised a plan to maximise the impact of this content across multiple channels.

The campaign

Through a series of 72 posts, followers were encouraged to know their NHS, learn the matters they can take into their own hands, understand how Heroes helps the NHS and its team, and ultimately uncover how everyone can help protect our invaluable healthcare service and its workforce.

On Twitter, a numbered tweet was sent out every hour for 72 hours leading up to the NHS birthday clap, with a different way to help the NHS: launching at 5pm on 2 July and concluding at 5pm on 5 July. Boldspace prioritised the 72 ideas according to the charity’s core priorities, with points that were important deliberately shared during peak online traffic periods, and those with a less immediate CTA were posted overnight. All Twitter accounts related to the CTAs were tagged and linked.

NHS Heroes tweet

On Instagram, 73 images were designed (featuring text on a unified Heroes’ branded background): the launch post plus one for each of the 72 points) Boldspace uploaded Instagram carousel ‘round-ups’ every 8 hours at key online periods, so as not to bombard audiences. All Instagram accounts related to the CTAs were tagged, where applicable

On Facebook, Boldspace posted a ‘recognition post’ on the morning of the NHS birthday to honour the milestone and create hype around the full list to follow. As this channel works well with long-form text, the complete list of 72 ideas was included in one post and shared on Monday 6 July as a ‘reflective round-up'. This post followed the weekend’s campaign itself as carried out on other channels. All Facebook accounts related to the CTAs were tagged and linked.

Similarly to the approach undertaken on Facebook, Boldspace uploaded a recognition post to LinkedIn on the morning of the NHS birthday to honor the milestone and create hype around the full list to follow. The day after the birthday, Monday 6 July, knowing engagement from corporate audiences would be significantly higher, Boldspace scheduled a round-up post and included a published blog on the Heroes website capturing the complete list of 72 ideas.

The results

The campaign delivered key outcomes including:

  • increased donations by 300 times compared to the previous week;

  • nine counselling appointments were booked during the campaign;

  • +135% week-on-week [WOW] (+77% month-on-month [MOM]) increase in engagement across owned social;

  • +245.5% WOW increase in reach across owned social;

  • Large spike in both mentions and positive sentiment.

This project was a winner at The Drum Awards for Content in 2020. To find out which competitions in The Drum Awards are currently open for entries click here, or visit our new interactive calendar.

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