In 2018, the Communications Unit promoted the implementation of the Cancer Society’s mission and key projects. The goal of CSF communications is that the information and services provided by the organisation can be found and used as easily as possible by patients, loved ones and all others with an interest in cancer.

The Communications Unit is responsible for the Cancer Society’s internal and external communications, for the CSF brand and its reputation. The Unit’s tasks also include communication about the various functions of the CSF central office in collaboration with CSF specialists.

The methods used by the Communications Unit in 2018 included traditional press releases, advocacy communications, social media and web channels, podcasts, videos, the Syöpä-Cancer magazine, newsletters, handouts, paid media and multichannel campaigns.

In August 2018, there was an organisational change where the communications of the Cancer Society and the communications and fundraising of the Cancer Foundation were split into two separate units. With this change, Jaana Ruuth was appointed as communications director for the Cancer Society and Helena Hulkko was appointed as communications and fundraising director for the Cancer Foundation.

Work was started in spring 2018 to improve the CSF brand in collaboration with ad agency McCann. The brand work included three workshops and a staff survey. The work will continue in spring 2019. To support the brand work, the Communications Unit defined key messages for the CSF.

In 2018, digital communications work continued to intensify. Process enhancement, knowledge management and analytics-based, systematic reforms were the tools used in the work. The mutual efficiency of social media and the web pages was further enhanced. We also launched a national digital communications team, which will develop the CSF’s digital communications through an internal network.

The Communications Unit is committed to developing the digital communications capabilities of CSF staff. The Unit organised two training days for the digital communications team and supported employee advocacy with monthly meetings that were broadcast live to all member associations.

The Communications Unit also coordinates the CSF’s media training. Two media training sessions were organised in autumn 2018 in cooperation with Constra Oy, a training and consultation company.

The Communications Unit produces both an internal and an external newsletter. The external newsletter had 680 subscribers at the end of the year.

Media communications

The CSF’s media communications activities provide the general public and professionals with information on cancer treatment and prevention, CSF services, and the Cancer Registry’s statistics and research. Another objective is to influence health-related legislation.

In 2018, the CSF earned media exposure for topics related to, for instance, cancer prognoses, cancer research, screenings, nicotine products and the social welfare and healthcare reform. The Communications Unit published 35 press releases. The press release distribution and media monitoring partner is Koodiviidakko. One of the aims of the media monitoring is to better analyse social media and blogs, in addition to traditional media.

Social media

The Communications Unit maintains two Facebook pages. At the end of 2018, the CSF Facebook page had 8 679 likes (7 406 in 2017). The A Good Life without Cancer page was improved through the publication of more varied content related to health promotion. The page had 267 likes at year-end (193 in 2017).

The Communications Unit also coordinates three Twitter accounts. The English-language @CancerFinland account is used mainly to publish research results. It has 956 followers (831 in 2017). The Finnish-language account @Syopajarjestot is used to publish CSF news and press releases. The account has 2 101 followers (1 713 in 2017). The Cancer Registry’s Twitter account @CancerRegFi is mostly concentrated on science communication. The account has 320 followers.

The CSF also has a YouTube channel, which had 651 subscribers at the end of 2018 (351 in 2017). At their best, individual CSF videos reached more than 100 000 viewers.

Web communications

The main web media for the Cancer Society are the three websites All About Cancer, Cancer Society and Free from Cancer. The Communications Unit is responsible for updating, analysing, developing and marketing the websites. The competition on the web is fierce. In further developing the CSF’s websites, special attention is paid to search engine optimisation, analytics, conversion optimisation, and the use of social media and blogs. To improve the findability of website content, a great deal of effort was put into Adwords search engine optimisation and continuous monitoring, analysis and development.

Awareness of the All about Cancer website improved slightly on the previous year, and the number of visitors increased. The website provides cancer information for patients and loved ones. The website is part of the Google for Nonprofits programme, which provides the CSF a monthly budget of 10 000 dollars to advertise the website on Google. The Finnish-language pages had nearly 991 000 unique visitors in 2018, which was some 13 000 more than in 2017. The Swedish-language pages had around 290 000 visitors (140 300 in 2017) and the English-language pages around 135 000 visitors (139 900 in 2017). ‘Types of cancer’ was still the most popular section of the website. The front page of the website was updated with dedicated sections for videos and podcasts. The website was also updated with React and Share buttons.

The Cancer Society website is mainly aimed at active organisation employees, people interested in volunteering and media representatives. The Finnish-language pages attracted some 110 000 visitors during the year, which is almost 50% more than in 2017. The Swedish and English pages had approximately 24 000 visitors in total. The front page was updated with dedicated sections for videos and podcasts, and React and Share buttons were introduced for press releases and news items.

The Free from Cancer website is intended for people with an interest in promoting their own health and preventing cancer. The Finnish-language pages had some 110 000 visitors during the year, which was nearly 70% more than in 2017. The Swedish and English pages had approximately 11 000 visitors in total.

Work continued to develop the Cancer Registry’s website by commissioning a usability analysis to collect input. The most popular section on the Cancer Registry website is the statistics application. The website tripled its visitors compared to last year: it had more than 40 000 visitors in 2018. The website also underwent some minor updates.

The project to revamp the websites of CSF member associations continued in 2018. The Finnish Association of Children and Young People with Cancer opened its new website in January and the Cancer Society of South-West Finland opened its in December. The new siskola.fi website was also opened. The Communications Unit has coordinated the website projects and trained staff at the associations.

In future, all CSF websites will need to comply with the EU Web Accessibility Directive, which will enter into force in 2020. A working group has been set up to prepare for the accessibility requirements of the directive.

Internal communications

The Cancer Society’s internal newsletter was sent to all CSF employees approximately once a month. The Communications Unit is responsible for developing the common intranet for CSF and for maintaining the image bank. In autumn 2018, the company Blue Meteorite was chosen to develop a new CSF intranet. The implementation phase has been scheduled for 2019.

Syöpä-Cancer magazine

In 2018, the Syöpä-Cancer magazine appeared four times. The magazine’s circulation is 105 017. The magazine was posted to CSF member associations and to all subscribers. The magazine carries a Swedish-language supplement for readers who have chosen to receive it. The Swedish supplement had a print run of 6 000 copies. Docent Sirkku Jyrkkiö continued as the editor in chief.

Work continued to develop web versions of the magazine’s contents. Each issue included articles that were published in longer versions on the Cancer Society website. The web version and archive of the magazine were made more user friendly. We also set up a focus group of twelve readers to help develop the magazine’s contents.

The planning of a digital version of the magazine started in autumn 2018. Work to plan the content concepts of the magazine was started at the same time. The digital version will be published as part of the All about Cancer website in 2019.