NHS Leadership Academy | Audience-driven content development

NHS Leadership Academy

Content development drives planning and delivery

Content development is at the heart of the marketing communications created to support the Academy’s award-winning programmes


NHS Leadership Academy is the primary provider of leadership development programmes in England. Until 2015, all programmes were free to NHS employees, which helped fill programmes with limited marketing activity while communications focused on stakeholder engagement. In summer 2015, the Academy introduced fees for some of its programmes and it was recognised that there needed to be a more focused effort around the sales and marketing communications of its programmes. We were brought in to support the development of a wide range of strategies, including alumni engagement and content development and marketing.


Working with cross-disciplinary teams at the Academy, we created insightful pen portraits based on existing programme participants and alumni, as well as desirable prospective participants. Using the pen portraits, we created an ideal customer journey, addressing every potential touch point and opportunity for effective engagement, with an emphasis on social media and tools within a newly updated customer relationship management (CRM) system. We developed three strategies: a content development, a content management and a content marketing strategy. The premise was to get the right content to the right user at the right time, allowing for the wide variety of content options. To back this up, a decision tree helped staff direct prospective participants to the appropriate resources.


Time invested in developing the strategies has been time well spent. It’s recognised that content isn’t just the role of the marketing and engagement team and has boosted people’s confidence. Social media engagement is up, click-through to the Academy’s website have increased and its programmes remain often oversubscribed. Leadership development continues to be seen among health professionals and managers as a key driver for improved patient care and efficiency.


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Having a clear strategy for our content, which is complex and multi-layered, helps focus our planning and limited resources.

Helen Dennis
Head of marketing and engagement
NHS Leadership Academy