BBI’s White Paper on PR Strategies for EAPs in University of Maryland’s EA Digital Archive

BackBone white paper conveys the value of Public Relations to Employee Assistance organizations seeking to differentiate their services and business model


BOCA RATON, FL — June 12, 2018 — BackBone, a public relations and marketing agency specializing in HR, health care and workforce technology, today announces that its new white paper, “How EAPs Can Use Public Relations to Communicate Value,” has been selected for inclusion in the Employee Assistance (EA) Digital Archive of University of Maryland, Baltimore’s (UMB) School of Social Work. The Employee Assistance Digital Archive is part of the school’s Health Sciences and Human Services Library (HS/HSL), and offers free access to original works, historical documents and other significant articles related to the EA field.


White Paper Abstract: Employee Assistance (EA) practitioners are continually required to communicate and prove their value — particularly in a business climate where every service provider needs to demonstrate ROI — not just this month or next, but at regular intervals. To business executives, value is defined by the correlation between EA services and productivity. To end-users, or employees using the EAP, it’s defined by the efficacy of the counseling and the speed with which the individual is able to mitigate or remove barriers to performance and personal well being. EAPs typically use several communications vehicles to convey value, from utilization reports geared to senior management to brochures, e-mails, and HR intranets targeted to end-users. However, few EAPs look toward standard public relations to communicate — indeed validate — their business model and the efficacy of the services they provide.


“BackBone’s white paper addresses an important and long overdue need for the Employee Assistance field, which is why we selected it for the EA archive,” said Dr. Patricia A. Herlihy, Founder of Rocky Mountain Research and co-curator of the EA Archive. “EA Professionals tend to focus mainly on clinical issues and frequently need assistance in communicating their value to their own organization as well as the outside world. This white paper offers a number of thoughtful, creative suggestions that any EA organization can implement.”


Dr. Herlihy and her colleague, UMB Associate Professor Dr. Jodi Jacobson Frey, founded the International Employee Assistance Digital Archive in 2013, realizing a need for a national depository of curated resources available for free to people in the field. The white paper and archive can be accessed at

Turning the GDPR into Good PR

We’ve done a lot of writing recently about the versatility of white papers and how they can be the foundation of focused content marketing initiatives. The newly instituted GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) actually makes them even more versatile,  giving marketers an effective, time-tested means of acquiring emails that are GDPR-compliant.

As most readers know, the EU GDPR applies to any business that collects any personally identifiable data (such as an IP address from which personal identity can be adduced). This applies to all companies within the EuropeanUnion, and to US-based businesses interacting with EU companies. According to GDPR guidelines, any email address that you collect, the person’s consent to the collection and use of that email address must be a “freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous indication of the data subject’s wishes by which he or she, by a statement or by a clear affirmative action, signifies agreement to the processing of personal data relating to him or her.”

A downloadable white paper available to anyone who opts in – per the requirements above – nets you a GDPR-approved contact. But bear in mind that the consent provided applies only to what you’re offering in exchange. So if you’re offering a single white paper, you can’t use that same email to send that person another solicitation at another time. But what you can do is offer a series of white papers and acquire a one-time consent that will give you the necessary cover to use those emails to send other white papers in the series as they are made available (for instance, you can offer a quarterly white paper in a series and send each when it’s available). Your opt-in language needs to be explicit and reflect GDPR standards – the person on the other end needs to have a clear understanding of what they are consenting to.

Of course, the challenge is getting people to your website, and once there, giving them the incentive to provide their personal data in exchange for a…report. But getting them there is another topic for whole other series of blog posts. As is identifying topics and laying out themes that will get people to take notice and make them more apt to download – and read! – your white paper.

However, it is important to make sure that your white paper is more than a marketing document. This is sound advice for any white paper in almost all circumstances, but particularly so as the GDPR makes the public more protective of its data and more aware of the value marketers place on it. In this new climate, most people will want to receive something of real value in exchange for consenting to give up even the smallest piece of personal information. Make it compelling, timely, specific, grounded, and practical. Convince your reader that no one – no one – knows this topic as thoroughly and sees their issues with such startling clarity.

The GDPR is a pain to navigate and will make each opt-in email hard won. At the same time, it forces you to create a tighter, weightier product that will ultimately have a weightier impact.


Click here for more on BackBone’s turnkey white paper service.

The Road to Wellness Begins on the Weekend

Excerpt from our latest NSFW Column:

We know the reasons they (corporate wellness programs)  fall short: rewards lead to temporary gains; people don’t have the time or incentive; and poor program design fails to get at foundational behaviors. The cool apps and trackers soon lose their novelty and appeal, and in the “can’t blame them” category, some chuck rather than be hounded by their numbers all day long. In light of all this, I have a modest suggestion:  Companies would be wise to get out of the wellness business during business hours and move the focus to the weekend, a time when they have the least control, but wellness programs may actually do the most good.

Click here for more.

corporate wellness