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Special Project

Special Project
From the 15th Annual Shorty Awards

IZEA + Colorado Crisis Services: LGBTQIA+ Community Mental Health Support Initiative

Entered in LGBTQ Community Engagement, Local Campaign


Colorado Crisis Services (CCS), is Colorado’s statewide resource for any mental health, substance use and/or emotional concern, managed by the Colorado Behavioural Health Administration (BHA), a state government agency. Cactus, a Denver advertising and marketing agency, is the contracted marketing partner for the BHA for CCS. Cactus engaged IZEA to run a TikTok and Instagram campaign designed to raise awareness of their many services. As part of the campaign, IZEA worked with Cactus and CCS to source non-traditional influencers who were local to Colorado and identified as a part of the LGBTQIA+ community.

The goal of the campaign was to identify people who were willing to speak authentically about their personal experiences in order to educate their respective audiences and build awareness for this service in the LGBTQIA+ community in Colorado.

Influencers created real, raw and heartfelt video content about how the resources can be a benefit for others who are also a part of the LGBTQIA+ community and who may be facing the same or similar struggles. The selected influencers were not A-list celebrities with a massive following. Instead, they were real people in the community with very real hardships who wanted to make a real impact. 

To measure the success of the campaign, there were several benchmarks used to evaluate its effectiveness. The objectives were to surpass IZEA’s average service vertical benchmark of 1.02% for engagement rate, $0.43 for click-through rate and $3.01 cost-per-engagement. The team also set specific objectives for estimated paid media video views of 346,775.

Strategy and Execution

The LGBTQIA+ community in Colorado is facing a disproportionate amount of mental health crisis concerns to the state’s general population, which is often exacerbated by a feeling that resources, services and support people may not understand the unique lived experiences of members of this community. With this in mind, IZEA approached this campaign as an opportunity to have people who identify as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community share their experiences through storytelling. 

Using IZEA’s influencer marketing platform, the team sourced three influencers that were willing to share their stories in an authentic and thoughtful manner. The selected influencers were not mega-celebrities with huge followings, they were regular people in the community who have faced the same challenges and just wanted to help others to overcome them. Each influencer spoke candidly about their own experiences which varied from coming out to their family to battling their own mental health struggles, strategically weaving in the many resources available at Colorado Crisis Services. Without imposing extra parameters or specific direction around the content, IZEA allowed the creators to have full control over their creative expressions. They were asked to share their stories in a way that felt most authentic to them. Many of the creators engaged in candid conversation, opting to speak directly to the camera about their stories of loss, hurt and triumph.

The creator onboarding process proved to be more difficult than anticipated due to a few of the influencers showing hesitancy or being afraid to get so vulnerable. IZEA took this opportunity to show the influencers that they cared by not pressuring them, but being understanding of their feelings and advocating for their needs throughout the process. 

Naturally, speaking out about mental health, especially within the LGBTQIA+ community, can be a daunting topic to tackle. The IZEA team took extra precautions to ensure all participants felt safe and comfortable during this project by explaining the process upfront and utilizing extreme care when it came to discussing sensitive topics.

Through this campaign, IZEA curated a safe and vulnerable space that empowered the creators to fully unmask. The bravery they displayed by not only talking about their most vulnerable moments, but recording and posting it online for the world to see, resonated deeply with viewers prompting many of them to express their gratitude and share their stories in the comments. The influencers’ vulnerability made viewers feel safe enough to also get vulnerable resulting in nearly 30 thousand total engagements on TikTok and Instagram.


The campaign was a major success for IZEA and Colorado Crisis Services with more than a total of 760 thousand video views and nearly 28 thousand total engagements. The benchmark engagement rate for the service vertical is 1.02% and the campaign performed at an engagement rate of 4.7%, 3.6x higher than our benchmarks. The campaign's click-through rate was 0.50% with a benchmark of 0.43% and the cost per engagement was $1.43, 50% lower than our benchmark of $3.01. All set objectives were not only met but exceeded. 

The paid campaigns also performed exceptionally well, the adult-targeted TikTok campaign over delivered on the estimated video views by 451% and the youth-targeted TikTok campaign over delivered on the estimated video views by 339%. The paid media campaigns delivered 1,208% above our quoted goals. This indicates that the targeting was on point and IZEA was able to reach the right audience. The combined clicks totaled 4.5 thousand which was very impressive as IZEA did not optimize toward clicks. Generally, when optimizing toward video views, a large number of clicks are not to be expected. However, the results showed that the audience was interested and highly engaged with the content Colorado Crisis Services delivered.

The campaign was a huge success reaching more than 1.9 million people and exposing them to Colorado Crisis Services, which is available 24/7/365 to support in their times of need. 


Entrant Company / Organization Name

IZEA Worldwide, Inc.


Entry Credits