Once again, Impact Hub Westminster was alive on Wednesday evening with some of the leading lights of the charity sector, who joined us to hear Stephanie Rock from West London PR Agency Wordville* talk about Getting PR for Your Cause! It was great to see so many of our regular members, along with some new faces and to see this evolving community of charity sector professionals in action, creating connections and sharing new ideas!
Why should we bother with PR?
The simple answer is that by generating an increased positive public profile for our charities and causes, we should be able to increase donations and funds, so that we can carry out even more of the important work that charities were set up to do.
For those of you who missed out, here are some of Stephanie’s top tips for getting PR for your cause!
WHAT is PR?
Stephanie began her talk by defining what PR should do. In short, PR should build reputations, be a third-party endorsement of your charity, brand, products or services and can be worth more than purely advertisements in building credibility. In the UK there are 13 national newspapers and 40,000 magazines alone and that’s before we get to social media channels so there are plenty of opportunities to get your message across!
WHO is handling your PR?
As with all marketing communication activities, the central starting point should always be your customer and their needs and all your messages must reflect these. Think about who your nominated spokespeople from your organisation should be and consider media training to ensure that everyone is well prepared and can confidently engage with the media empathetically and clearly to get your message across.
Create a press kit!
This should include the following and be readily available so that you are good to go with any urgent press enquiries:
- Press release – outlining the who, what, where, when and why of your news story (and make sure it is a real news story with a strong hook. Put yourself in the place of your potential readers and ask yourself “would I find this of genuine interest?”)
- Facts page about your organisation and / or specific campaign
- Biographies of key press contacts
- Case studies that demonstrate the human interest of your cause
- Images that help to tell your story
Some PR tools you might like to use
Stephanie highlighted a few useful tools to generate positive coverage.
Use twitter to:
- Follow influential journalists who write for the publications or about the issues you wish to highlight
- Comment on stories of the day
- Look out for stories being written that you can link to
- Take advantage of hashtags such as #journorequest and Askcharity (which matches journalists with charities – the Media Trust also does this)
- Tweet relevant news
Also, check out Hootsuite to monitor what’s trending on twitter and to see if you can join the conversation!
React to the news!
There are certain topics regularly featured in the news via various print, online and social media to which charities can react including Government legislation and bills, Charity Commission announcements, the lobbying act, general election 2015 and fundraising pieces, so put in place tracking processes to be able to comment quickly with an interesting angle related to your cause.
Enter your charity for an award
Awards are a great way of building brand awareness and enabling smaller organisations to stand alongside the larger ones. Specific charity industry awards include Third Sector Awards1, Business Charity Awards2 and Charity Times Awards3, but there may also be relevant consumer and local awards which reach your desired audience(s).
Stephanie’s final piece of advice was to:
T – tell a story – journalists and the public love a human interest story to which they can relate
A – always think of your audience and what’s important to them
L – listen to the news and the hot topics and see how you can angle your story around a current feature
K – keep at it! PR can be a slow burn so tenacity is a must!
At the end of the evening, I Am Networkers were buzzing as usual with lots of questions and comments. We’d love to hear innovative examples of PR used by charities, so do let us know!
If you’re based in London, you may be interested in joining us for our next event. Details can be found here.
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