PR, Press Relations, Public Relations, Media Coverage; whatever you call it, for organisations like charities and some businesses, PR is a vital way of promoting services or fundraising efforts and gaining more revenue streams.
I have been the voluntary press officer/marketing manager/social media manager for a small charity called the Myotonic Dystrophy Support Group (MDSG) based in Nottingham for some time now. Partly because I like to always make sure that I’m offering as much to charity as possible in anyway that I can and partly because my father and twin sister were diagnosed with the condition, Myotonic Dystrophy (MD), a few years ago.
But what does MD have to do with PR?
This article was written by the Mirror, a national newspaper in the UK because of a press release I sent to them on behalf of the MDSG charity. See link below:
Source: The Mirror, 28th October 2016. (http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/teens-hands-lock-anything-touches-9142495)
MDSG is a really small charity that raises a small amount of funds each year to enable it to support the families of those suffering from MD. So how did I manage to get national press coverage for such a small charity?
Luckily, the popular UK TV show Coronation Street decided to run a story-line on this very rare form of Muscular Dystrophy where one of their main characters, Steve McDonald is thought to suffer from the genetic muscle and multi-organ affecting condition. The mention of the story-line appeared in the national media and smaller, local media outlets.
Such opportunities present an excellent promotional footstool for small charities to get massive amounts of coverage and raise vital awareness for extra fundraising efforts and to improve the general public’s knowledge of the condition – potentially helping to save more lives and allow for better diagnosis rates.
Through asking for volunteers on social media channels and collecting case studies of MD sufferers and their experiences with the condition, I was able to build a strong press release to send out to local media, which is effectively an in-depth article giving a newsworthy angle that promotes what news the charity is wanting to share. The press release was sent out to some of my contacts in the national and local media in time to fit in with the Coronation Street story-line.
The media channels who accepted the press release from me were all nationals and with some additional research and contact with a couple of the case studies that I’d collected for them, they were able to produce some carefully-written, considerate articles with links back to the charity’s website, meaning huge coverage for this charity.
You can find all of the published articles here:
The Daily Express (November 2016)
Daily Mail (October 2016)
The Mirror (October 2016)
“Good PR is all about timing. Imagine you run a business that provides specialist antiques. One day, some lucky person finds a wonderful antique and the social media coverage and press coverage goes mad. Say that antique comes into your field of expertise, there’s your opportunity to shine in the media. It’s all about timing, who you know and how you can get your story and services across in the best possible way. Writing your story is what I do. Timing is everything.”
~ Kate Hill, 2016. Copyright.