What does it take for your charity PR campaign to be successful, especially on a limited budget and with very finite resources?
During June 2015, the Albinism Fellowship for the UK and Republic of Ireland achieved three different pieces of TV news coverage in England and Northern Ireland, three radio reports, including live BBC studio interviews with both a family affected by the condition and the chair of the charity, and at least three items in the local press for its campaign for Albinism Awareness Week (see the Albinism Fellowship’s press release).
That’s not to mention a healthy amount of social media interaction generated by members of the fellowship charity and its supporters (and equivalent charities) around the world, and in the media.
Better whisper this next bit – that’s more coverage than some private sector PR campaigns have achieved on bigger budgets.
The main purpose of the campaign was to de-bunk the myths of albinism, a rare genetic condition that affects roughly one in 17,000 of the UK population. Adding clout and extra credibility to this year’s Albinism Awareness Day was the support of the United Nations, which spearheaded albinism charities around the world – including the Albinism Fellowship – in challenging some of the damaging myths about albinism head-on.
While albinism is big news for those that live with the condition and their families, it seldom registers on the ‘news radar’. Few journalists have heard of, or understand, the condition – certainly in the UK. After all, albinism is not a life threatening condition, so why devote space to it given there are often more emotive stories out there?
Here are a few thoughts on why this campaign was a success (Bennettwords played an instrumental role in generating much of the media coverage that was gained, as well as writing the press release) and what can be learned.
• If your cause is not a ‘mainstream’ one (meaning it has low public awareness), write a strong press release linking it to a newsworthy event
• Why should journalists (and outsiders) care? Find people with first-hand experience of your cause/message who are willing to be interviewed and can put your points across well. Think how the ‘man in the street’, who may know nothing about your cause, can easily identify with your messages (or in this case, a rare genetic condition)
• When choosing ‘case studies’ remember they real people! Before putting them forward for media scrutiny, ensure they are comfortable being questioned about aspects of their lives; photographed and potentially filmed. Are they really happy in the spotlight?
Those are just some of the tips in achieving a strong media campaign. Want to know more? Contact me.
• Neither Bennettwords and Andrew Bennett are responsible for the content of any external websites, including those of news organisations