There’s a lot of emphasis on automating the public relations process and there’s almost daily a new program platform, trick or app with a funny name that guarantees more followers or better notoriety for clients. But there are some time-honored principles for cultivating your brand, whether your use hieroglyphics or Twitter to communicate: Do good deeds, find allies, use what you have an discreetly toot your horn. Because there’s no way to automate relevance.
We have a track record of delivering news media coverage for our clients and it’s worthwhile to examine how it happens with a good case study.
There are no secrets to getting news media coverage and several good principles include: Make yourself relevant, do something good for the community, make it easy for journalists to do their job and stand back and let them work.
In September, we hooked up Clothesline with Dress For Success Treasure Valley, which collects professional clothing for disadvantaged women and was holding a clothing drive in conjunction with Office Team. In addition to collecting many women’s suits, several people donated men’s suits and Clothesline Owner Gary McCracken wanted to give them to a worthy cause.
A and A looked for another charity and found Boise Rescue Mission Ministries, which has a program to help homeless and other disadvantaged men enter the workforce, and this program often needs good quality professional clothing. After some work with the Mission’s media staff, we arranged to have clothesline collect men’s clothing for the month of November and we drafted news releases to publicize it. With the cooperation of the Mission, we got some coverage in the Idaho Statesman and KTRV 12 at the kick off and during the clothing drive. We set up an event for Dec. 1 to hand the clothing over to the Mission and requested Mission representatives and a Mission resident attend to answer media questions (so often, news conferences and events have officials and leaders, but no one from the group that’s actually the recipient of the assistance).
With some judicious and persistent follow-up, we were able to persuade KTRV and KTVB – Idaho’s largest news source – to attend the handover, with KTVB devoting more than two and a half minutes to its broadcast. We finally collected about 750 items of clothing, providing a great backdrop at Clothesline’s Boise shop.
We started a parallel social media campaign in November, while Clothesline used its emailing list of several thousand customers to help get the word out. Clothesline also brought in Steve Reeder of the local Tom James haberdashery to publicize the drive to his clients. The Mission distributed to the release and assisted with getting publicity. Each party had some kind of publicity assets and put them to work.
We took our own video and will put that up on Clothesline’s YouTube page. Between the last few days of November and December, our weekly Facebook page visits increased by 10 percent and wall comments increased by one-third, and we believe it is attributable to the social media and news media push.
McCracken reported that about a dozen customers that hadn’t used his services in a while called his store on Dec. 2, saying they saw TV news program that morning, or the night before, and that reminded them they needed to get some stuff cleaned.