If you want get the word out about your good works, there are a number of tactics you can implement that are time-efficient and won’t break the bank. To run an effective PR campaign, you need to create a strategy that encompasses the five P’s: Positioning, Platform, People, Promotion and Perseverance.
- Positioning. You need to precisely identify what’s unique about your good works. Research your competitive landscape to identify how you are different from other nonprofit organizations and also how you share things in common. What do you offer that is new and different? How do your services differ from other like-minded organizations? What services do you provide that cannot be found anywhere else?
- Platform. Conduct your own branding and messaging session to hone your core focus, key audiences, position with respect to those audiences and key messages. These messages are your messaging platform and should be reflected throughout all aspects of your subsequent external communication, including press releases, marketing brochures, your blog, an external newsletter, your website, story pitches to the press, and posts on social media.
- People. It’s not about you, it’s about the people you serve. Understand the needs of your target audience. Your focus must be on demonstrating the solutions you provide and the value you offer. What you do and how you serve is best demonstrated by gathering case studies and testimonials. Case studies are one-page stories told from the first person by people who benefited from your good works. Testimonials are one-liners, quotes or sound bites that are extracted from the case studies. Don’t tell what you do. Let other people show what you do.
- Promotion. The press release is dead. (Long live the press release!) Except in formal situations to make public announcements, the press release is a relic of the past. Instead, share your stories (case studies and testimonials) by blogging. Google loves quality original stories posted on blogs. The stories on your blogs can be sliced and diced into bits and posts, along with photos and graphic imagery, all of which can be posted on your social media sites. Pitch your stories to the press. There is no greater credibility than getting authentic news coverage.
- Perseverance. Now here is the hard part. People who do good works might think that if they do one or two things once in a while and haphazardly, it’s enough to constitute a PR campaign. The use of the word campaign is derived from war, and winning a war requires strategy, discipline and perseverance. You need to schedule your activity on a calendar. All of these elements —branding and messaging sessions, writing a messaging platform, writing case studies, testimonials, blogs, social media posts and pitches to the press — belong on a calendar.
There are plenty of free and low-cost strategies to promote your good works. All it takes is time put into strategic planning, the discipline to stay on task, coupled with high quality writing to keep your story alive.