This is a guest post from Andre Gwilliam, who specialises in Digital PR and Outreach for Digital marketing agency Spike, based in Leeds/London.
To implement a PR strategy for a local charity, there are several steps which will help ensure you successfully raise awareness of the cause, while also securing good local coverage.
More than ever before, it matters to do good things, not just for your clients, but for those who need it the most. This is one of the values we hold at Spike. This guest post will discuss how you can utilise and apply your skills in public relations to develop a local PR strategy for a charity of your choice.
Selecting a Charity
The first step in your PR strategy is to select a charity that is close to your heart. Consider then how you would like to raise the funds and what it is you actually want to do, which should be the core of your campaign.
Brainstorm, Plan and Motivate One Another
Creating a timeline with deadlines for your PR activity will help you to understand what tasks need completing and by when.
With mental health at the heart of our campaign, we at Spike decided that, throughout December, we would walk 2.5 million steps in 30 days as our fundraising campaign. Quite a feat! We recognised that getting active outdoors is a mood-lifter.
Leeds North and West Food Bank was the charity we selected; they put food on the tables of local families in need.
Building a Localised Media List
A targeted media list will help you achieve increase the chances of securing local PR results. Before diving into which publications will want to share your news, consider the following:
1. Your charity’s focus – it’s not just your audience that matters. Understanding who your charity helps, can give you a greater understanding of news placement opportunities.
2. Utilise the PR and SEO tools at your disposal – whether that’s through media monitoring or SEO tools like Ahrefs. Exploring the previous news your charity has been featured in can help form an important part of the research phase of building your media list.
3. Local news platforms specific to your area – make sure you search for new local placement opportunities in your area. For example, (as we are based in Leeds) the search term ‘raises funds for Leeds charity’, will bring up other publications discussing other local charity campaigns. This can help you build a relevant media list.
Keeping relevance at the forefront of your campaign can help you to achieve better rankings, traffic, engagement and backlinks.
Local Contacts, Media and Micro-publications
Write a press release for local media and micro-publication contacts who discuss relevant charity fundraising stories. Locals often have more readers than national daily publications so covering the basics by attaining a quote from your local charity can support your release and make it more newsworthy.
Your Stories Should Evoke Emotion
Part of your role in PR is to influence how people think and feel about a particular subject. Each time you write a press release and promote this to specific contacts within a particular industry, you are influencing how people think and feel so keep this in mind when writing your release.
Promoting Your Story Across Social Media Platforms
LinkedIn is a fantastic platform in helping you to drive campaign messaging by promoting your fundraising campaign which can support your story. Here at Spike, we believe in an integrated approach to using social media and PR to bolster campaigns as it is a great way to understand audiences. Once you have created your campaign, reaching out to local connections on LinkedIn can help you to share campaign updates and raise further awareness of the good things you are doing.
LinkedIn’s latest story feature, similar to other platforms, allows you to promote daily updates to your followers. You might experience both good and bad days in the campaign, but we believe the good and bad is important to share as it promotes honesty to your audience and shares your journey in a transparent way.
For more on supporting local businesses and organisations, check out previous guest posts from Gallium Ventures managing director and founder Heather Delaney on The Power of Community and White Rose PR director Louise Pinchin on Supporting Local Businesses with Local PR.