The challenge at hand
Established in 1992 Winston’s Wish is dedicated to supporting children after the death of a parent or sibling. Research shows that every 22 minutes a child in Britain is bereaved of a parent; this equates to 24,000 newly bereaved children each and every year.
How do you reach out to these families? How can they, and the professionals involved in supporting them, be made aware of the practical and therapeutic services available to them? How does one create a sustainable fund to provide for the long term needs of these families?
This was the dilemma for Winston’s Wish – fundraising initiatives and regional news coverage gained through personal press contacts were relatively successful but it was clear that a more sophisticated and extensive facility was needed to reach out to and engage with key national media in order to raise greater awareness of the charity’s work and to enable them to help more bereaved children.
The charity soon realised that it needed a stronger and more streamlined communications approach to take its message mainstream and to the attention of key media contacts who could push their story out to the influencers in their network.
‘A great deal of our time was taken up in researching media contacts and quite often being passed around until we reached the relevant contact. We had a good rapport with local publications but felt this needed to be extended regionally and nationally in order for us to be recognised as a leader in our field of work,’ said Liam McKinnon, press officer at Winston’s Wish.
It was then, in August 2013, that Winston’s Wish signed up for Cision’s media database, press release distribution and influencer engagement packages. ‘Cision looked to be full of features that addressed the needs we had – as well as having a very intuitive interface and functionality. We thought we should give it a go.’
How Cision helped
With these packages, Winston’s Wish was instantly able to put out its press releases on time and on the most appropriate distribution channels – whether that be email, web or social, to reach the widest audience; identify and connect with relevant media contacts and outlets accross the UK; and engage with social influencers who are writing about child bereavement or other related topics. The ability to obtain contact information, pitch preferences and gain social demographics was also vitally important for the charity and made possible with Cision.
After discovering the needs of the charity, a dedicated account manager from Cision was assigned to the Winston’s Wish team and extensive training courses were set up to make sure the team could maximise product performance and experience.
‘Cision was not only a solution, it was a turning point for Winston’s Wish,’ states Liam.
He offers a detailed explanation on the impact CisionPoint has had on the communication strategy and the overall mission statement of charity: ‘One way of monitoring the impact of using Cision is to compare the amount of press we received as a result of using the contact database from Cision. In 2013/14 – the amount of coverage we received increased 228% on the previous year. In 2014/15 we are on course to top this once again.
‘We have also been able to target specific areas of the country by using Cision’s filtering system; for instance we recently launched a new drop-in facility in the North West and it was important for us to build contacts in this area. Using Cision, we were able to pinpoint not only the relevant publications but the individual journalists who we could work alongside to publicise our presence in the area.
‘Since we have extended our contact reach into the North West, 100% of our press releases have been covered in the local news.’