Public relations (PR) helps you cultivate a positive reputation with the public through third-party sources, including traditional media (e.g. newspapers, magazines, blogs and websites, and television), social media and in-person or virtual events. News organizations are always on the lookout for engaging stories to tell about businesses in their coverage areas. But, in today’s day and age, they have very limited resources – including reporters, story space and air-time – to tell those stories. That’s why good PR starts with a great story.
To make your press release or media alert stand out from the hundreds of others that newsrooms receive in any given day, make sure it immediately answers the question, “Why is this news?” If you feel you have a great story to share with the public or have any questions about potential news opportunities in your business, pitch your initiative to local media (or work with a local PR agency) for coverage.
Some ideas for press-worthy activities include:
Fundraisers to support local initiatives. This could include collecting money or needed supplies. There is power in numbers – so the bigger the donation, the more press-worthy. Consider banding together with other businesses in your market to make a bigger impact.
Make cards for your community. Engage your customers and employees (and their families) to make letters or drawings for essential workers, healthcare heroes, or even those in nursing homes or other facilities who may feel especially isolated during this time. Be sure to check with facilities before sending anything, as they may have strict rules against accepting any non-critical supplies from the outside world.
Send meals to essential workers. You can either fundraise or pay out of your own pocket.
Make or purchase masks for healthcare workers and donate to a local hospital. There are many resources online to learn how to make them, and several websites to purchase low-cost options.
Coordinate a car parade with families to thank local healthcare workers. Have customers, employees and their families make signs and then organize to do a drive-by at the local hospital so you can show off their signs.
It is very important to take pictures (or video) of your efforts – this makes it shareable with local media outlets. Without photos or video to accompany the story, it may get lost among all of the other stories the media is receiving. They do not need to be professional – most phones these days take high-quality images. Try to get at least one good horizontal shot.
Create a shareable scene outside of your bricks and mortar business. Get a “Thank You Essential Workers” banner made and hang it outside. If you are an essential business, put out lawn signs that say, “Heroes Work Here.” Use sidewalk chalk to write inspiring messages on your sidewalks and parking lot. Hang messages in your windows. Create a happy scene that people naturally want to take pictures of and share.
Create a video message for your community. Engage your customers, employees and their families to create a short and heartfelt “thank you” message to first responders and other essential workers in your community. Then share the video on your social media channels. These types of videos are very shareable and get high engagement on social media.
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