It’s only the 2nd week of 2012 and I have managed to commit several small acts of revolution in my daily life. The fine art of managing a PR campaign being one of the more complex orchestrations that I have pulled off in awhile.
Below is a handful of actions to pull off a succesful PR campaign to build support and spread awareness for your cause. This is by no means a complete list, but is meant to be a source of basic ideas to get you started. If you are somebody that is new to the art and science of politics and activism, like myself, then maybe this will show you a few ways to get started.
First you set up your channels of communication…
This is a bit time consuming, but once you’ve done the work you are all set up for success in any future campaigns that you may launch. Assuming that you have an email account with a suitable name setup already (nobody will take you serious with a stupid email name!), begin by creating an email list to distribute your message. Search the websites of:
- local tv
- radio stations
- relevant blogs in your community
- business associations
- political parties
- activist groups
Get on the social media. Utilize it to distribute videos , images and articles you create. I write for the Rapidian (Grand Rapids, MI). but there are a ton of other sites out there will also serve you well. Take the time to set these accounts up, add some intelligent text, photos, and content. Cross-link all of your social media to each other. In short, take the time to make the sites correctly; Nobody will take you seriously with a half-assed profile.
Second, you create some content…
Once you have your email and social media set up, you are ready to shotgun some serious content to the media, fellow activists, or whoever else you need to reach.
Hold an event – Envision and organize a rally, a march, a protest, stage some guerilla theater, lobby your City Council, a prayer vigil, feed the poor, plant a community garden…whatever it is you want to accomplish, symbolically or tangibly, create an action to make something happen.
Make a Flyer – It is preferable to use your own images, or those of friends, or at least stuff licensed under Creative Commons. Add relevant text to the image and distribute online and as printed flyers.
Start a Petition – Get on Change.org or some other site and create a petition. Use your flyer image. Here is one that I created in 2012.
Write an Article – Create an actual article to inform the public of the cause. Include your flyer images, links, petition, or any other original content. Utilize quotes from experts, cite sources. Include the 5W’s of basic journalism, and make sure to spell check/grammar check!
Get interviewed in the newspaper, radio or tv news – Have notes ready! Be ready to talk, and actively steer the conversation to push your agenda. If they aren’t bringing up the questions you want them to, then tell interject your points into the dialogue. Most importantly, don’t kill your message by forgetting key points that you need to make. Here is an example from a recent interview I did on the radio. GRTV hosts this great local IGE Talk Show that several local activist have regularly appeared on. My wife and I have been recognised by complete strangers in public that saw us on the show, so we know that our message is gettting out there.
Make a video – Interviews, coverage of events, a music video, straight up propaganda, whatever you create will be an excellent supplement to the other original content that you create. Videos will be more likely to generate interest in your material, and thus be more likely to get shared with others all over the web.
Write a Press Release email – Include links/attachments/reference to all media and content mentioned above (petitions, flyers, videos, articles). If you have material from other sources that relates to your subject, than include that material as well. Make sure that you give them a few quotes to include in their article.
Make sure you get the 5W’s of basic journalism in there. Its more than the local media will bother to do, so you have to write the story for them. I am not kidding you here.
In 3 recent events that I was the major organizer of, MLive reprinted my entire PR email in one story, and used most of my material as significant portions of their coverage for the other two events. This means that in those 3 articles, I wrote 50% or more of the content. Take advantage of media laziness.
Make sure that you include your contact info in case the media wants to interview you, or if other supporters need to coordinate with you.
Launch the entire package to your media email list. Share it with your activists, supporters, and other organizations as well.
Be Your Own Media – Make sure to document the event, get lots of photos, conduct interviews, capture compelling video, write an article about the event. Use this material to create original content covering your activities. You can’t count on the media to care about your cause, to cover it at all, or to even get the facts straight if they do bother to cover you. Do yourself a favor and be your own media. This will guarantee a minimum amount of favorable coverage.
Distribute your post-event coverage in the same ways that you distributed the pre-event releases. Distribute any material created by others, especially established media outlets.
- Why Brevity in PR Will Get You Noticed (prbreakfastclub.com)
- 99 acts of revolution in 2012; number 1 Winter Biking (analogmutant.wordpress.com)
- New Do-It-Yourself PR Kits Offer Tools that Help Businesses Understand, Develop and Manage Comprehensive PR Campaigns (prweb.com)
- Occupy PR 2012 (prblognews.com)
- Good Writing Remains a Core PR Skill (bjconquest.com)