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Generating local publicity

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  • BIG has a legal requirement to announce all grants made - as a public grant-making body our records need to transparent and every grant that we make goes onto our website and the DCMS website available for pubic to see   Most grants are announced in our press releases. If you’ve seen our grant offer letters you probably would have seen the embargo dates for making the information public The embargo dates are usually about 4 weeks after the committee meeting. The delay is because we can only announce the grants that have been formally accepted and sometimes, e.g: when a key person at the organisation is on holidays, there is a delay in response and the press team needs time to draft the releases Once the grant has been announced, it is over to you to continue with the publicity
  • Idea is to give you the basic tools needed to promote yourselves, not only with press but to key stakeholders too, including other funders For example, to raise awareness about their organisation and the work they do; to become visible in the local community All England-wide media work is carried out by the Big Lottery Fund’s corporate press team based in London
  • Have an idea of what you want to say about your project, who you want to say it to and ideally when you want to say it For example – grand opening of disabled loo. Where it is, time, date etc, how much awarded – sex up! In trying to do this ideally you want to have three key messages about your project that you will be able to get across succinctly but be able to elaborate on if asked and provide examples to bolster your point if needed. Prepare some Q& As about your project for you to use if asked – think about the sort of questions you might get asked about your project – including the difficult ones! Do your research - think about the wider context of your project –for instance how your project benefits the wider community not just the direct beneficiaries; How is your project perceived by the community, how your project might relate to the current news agenda, what other groups in the area might be doing and if there is any overlap with your project. Journalists may want to see how they can link your project into other news or may have their own agenda for a news story so the more you know the better prepared you will be. Knebworth – chatting to one of the childminders I discovered she’d been a pupil – there’s your story! What topics/news is hot at the moment – themes, issues, debates How is your organisation viewed by your different stakeholders?
  • Try to identify and remember the key writers, people who have particular interests in the fields that you are working in, get to know their agendas. By linking your story to what they want to write about you can get yourself noticed   Build up your contacts. Provide them with good reliable stories on deadline and you can become a first point of contact, an expert in the field if you want   Journalists are on a deadline, which is why they always go to their sources first when researching a piece   Also another key word here is – Context! No use giving even good information to someone without making it clear why this information is important   Just because you work in you field and some things are obvious to you, don’t assume they are obvious to everyone else. Journalists sometimes need things spelling out to them and they have a short attention span so present information to them accordingly   Journalists are your ways of getting the message out – your get the journalist - you get their audiences Journalists are lazy – love their work being done for them and why not? You are the experts of your project.
  • What’s hot: Xfactor, soaps, Olympics, Springwatch, Look for a hook.
  • Exclusivity - (but it has to be real) – if exclusive is broken give the journalist a call; they hate make believe exclusives Clarity - firstly, have something to say - if you are not clear yourself about what message you want to get across then don’t so it. It is better not to say anything then say something that doesn’t make sense. Examples – journalists love case studies or real life stories as it brings the story to life and helps them to visualise the sort of story they can write. They like to see a journey - whether it is making a difference to a community or changing an environment – they want to see examples to bring the story to life. Key facts are always good to have to hand about the project – for example - how many people use the service – how many more you will be able to reach because of the grant, what the funding will actually be spent on, the types of people benefiting from the project – eg young or old SEXY STATS!! Human interest angles – all stories are about people at the end of the day and that is what journalists are interested in – they want to know how your project has changed someone’s life and they would probably like to speak to that person so make sure if you have an ‘example‘ person that they are happy to talk to the press. Contacts – make sure you provide contact details of the key people involved in the project that are ahppy to talk to journalists and are available. Prep any people you put as contacts.
  • Think about the key information that the journalist will need to know including your key messages Information that will give them a rounded and clear understanding of what the organisation/project is about Case studies and real life examples of the benefits of the project are always good A spokesperson doesn’t have to be the head of the organisation – just the best person for the job. Sometimes this can be a project user Distribute example of Forces in Mind Q & A’s
  • The most traditional pro-active media tool is press release And of course when referring to BIG, please do so as detailed in your guidance packs!
  • Headline important to grab journalists attention but they will often make up their own for the one that goes to print – they know what will grab their readers attention – think of some of the classic red-top headlines! Opening para’s – present the most important info first – when, who, what, where, why, how Journalists might not read the whole press release – they will often read the first few sentences to see if it’s worth reading the wyhole thing – make sure you include all the most important info in the first paras, in order of importance Keep in concise and accessible: don’t use flowery language, acronyms or anything that they are not going to understand Upside down pyramid – important stuff first!
  • Keep sentences short – 15-20 words, be punchy, mix up short with longer ones, break up too many long sentences
  • Use headed paper if possible to reinforce your brand: logo, recognition Embargo: for date sensitive information, eg: findings of a report Want to give journalists time to write the story and find out necessary background info but not to print it until after a certain date Quotes bring a story to life – as already mentioned Check: spelling, grammar, quoted sources…. Photos – add colour, a focal point Statistics (that can be backed up) are also useful in context, but keep them simple and relevant Proof read (example of annual review!)
  • To sum up on proactive work:  Build you relationship with the press Know the news agenda Know the context in which your organisation is perceived Know what other groups are doing in the field Have information readily available for journalists, if they request it Use case studies Have a picture database if need be Identify your spokesperson – it doesn’t necessarily have to be the head of the organisation Return their calls When sending out press releases, especially about events – follow up with calls Proactively contact journalists if you think there is something you can add to their news agenda Update your website, if you have one Don’t be afraid to use your contacts SHOW EXAMPLES OF PRESS RELEASES – LOOK AT: WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHY, HOW BREAK FOLLOWED BY P.R EXERCISE
  • Reactive media: When approached by the media directly – caution is the word. Before opening your heart to them – ask their motives. More then likely it will be innocent. But you never know If you know you’ve just sent a press release out, then it’s more likely to be a follow up call. If it’s a cold call – think twice    
  • Context - you are within your right to ask for a context of their enquiry: What publication is it for (sometimes local hacks freelance for big players, sometimes they want to freelance for big players so they’ve done their research and now looking for a victim)? When is it for? Angle of the story?   
  • Exercise judgement - You need to make a judgement as well; if they ask you difficult questions – then maybe you shouldn’t be too open   Questions about BIG - refer them to back to Big Lottery Fund press office – 020 7211 1888
  • Lottery Funding is an extremely political issue. BIG press team has the capacity and experience to deal with difficult stories, so any difficult questions about our funded projects or us let us know   At the same time, don’t forget nearly 90 per cent of all coverage we receive is positive
  • Transcript

    • 1. Tell your story: PR on a shoestringGenerating local publicity...Communications TeamEast of England26th September 2012
    • 2. Generating local publicity•All grants awarded aremade public (press release,BIG and DCMS website)•BIG sets embargo date•National and regionalmedia alerted•Then it’s up to you! Buttoday should help ...
    • 3. Background - generating local publicity•After the embargo date its up to projects to generate theirlocal publicity•BIG doesn’t have the resources to promote each project soamount of local media work is limited•Therefore, we need you to shout about your project andthe wider work you do – BIG encourages grant holders topromote themselves and their BIG funded project
    • 4. Generating local publicity - proactiveworkBefore you start•Have a plan•Three key messages•Q&A’s•Research your environment
    • 5. Generating local publicityproactive workKnow your local media•Newspapers, magazines, radio, television, internet,including student or community-based stations•Read the publication, watch or listen to programmes•Identify key contacts•Find out their deadlines for news stories (could bedifferent for different sections of the paper)•Use the internet to find out your local newspapers – eg:www.newspapersoc.org.uk
    • 6. Generating local publicity - proactivework Journalists are looking for –•News - a fact or event that hasn’t been made public before•News comment or feature – putting events into context,letters•Features – in-depth coverage of events or trends•Diary pieces – entertainment, possibly a charity event
    • 7. Generating local publicity - proactiveworkJournalists are interested in•Exclusivity•Clarity•Examples•Facts/ideas•Human interest angles•Contacts
    • 8. Generating local publicity - proactiveworkAlways have readily available•Updated key facts and figures about your project•Case studies with contact details•Spokespeople available for interviews•Contact details for key members of your organisation
    • 9. Generating local publicity - proactiveworkPress releases – a key media tool•Make sure you have something to say•Answer the question – “Will the readers you are trying toreach be interested in your information?”•If you cannot say “YES” – rethink
    • 10. Generating local publicity - proactiveworkPlanning a press release•Identify your story•Find a hook – is there something topical you could linkyour PR to give it a stronger chance of making the news?•Have a clear message (when planning try to put it in 2short sentences)•Consider availability of case studies and images•Identify and brief your spokespeople•Obtain quotes from key spokespeople to include•Alert all relevant team members about your plans
    • 11. Generating local publicity - proactiveworkWriting a press release•Grab attention with a headline and first paragraph – keepit simple•Concentrate on what your news is and put it in the firstparagraph of the release, don’t bury it in the lastparagraph!•Subsequent paragraphs should be in order of priority•Include what, when, where, why, who, how•Be concise
    • 12. Generating local publicity - proactiveworkWriting a press release•Keep sentences short•Make it relevant and timely – use present/future tense•Keep adjectives to the minimum (you can use more inquotes)•Keep it to 2/3 pages maximum•Don’t use unproven facts (be ready to back your statistics)
    • 13. Generating local publicity - proactiveworkWriting a press release•Use headed paper•Clearly mark ‘News Release’ at the top of the page•Add date and embargo date, or ‘For immediate release’•Include your name, telephone (including an out-of-hoursnumber), email address at the bottom of release•Include Notes To Editors at the end - gives background infoon the organisation and any useful additional info•Don’t forget to credit Big Lottery Fund if appropriate
    • 14. Generating local publicity - proactiveworkSending out your release•Check how journalist would like to receive it – fax, post,email•Follow up your release with a phone call•If you are holding an event, ask if they will send aphotographer (remember to provide them with photoopportunities if you want a photographer to attend)•Make sure someone is available to answer questions on theday. This should ideally be your media spokesperson
    • 15. Generating local publicity - Reactivework•When approached by the media consider the possiblereasons for the enquiry•Is it a cold call or is it a follow up to your publicity work?
    • 16. Generating local publicity - ReactiveworkWhen approached find out:•Context of the enquiry•Nature of the enquiry – is the journalist contacting anyoneelse for comment? If so, what are they saying?•Name of the publication•Name and contact details for the journalist•Deadline for information
    • 17. Generating local publicity - ReactiveworkAction planExercise judgement – don’t open up too muchAlert all relevant members of your organisationAgree and disseminate lines to take to all yourspokespeopleOffer to supply statement in writing – it’s harder to takewords out of contextExercise you right of reply, if the informationprinted/broadcast by the journalist is factually incorrect
    • 18. Generating local publicityreactive work•If an enquiry relates more to Big Lottery Fund than yourgrant•Make sure that you pass the details to the Big Lottery FundOfficer asap!!•020 7211 1888 or out of hours 07867 500 572
    • 19. Generating local publicity Press release exercise