It's not writing a press release, it's creating content. And spotting stories to tell as this charity comms case study demonstrates brilliantly.
by Will Barker
Being part of a communications team for a charity in Wales can be difficult at times. Let’s be honest, being part of a communications team for any charity in the UK can be difficult.
We’ve all got great reasons to shout about the work we do and brilliant, inspiring stories to tell, but we don’t always have enough people to tell it to. More and more we are creating our own content and using our own channels as news sources to reach the people that matter to us, it’s not often that you get the opportunity to do both.
Using our social media channels at Tenovus to compliment traditional press has been a part of our strategy for the past 12 months. This obviously fluctuates with each campaign, but at the very least we share online stories and compliment them with extra content.
When we saw the Carmarthen Journal start to use the hashtag #LifeinCarm to get the thoughts of people in the local community, we thought this was the perfect opportunity for us to use our social media channel as the driver for some traditional press coverage, so we floated the idea of hijacking the hashtag to give a behind the scenes look at our Sing with Us choir project, which has a choir based in Carmarthen (as well as all across Wales).
We planned our content with a mix of insights to a day in the life of a choir leader, linking with our other services and presence in the community like our charity shop and messages about our choir, how to sign up and the type of people it supports, as well as a bit of extra content that had worked well in the past weeks to reach a new audience. We had some great interaction and engagement across the day and the hashtag had a potential reach of 34,000 and impressions of over 200,000.
Not only this, we also secured a nice write up in the following week’s paper, which we accompanied with a Storify round up of the day for people to catch up on.
We saw this as a great opportunity to show our presence in the local community and promote one of our services, in a new, fun and different way than a traditional press release, using what we’re good at and our own channels to take control of our message and what we wanted to get across, in an engaging way.
This is definitely something we’d like to do a lot more of and see local papers around the country opening this up as an option. We see it as a great way for local papers to gather local information from the people that matter to them, and it’s a great way for us to engage with an audience that matters to us, on a platform that suits everyone.
What do you think? Is your charity using social media to drive your traditional press coverage? Or do you think this isn’t the way to go? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Will Barker is pr and digital officer at Tenovous. He also blogs here.