Hand Shake photo courtesy of Microsoft Photo File
Two weeks ago our county successfully wrapped up another year for our Relay For Life campaign by hosting the 2012 Relay For Life Sponsorship Luncheon to thank our wonderful sponsors that donated time and money for cancer research and awareness. I was honored to be the 2012 Chairperson for the event and quite frankly am exhausted but very proud of our accomplishments. Our Relay For Life event was held in July one of the hottest months on record yet we managed to raise over $44,000 for our local American Cancer Society chapter. How did we do it? I have put together some researched factors along with my own strategies that hopefully you will find important when running a marketing campaign for your event. No matter how big or small you must follow these elements to build a strong PR campaign for your event.
First key factor is knowing your audience. Of course our audience is current cancer patients, cancer survivors and caregivers of cancer patients. In the county I live in this can include almost everyone I know in one way or another. We have five cancer treatment centers, 2 major hospitals and various ocologists in the county working dilegently to treat cancer patience in the area.
Make it personal. Be sure when targeting your audience you are conveying your message by sharing a personal story or connection to bring your audience something personal that they can connect with. I wrote about my best friend passing away of lung cancer last year. This showed my compassion and personal connection of why I want to stomp out cancer and raise awareness.
Choose your media. There are many tools that can assist you in this area. Utilize the local news stations, newspaper, radio, and all social media outlets such as Twitter, Facebook, Google + and more.
Be trustworthy and honest. Your audience will respect you if you are upfront and honest with what message you are trying to get out there. Stay consistent with your values. Research is key and stay on task with what you are presenting. A helpful insight to these points can be found at 10 Key Elements of Effective Public Relations Campaigns and Bonus Download by Caroline Jaffe-Pickett. Caroline was most helpful to me when I was running our 2012 Relay For Life campaign.
Stay positive and do your research. You can do it!
Research picture provided by The Solo Guide
Great question don’t you think? When I first learned that we will be creating a blog in my Introduction to Public Relations class I was stoked to say the least. This was going to be my outlet for my thoughts, feelings and my own creative take on the world! But I soon found out that to properly post information that others are going to read, it really must be honest, true and properly researched first, not just my own perspectives on things. Well this just took the air out of my tires if you know what I mean but I understand why.
One day I hope to be working in the profession of public relations so I must learn the importance of research now. Some PR practitioners credit communication and strategy as the most valuable skills in their field. You cannot put those skills to good use without a foundation of research and information gathering. I will need a strong foundation to start from, a building block if you will so I must properly research my client, target audience or whomever I am trying to reach before posting my blog. Not only will I need to research my audience but the content of my blog must contact facts and site appropriate linked information.
According to an article I read posted from PRFriend on the importance of research stated there are various types of research involved in PR, such as market research, industry research, news tracking, and competitive analysis. Each project requires different research methods, but one thing is constant: all PR projects involve research to some extent. Some ways that research can help improve PR practice is to know your client, find your market, choose your media and make your pitch. Sounds easy but there is so much that goes into it that is very time consuming. Stay patient as research is extremely important to the livelihood of the message or product you are trying to promote.
I volunteer for a nonprofit called Downtown Terre Haute, Inc. (DTH) which was established to preserve, create and promote a downtown neighborhood that is a vibrant hub for business, entertainment, government, arts and educational activity, attracting both local residents and area visitors to the downtown Terre Haute area. A recent website called Choosedowntown.com was launched in 2011 from what had started as a group of students from a marketing class at Indiana State University conducting a research study for DTH to find out how many people lived within a 100 mile radius to Terre Haute to assist the nonprofit with better promoting businesses within the Downtown Terre Haute area. Their results provided insight on their audience that could be potential customers to the local markets. This information gathered to further help establish future businesses to the area as well.
All research no matter how big or small is extremely vital to public relations. Good luck with your research!
Picture via Twitter.com
How can nonprofits, or anyone in that matter, gather more Twitter followers when there are literally millions of people who are Tweeting everyday about everything under the sun? When pondering over this question I simply asked my teenage daughter how she gains followers on Twitter. Her simplistic answer, “just ask them to follow you in your bio and they will”, made me realize I was making this challenge harder than it really is. It is extremely competitive within the social media aspects but I am going to take a different way of looking at how we can get new Tweets and not get overwhelmed.
I went searching on the internet for great advice and found sites and blogs that offered ideas such as the site by James Blute featuring 7 Twitter Marketing Tips. His insight was helpful and for a newcomer to the social media world I really appreciated his easy to follow tips.
Basically I had to start really thinking about the audience I want to attract to my cause. In my case, I am extremely new to Twitter but since I am a passionate cancer awareness advocate and want to get the word out to as many people I can in a very short period of time, I needed to learn how to Tweet and wanted to gain as many followers as possible to start. So to get followers you must follow others that are in the same field/cause you are in.
Start by doing a search in Twitter using target words that are in your cause that you feel your audience will be following. Do your homework and really read over their bios, look at what others are Tweeting about and if you like what you see then start following them. Sometimes if you Retweet something you have the chance of gaining them as a follower in the future. Some view it as a form of flattery and will appreciate the Retweet. It’s kind of like an “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine” scenario and we really need to tap into it especially in the nonprofit realm.
Another way to gain followers is to use the pound symbol (#) Twitter calls the hash tag. This will tag the word you pair it with and when others (like yourself in the beginning) are searching for target words they will find your Tweets and could possibly start following you. It’s really that simple. There are many ways to gather new followers such as noted in this great blog I found at 20 Social Media Resources For Nonprofits posted by Kris Putnam-Walkerly. It not only helped me find more resources, but it gave me great ideas on how to gain more followers on Twitter, gave me a list of people/groups that I should be following as well and helpful hints on using more social media that I have never thought about using before.
The world is out there waiting for you to grab it, you just have to ask yourself if you are going to be the first to hook or cast. Get to Tweeting my friends!
I was blessed yesterday to have the opportunity to say goodbye to my little “bro” Pooky before he went to doggie Heaven. My parents got him after years of having that empty nest feeling when me and my sis moved out of their house. He was an awesome little guy for sure. Pooky provided love, companionship and comfort to them while they both fought their cancer battles throughout the years. He loved to camp and go for his evening stroll through the neighboorhood which was very therapeutic for my dad as well as they were two peas in a pod. Pooky was the son my dad never had.
Pooky, you will be missed but will absolutely never be forgotten. The unconditional love you gave mom and dad for the past 14 years was very special. Thanks for being the best little bro a big sis could ever ask for. I love you!
I love modern technology! Having just over 160 birthday well wishes on Facebook just floors me. I am still very new in the social media world other than FB so this is all so overwhelming but wonderful at the same time. In my blogs you will learn that I love to advocate cancer awareness so hear it goes: Did you know that Sept is Childhood Cancer Awareness month, National Ovarian Cancer Awareness month, Thyroid Cancer Awareness month, Prostate Cancer Awareness month and Gynecologic Cancer Awareness month??? Well you do now. Please go to www.cancer.org to learn of these types of cancer and how you can avoid them! Take care of yourselves!