Reaching out to help the local community is a great way to create a positive public relations campaign in the media. Besides being a good thing to do, this will also create some much-desired links, including those from government sites.
To illustrate this, here's an idea just about any business could use. First, pay attention to your local news about budget cuts to local agencies. Look for those that are already creating human interest stories, such as fire department budget cuts, closings, or layoffs throughout the nation.
Create positive news on these negative events. This could be as simple as making a noticeable donation for something very specific, like food supplies to the fire department station. That turns it into a human interest story that local and regional media are eager to promote.
Once it makes it into the media, online media and bloggers will report on it, and word will spread via social media.
Don't Go It Alone
Results can be improved by teaming up with a grocery store chain or warehouse club. Get them to match your donations. Larger grocery chains and warehouse clubs have specific budgets for outreach. They have a PR team in place, and already have established relationships with local and regional media. This is invaluable in ensuring media attention.
Larger dollar amounts will gain more media attention. A $2,000 donation in food supplies sounds a lot better than a $1,000. A $10,000 donation sounds better than $5,000.
Of course, it doesn't cost the store that much once you factor in their cost of goods. That makes convincing them to match your amount a lot easier.
A popular politician can boost your PR campaigns to a whole new level. Turn this into a city event with the mayor or congressperson at the presentation. They can use your company as an example of community members helping each other. Plus, they find photographic opportunities like this irresistible.
Politicians have their own PR people. Let it benefit your campaign. Consider it a stimulus program for the resourceful.
This extra publicity by the politician's office will provide wider exposure for your story. Plus, it will get you links from government sites!
Being successful in community public relations is all about leveraging your assets. Teaming up with a grocery store and getting prominent politicians increases the chances of success. They add credibility and exposure to your campaign because they already have the publicity machine in place.
Start-ups & Small Business Strategies
Of course, not every business is in a position to make a noticeable contribution that would warrant the attention of a large grocery chain or an important politician. That's when you turn to your smaller nonprofits and community organizers in the area. Find out what they need that could turn into a human interest story.
Get creative. Is there an after-school program that has no or few computers? Donate some of your old computers. They're just sitting there collecting dust. Or buy some off-lease computers to donate. There is a digital divide facing the world, including the United States and United Kingdom
If you're in the apparel industry, consider donating returned items to a shelter, or a group like Dress for Success. Sell high-end items? Donate slightly damaged or overstock items for the nonprofit to auction off.
Even those on a small budget can get involved in community outreach. Just remember to promote the campaign to the media and try to leverage all of your assets.
While a small nonprofit probably doesn't have a PR person, they often have great contacts! Figure out a way to leverage their contacts.
Helping the local community in times of budget cuts can help build your brand and links at the same time. The key is to find human interest stories and a way to help.