Challenges abound with ‘thon PR. There are a lot of events, all for good causes and (at least in Narnia, where I live) they tend to occur in a fairly condensed season. Then there’s resources. Traditional media outlets have fewer available to cover soft stories, and bloggers – even big ones – tend to be armies of one.
That said, there are a few really basic things that will help you score media coverage for your ‘thon:
- Develop a typology of media relevant participants and share it between PR and front line staff. Run, walks and rides are about people. Individual participant stories humanize the event and add an angle to media pitches. You need to know who’s participating in your event if you’re going to harvest the best stories. Get your PR person or department to build a list of “ideal participants archetypes” and make sure they share it with front line staff. From there, communicate often.
- Package out your best participant stories to target media as exclusives. Old school, I know. But media don’t want to cover the same thing – even if it is a feel good story about your charity’s Fun Run. Give the most coveted media outlets exclusives on your best participant stories and they’ll LOVE you. Why? Because, though the story will still be about your ‘thon, you’ll have made outlets feel as though they are each getting something special.
- Get visual. You now know that photos and video – not text – are the lingua franca of the web. Pinterest’s user base is growing faster than crack’s did in the mid 80’s. Everyone, including the journos you want to cover your event, loves pics. Before your ‘thons conduct an internal audit of your capacity to produce rich, visual media. Fill in the gaps and be ready to deploy it on event. If press releases for a ‘thon go out without photos and video, you are doing it wrong.
There’s lots more to say on this. For now, here’s the deck I am presenting tomorrow.[slideshare id=12196426&doc=runwalkridefinaldh-120328130333-phpapp01]