One of my favorite PR campaigns was when I was working at a local TV station. We were launching a new reality show that, at the time, was new territory for us. I remember how excited I was about the show but also because I was brought in during the initial planning stages so that I could proactively contribute from a PR perspective, rather than a reactionary one.
The show was a contest that began with an open audition, that through public voting, was narrowed to ten contestants. These ten contestants were pitted against one another through a series of talent and self promotional activities. The winner received their own TV show for one season. As the show progressed, the ten were slowly eliminated to the final three. The winner was decided through a combination of judging and online viewer voting. And this was just as marketing through Facebook and Twitter was starting to take off!
On the PR side of things, because this show was new to our market, it was easy to generate some buzz. Our two major dailies picked up the story and I engaged our audiences through our website, Tweets and Facebook updates. The other thing I did that in my mind made the difference in the sheer amount of earned media we received was to engage the community newspapers in each of the areas where our contestants lived. I’d send each paper a target media releases immediately following each show, providing an update on the contestant in their coverage area. I made sure it was easy for them by also providing stills from the most recent show. To compliment this, we ran a guerrilla campaign postering the downtown core and local universities. We organized publicity stunts and photo ops. Basically we had fun with it.
When typically running campaigns, we place a lot of value on getting hits in the dailies and we forget about the smaller publications. Publications, such as community newspapers, are always looking for content relevant to their coverage area. By engaging them from the start, we achieved an unprecedented amount of earned media.
After all, that’s the goal right?