Engaging with the media (Part Two: Press releases)

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Having covered some of the basics of engaging with the media in a previous post, we are now going to look in more detail at how to write, format and deliver a press release.

As a communications professional, it’s your job to make life as easy as possible for the journalist covering your story. When you are placing a story about an event, report or anything else with a lot of details involved, a useful way of getting all the necessary information in one place is to issue a press release.

Press releases are standard in the media although they can seem daunting if you’ve never written one. To get you started, here are five steps to make your press releases more effective.

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Engaging with the media (Part One: The Basics)

newspaper

The relationship between third sector organisations and the media is changing. Communicating with people about your organisation has never been easier – with your website, social media accounts and other ‘owned channels’ you have the tools to reach hundreds or even thousands of people at your fingertips, without ever crossing paths with a traditional journalist.

However, getting positive media coverage remains a hugely powerful way of reaching new audiences, building your reputation and strengthening your brand. Many third sector organisations don’t know where to start with getting the media interested in their stories, so they abandon PR altogether. Others try, but with badly-written, poorly-targeted efforts, getting discouraged when they don’t see results. Either way, they miss out on a hugely valuable communications tool.

To develop a PR stand in your comms strategy, you just need to plan carefully and know some of the basics. To get you started, here are five essential steps to engaging with the media.

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Creating case studies

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It’s one of the most common communications mistakes made by third sector organisations. When describing what they do, they focus on either their inputs (the resources they have spent doing their work) or their outputs (the actual work they have done), rather than their impact – i.e. what has changed as a result of their work.

But showing the impact of your work is crucial – this is what funders, supporters and potential service users all want to see, and it’s what makes people remember you.

One of the best and simplest ways of showing your impact is by producing compelling case studies.

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The real benefits of returning to work after having a baby

Screaming baby

Much is written about the dilemma of returning to work once you have a baby. Will you be able to afford the childcare? Will you be able to arrange flexible working hours to suit your family? Will your child grow up to be Norman Bates because you are not giving them your undivided attention 24 hours a day?

All valid questions indeed. However, as a female human who has recently spawned offspring and now finds herself returning work, I feel that not enough has been written about the real benefits of doing so.

I’m not talking about the financial benefits here, or even the benefits of your child growing up knowing that Mummy is more than just a combined feeding/cleaning unit whose consumption of vast amounts of Dairy Milk is likely keeping Cadbury’s solvent – I’m talking about the benefits that you only realise exist (or at least, are only willing to believe exist) once you are in this situation.

So in order to tip the balance back towards truth, here are my top five benefits of returning to work after having a baby. Continue reading

Alone together: How Britain is finally waking up to the problem of elderly loneliness

lonely elderlyWe humans are social animals, and however much we might all enjoy a bit of peace and quiet from time to time, the gnawing pain of being truly, perpetually lonely is one of the most destructive experiences we can face as a species.

So it’s a shocking truth that one of the most vulnerable groups of people in our society today is also statistically the loneliest: the elderly. Research has shown that between 6% and 13% of over-65s say they feel ‘always or very lonely’, which equates to around 860,000 people in England alone. Continue reading