The backbone of the March for Meals campaign is effective leveraging of local press and social media. Below we've provided you with two valuable tools for building your exposure during March. First, the comprehensive handbook, and second, a series of tools you can use to support your efforts.
PUBLIC RELATIONS HANDBOOK
In the handbook that follows, we've included information, tips and tools to help you successfully get the word out about your March for Meals involvement.
SECTION 1: GETTING THE MEDIA TO COVER YOUR CAMPAIGN
Armed with some basics, even a program with little media experience can effectively get the coverage it needs to reach its full potential. We’ve provided some media tools, such as publicity templates and PSAs (coming soon!) to make this easier for you. As with the rest of the campaign, the key is to break tasks down into small, manageable pieces.
- Familiarize yourself with which outlets, reporters or writers in your community that would be a good fit for a story on senior hunger, the national March for Meals movement and/or prominent community figures who give back.
- Create a list of local media outlets and the appropriate contact information. Include television, radio, magazine, newspaper and even Internet media outlets.
- Know and practice the answers to some important questions before you pitch your issue or event. The media will want to know things like how many clients you serve, why senior hunger and isolation need the community’s attention, if any community figures or celebrities are associated with the campaign, and whether there will be scheduled events with photo or interview opportunities.
- Brainstorm with your March for Meals committee and identify components of your campaign that may interest the media. Is there a one-day event that could provide great photo opportunities? Is your mayor or a local football star delivering meals during Community Champions Week? Can you get a local celebrity to attend one of your events or have you planned a kick-off ceremony to interest the media?
- Create a media plan with a task list and timeline using your newsworthy media stories and the provided PSAs (coming soon) and publicity templates. Include when and how you will contact the media.
- Send press releases to outlets on your media list timed with your events and their deadlines. Most journalists prefer email, but it can be helpful to follow up on the phone as well. Keep publication deadlines in mind. Weekly publications have a deadline day (usually the day before they go to print); daily publications have a time of day (usually toward the end of the previous day).
- Send the March for Meals radio PSA (coming soon) to radio outlets with information on how running it in March in conjunction with the campaign will benefit the seniors in your community.
- When members of the press show up at your events, be sure to write down their names, outlets they represent and contact information so that you can follow up with thanks and more information. It's also a great way to begin fostering a relationship that will continue after March for Meals is over.
- Keep a record of your media placements and repurpose them. Keep copies or links of all print clips and recordings of all radio and television pieces. Post media coverage on your website, include them in your newsletters and link to them on social media.
SECTION 2: WHAT IS "NEWSWORTHY?"
Your job is to make your events compelling, interesting and appealing to your community. People want to read about things that affect their lives and are unique or new. The more people who are affected by the story or event, the more interesting it will be to journalists and their audiences.
Some things to focus on:
- Timeliness. Journalists want to report on news that has recently happened or is about to happen. The more time that passes after an event, the less newsworthy it becomes. Ideally, let the media know about an event before it happens so that they can be there to cover it while it is occurring.
- The human-interest angle. Try to arrange for media to interview someone who receives meals from your program or a volunteer or corporate sponsor.
- Spokespeople of authority or notoriety. Select spokespeople who are well known, articulate and comfortable with public speaking, such as the Mayor or a local celebrity.
- Sound bites and headlines. Create powerful, short descriptions and brief headlines to describe your program and activities that will grab the audience’s attention. These powerful sound bites can be a great way to build support and motivate action.
SECTION 3: SOCIAL MEDIA TIPS
One of the best and easiest ways you can highlight your community's participation during the campaign is by showcasing it on social media. Social media allows you to share events, information and interactions while raising overall awareness for your program. And, unlike traditional media, you have the power to control your message. First Things First:
- It's important to "like" Meals on Wheels America on Facebook and also follow us on both Twitter and Instagram. If you connect with us in this way, we'll share, retweet and engage right back so that your program’s voice is amplified even louder. The more you include us in your outreach, the more opportunities for us to retweet, share or engage in conversation.
- When posting on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram about this campaign, be sure to include #MarchforMeals. This way, anyone (media, local leaders, volunteers, etc.) interested in March for Meals will be able to find your post promoting your activity.
- Tease, promote or recap your March for Meals and/or Community Champions Week event(s).
- Share videos on YouTube of Community Champions delivering or serving meals, a March for Meals event in your community or volunteers sharing why they love being involved with your program. Smart phones make this easier than ever!
- Live-Tweet your events, ride-alongs, etc.
- Post pictures of your events, clients or volunteers.
- Leverage the reach Community Champions have on Twitter and ask them to live tweet their deliveries.
- Link to any news coverage you get throughout the campaign across all social media.
- Ask your supporters why they #MarchforMeals.
Additional Social Media Resources:
We've created a #MarchforMeals Social Media Resources page within the Local Programs Toolkit to support you in all of your digital outreach. It includes:
- General Social Media Information – Connect to the suggested March for Meals hashtags and Meals on Wheels America platforms.
- Cover and Profile Images – Show off your March for Meals pride throughout the entire month by swapping out your program's cover image and profile photo.
- March for Meals Social Media Image Library – Download a complete library of March for Meals images sized specifically for posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with just one click.
- Suggested Posts and Examples – Copy and paste our content suggestions or use these examples to gets your creative juices flowing.
- Easy Upload Instructions – Review the step-by-step instructions for changing your cover and profiles images, and including the March for Meals images in your social posts.
ACCESS THESE SOCIAL MEDIA RESOURCES NOW