Key Elements of a Public Awareness Program – Part 5

Some of tools are at zero or minimal cost to produce, such as your PR calendar, letters the editor, proclamations, fact sheets, news releases, news conferences, pitch letters, media advisories, and your media list.

Others have higher costs, but are still excellent investments: advertising, website, fliers, gift subscriptions to your publication, brochures, and media kit.

In this article we’ll look at two simple tools that are easy to produce and use.

Pitch Letters

A pitch letter is proposed article or story idea that you “pitch” to editors to get them to give you publicity. Editors are not looking for someone to tell them what they should write about, but they are very interested in anything that makes their jobs a little easier.

Since editors are always on the hunt for the latest news and editorial content for their audience, you can help them “find” stories by giving them your ideas. By providing them with a pitch letter, you are in a sense giving them a “map” or an “outline” to a great story that their audience will love.

PR Calendar

Lay out your calendar for the entire year. Based on that calendar, plan your PR calendar.

Let’s say you know that you have a big event every March. The planning for all aspects needs to start much sooner. Plan to start your publicity six months in advance. To do this, you need your materials all in place before you start publicizing. For a March event, you need at a minimum, the following types of entries on your PR calendar.

  • June: begin preparing promotional materials
  • September: start publicizing
  • December: select your celebrity judges, speaker, etc., and publicize their part in your upcoming program.
  • January: determine a newsworthy aspect of your upcoming event and publicize it
  • February: determine another newsworthy aspect and publicize it
  • March: hold event and do an immediate release about the success of the effort. Include the dates for next year’s event.
  • Ongoing: provide information on your website, FaceBook fan page, Tweets, etc.

Do this with each annual event and plot it all on your PR calendar. Your goal is to have one press release going out from your organization every week, so after you have your calendar plotted out for the special events, figure out where you need to plug in more releases and put in a topic to guide you. If it is around some holiday, tie it in with the efforts of your business or organization.

Be sure to keep copies of every bit of promotion that you send out so that it can be easily modified to fit the needs of the following year. In this way, you don’t have to keep “reinventing the wheel.” Make your plan; work your plan; and repeat your plan. In this way you will build public recognition that generates continual interest year round.

Be sure to read this entire series on Creating a Public Awareness Campaign.

Check out the other articles in this series:

What Makes a Story Newsworthy?

Tips on Getting News Coverage

How to Build Media Relationships

How to Write a Press Release