How to Use PR to Tell Your Story

If you are a nonprofit, you should consider using PR to tell your story. The importance of effective communication and messaging has never been more essential. Also, it doesn’t cost too much to have a great Public Relations strategy, something all nonprofit marketers both love and need! Public relations builds your nonprofit’s credibility and can help you promote the mission of your nonprofit and the work you do.

It is critical to have a solid PR strategy to help you send the right message, create a stronger brand reputation, and increase your influence in your community.

5 Ways to Make your PR Strategy Work for You

1. Use Your Organization’s Marketing, Sales, and Development Goals to Guide Your PR Strategy

As nonprofit marketers, we know how time and money are resources that can be in short supply. In order to achieve your mission, goals, and objectives you need to make sure your team is on the same page and ready to amplify each other’s efforts. The first step of building a public relations strategy that helps tell your story is make sure you are aligning all of your efforts with your marketing, sales, and development team.

Take time to meet with your team or departments to discuss their goals for the month and the upcoming year. Ask if they have any upcoming events or programs that they would like featured. Inquire about their objectives and how you can use PR to help with brand awareness or storytelling.

This is a critical first step as you build your PR strategy. Gather feel-good stories about clients you have worked with, data about your programs, and ideas from your team. Take time to map out upcoming national holidays, awareness months, or weeks that you could tie into. For example, if your nonprofit works with Veterans, think about how you could use Veterans Day as a way to share your message.

2. Develop a PR Plan and Schedule

After you gather input from your team, it is time to craft your PR plan. A PR plan is a document that outlines how you will communicate your organization’s mission, news, and updates with outside stakeholders.

Break your PR plan down to a monthly schedule and map out potential story ideas. Start defining monthly goals for your PR efforts. For example, set a goal for yourself to publish one press release a month.

As you build your monthly schedule, be mindful of documenting your key messages for each communication, your target audience, and what content type you will use. Content can range from a formal press release, a media alert, pitch to a reporter, or a social media post.

3. Build Relationships in the Community

As you develop your PR plan and start experimenting with different strategies, it is important to build relationships with media and influencers. Reach out to local reporters and introduce yourself, your mission, and why you admire their work. Relationships are huge as you develop your public relations strategy and look to build an effective strategy.

It is becoming increasingly important to consider social media influencers, bloggers, and content creators in your PR strategy. Think of fun, unexpected ways you can involve them in your marketing efforts. Is there a volunteer experience you can invite them to or a panel they can speak on for an upcoming conference? Find ways to authentically engage with influencers in your social space to see what impact and outreach you can make in the community.

4. Customize Your Pitch

When sending out story ideas to local media (and influencers) it is important to make your pitch as customized as possible. By tailoring each email communication to what the reporter is interested in can pay off tenfold. Remember, reporters get hundreds of pitches each day. What can you do to stand out?

Steal our pitch template:

<Insert Name>,

I’m <name, title> at <company>, <quick description of company>. I saw your piece about <insert related topic> and I thought this recent announcement may be of interest to you.

<a couple of highlights from your pitch or release>.

I would love to <set up an interview, provide more information, <etc>.

5. Be Patient

Now, be patient and keep chugging along with your goals! Don’t expect an overnight success, but continue to put out great content and newsworthy stories. The work nonprofits do for our communities are critical, so don’t be afraid to spread the good news! While every pitch or press release you send may not get picked up, you are planting the seeds for your brand.

Go forth and tell great stories!

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