This is a guest post from EmergencyLand.com founder Susan Tellem about promoting your organization’s EMS Week activities. If you want to guest post or review on this blog, check out the guidelines here.
Every day in the US, there are hundreds of special events and occasions that are promoted through the press and social media. While all may not be considered noteworthy or as important as EMS Week – American Idol Dolly Parton Week or National Clean off Your Desk Day, for example – the prize goes to the group that does the best promoting in a strategic way. You don’t have to have a lot of money to gain exposure, just some clever ways to create buzz for your special week.
We have worked on major projects like the Pope’s visit toLos Angelesand the Michael Jackson molestation trial. But we have also directed many tiny projects that no one would have heard about had the organizers not thought about expanding their reach through PR and social media. While we helped these small clients garner some great buzz, you can do the same yourself by following these 10 simple steps.
- Draft a press release. Stick to one page, space and a half, following the who, what, where, why and how rule. There are sample press releases all over the net – Google the word press release and copy the style, but make sure you have someone proof it so that typos and incorrect grammar are fixed. And please – drop that “For Immediate Release” forever.
- If you are doing an media event, write a media advisory – same rules as a press release, but add, date, time, special guests, location, parking, contacts and “visuals” (like an ambulance, patient drills, etc.), especially if you want TV to show up,
- Create a media list. Most PR agencies subscribe to expensive media lists, but you don’t have to. Call your chamber of commerce or your city government offices and ask them for a list. You can also Google your city and “newspapers,” etc. Watch local TV to find reporters that you think might like the story and listen to local radio to do the same.
- Send media information about EMS week in advance – usually 6 – 8 weeks in advance for newspapers, three months for magazines and 1-2 weeks for TV and radio.
- Set up a Facebook page just for the event and start asking friends and family to “like it.” Facebook also has a “causes” section for nonprofits.
- Ask local politicians to attend your event or to support it with a commendation.
- If you have a blog, be sure to start talking up your plans with ways that people can participate. Write a “Ten Tips” blog on how to observe the week or ways to stay safe.
- If you have a local celebrity – this can be anyone from a real celebrity who grew up in your town to a sports star from the local college – ask them to help promote the week by speaking to local media or making guest appearances at events around town handing out materials about the week.
- Draft a fact sheet about what EMS week means and why people should care. Put it at city hall and the library – places where people converge.
- Set up a table or get a booth at a local farmer’s market, church, shopping mall or wherever crowds gather and tell people about the week and what they can do o help. Make sure that you have someone take a photo of you and your team at the event or distributing flyers so that you can send it to the local newspaper to get some coverage about the importance of EMS week.
Susan M. Tellem, APR, RN is a partner with Tellem Grody Public Relations, Inc. (www.tellemgrodypr.com), a public relations, marketing and social media agency. Tellem is a registered nurse (retired); Los Angeles Police Department Reserve Officer Specialist (retired); a member of Malibu’s Community Emergency Response Team; and Malibu Public Safety Commissioner. With public safety as a major avocation, Tellem launched www.emergencyland.com in 2010 to act as a clearinghouse for the public and first responders of timely public health and safety information. Follow her on Twitter @susantellem and @emergencyland.