Content is king, they say, but to ensure the success of a PR campaign, it must go hand in hand with a targeted and strategic approach.
This was evident earlier this month when we were asked by Smokefree South West to launch the UK’s first public voluntary smokefree zones, alongside its regional Be There Tomorrow smoking reduction campaign.
To personalise the Be There Tomorrow campaign, Smokefree South West had found a very strong story of an ex-smoker, Kirsty Vass who was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) aged just 33, after one of her lungs collapsed because of her smoking habit.
We decided the best way to attract national interest would be to link the human interest angle of Kirsty’s story with the launch of the public smokefree zone. Rather than send out a blanket press release, we pitched the story in advance to specific national journalists who had covered stories about smoking issues, as well as the Press Association, to ensure the story would reach all the main news desks.
To secure broadcast coverage, we took a two-pronged approach, targeting both regional and national news and planning desks, which ensured planners and producers across the board were sharing the story and the range of content we had to offer.
Now in its second year, we also needed to find a fresh news angle for the Be There Tomorrow smoking reduction campaign, which reminds smokers that one in two will die from the habit. To do this, we commissioned a survey to tease out the impact of smokers’ habits on their loved ones and used local and regional statistics, alongside case studies, to make the story relevant to the media across the region.
It’s safe to say that our resulting media campaign proved to be a resounding success with 200 separate appearances across national and regional outlets. Blanket coverage of the smokefree pilot across the national media included BBC News at 6, ITV News, Sky News, Radio 5 Live, the Daily Mail, Mail Online, The Guardian, The Sun and The Times.
Meanwhile, Be There Tomorrow secured coverage across the south west broadcast media including all local TV news, various local BBC radio stations, Heart FM and Jack & the Breeze throughout the region.