Public Relations and Communications

PR: It’s all about content, community and creativity.

by Nick Lashinsky

As much as we love press releases (you’d have to pry them from our Kung Fu grip), they’re not the only building blocks with which our public relations campaigns are built. Now more than ever, we’re leveraging organic social media; galvanizing local community leaders; utilizing the power of influencers; and thinking more creatively to develop innovative, integrated campaigns for our association and event clients. We thought we’d share a few of our recent successes in hopes that they might inspire your next PR initiative…

It’s no secret that organic social media can be an effective element in a strategic public relations campaign, but telling a truly captivating story isn’t always easy. Content must be easily consumable, have an emotional appeal, and leverage engaging visual elements—just like World Pet Association (WPA)’s recent social media photo contest. We created the campaign to tell the story of WPA’s Good Works program, an initiative that gives back to organizations supporting the pet industry, the people within it and even the pets/owners who are at the center of everything they do. Entrants sent photos of themselves doing charitable, give-back or cause-oriented “good works” in their communities using #WPAGoodWorks. The lucky winner was announced at SuperZoo, and the response from pet retailers and the media was overwhelming. The cherry on top — a sizable donation to one of the charities WPA supports was made in the winner’s name!
Carly Boatwright, Account and PR Coordinator

The field of STEM events is crowded, with no single conference standing out as a “must-attend.” For U.S. News STEM Solutions National Leadership Conference we harnessed the enthusiasm of the STEM community in the city in which the event was being held to drive attendance. We created a special STEM “Host Committee” and personally invited representatives from corporate, academic, nonprofit and government entities to attend a kick-off meeting to connect them with the conference (and one another). At the conclusion of the meeting, committee members pledged their support to the event and thanked us for not waiting until six weeks prior to show up at their offices asking them to promote the event (as most event organizers do). Stakeholders want to feel invested, and the best way to do this is to approach them as experts, include them early in the planning, and ask specifically for their help.
Kimberly Coerr, VIP Program Specialist

Media today expect you to be extremely targeted in your approach. For the recently wrapped International Baking Industry Exposition (IBIE), mdg contacted reporters first to determine what kind of content they were seeking. The editors provided critical insight around trends so we could tailor news releases and story pitches with topics they were looking to cover. Over the course of a decade working with IBIE, mdg has forged such intimate relationships with media who cover the grain-based foods industry, we developed a recurring monthly meeting leading up to the 2016 show to discuss content and line up interviews with industry leaders. This approach resulted in verbatim pick up of every release we produced, meaningful content for the publications and excellent coverage of the industry to the tune of 1,175 total media placements over the course of the campaign—an 18 percent increase over the previous show.
Jacquelyn Wells, Account Strategist and Digital Marketing Specialist

Media professionals are often more receptive to the messages about organizational initiatives when those who are impacted by them are involved in the pitch. Recently, the National Honor Society (NHS) engaged mdg to help communicate to students the importance of building skills and experience in the Society’s core pillars of character, leadership, service and scholarship as an investment in their future. Partnering with BRG Communications, mdg engaged chapter advisers, student members and recent alumni within key markets across the country to provide media training on NHS programs, initiatives and key data points from independent research. Since then, 40 student and adviser ambassadors have been participating in local market interviews and are poised to seize future opportunities as well.
Shauna Peters, Account Strategist

Regardless of where you are in your event cycle, membership campaign, or organizational communication initiative, we like the idea of channeling the energy a new year brings (2017 is only 31 days away!) into a fresh public relations approach. Make it your resolve to develop an integrated PR plan with more attention on social media, relationship building, stories and visuals that create emotional connections, and influencer and community engagement.