Liam Fontaine's fundraising beard shave was helped by charity PR experts

by Alicia Simpson

Friday, March 25th, 2016

Hibs Star Raises Thousands For SKFF, With A Little Help From Our public relations team

LIAM FONTAINE Beard ShaveFASHION trends with footballers’ facial hair haven’t been quite the same scale of news events since Becks retired – taking his ever changing styles with him.

However, when Hibernian FC vice-captain Liam Fontaine shaved his trademark beard, we made sure it was big news – because it was benefiting the Sick Kids Friends Foundation.

First and foremost, braving the electric clippers turned out to be a major fundraising winner for Liam, who smashed his original £1000 target after fans across the world made donations, raising a grand total of £2100 in just three days.

And a good part of that fundraising success story was down to the effective public relations which helped get news of Liam’s efforts in front of a huge audience, by generating more than 20 significant items of coverage.

How big an audience? The media coverage we helped to generate, created 11 million Opportunities to See (OTS) – the equivalent of filling Hibs’ Easter Road stadium 536 times over.

We’re proud to work with the SKFF, which helps kids enjoy the most positive possible experience when their lives are interrupted by illness, to ensure youngsters can be children first and patients second.

On hearing that all of Liam’s fundraising efforts were being geared toward SKFF, the charity asked the team at Holyrood PR to get the coverage ball rolling – and we were delighted to play our part.

As a multi award-winning agency with a keen nose for news, we are well trained in the art of recognising powerful stories and never miss an opportunity to put our clients in the positive media spotlight.

So just how did we drum up such a wide spread of coverage surrounding the Hibs’ vice-captain’s act of generosity?  We did what we do best and planned out how to tell the story on paper, online and on air, using words, images and video.

Working in extremely tight timescales we planned four distinct sections in a mini campaign, including an initial launch release, a photo shoot, creative use of video and a fundraising follow-up message. The results were that we created millions of opportunities to see positive messages about the charity and Liam’s support of it.


 

Edinburgh PR agency show how they help clients achieve more media coverageFind out how smart clients of Holyrood PR benefit from a positive approach to public relations, ensuring they enjoy multiple bites of the media charity and never see their stories wasted with just one angle


 

By making ripples across a wide range of media sources, we were able to spread the word of the charity’s incredibly important work with sick children and their parents to potential future donors across the country, and perhaps even further afield.

We worked with the Hibernian press team to find out a little more about why Liam had chosen SKFF, and issued a press release to local and national media describing his planned fundraiser and giving details of how those keen to support could donate to the worthwhile cause.

Our initial release told how Liam and Hibs colleagues had been uplifted after making a visit to Edinburgh’s Royal Hospital for Sick Children just before Christmas and that had inspired the big defender’s beard shaving idea.

The story was the pick of the press within just 24 hours and Liam’s Just Giving page saw an immediate boost, meaning his total money raised began to rapidly increase.

However, as an agency with a “multiple bites of the cherry” mindset, and knowing that the story had a powerful message and was a point of interest for the local area, we followed up with a second release after the event, detailing the impressive final total raised.

It included a statement from the talented stopper, describing how overwhelmed he was by the event and thanking everyone who had supported him. This post-event push saw the story picked up by yet more media sources, including target nationals.

But – you’ve guessed it – we didn’t just stop at the newspapers. On the day that Liam prepared to bare all for charity, he held a pre-match press conference, in which he himself removed his distinctive fuzz. And we sent our trusty videographer along to catch the whole thing on camera.

Powerful images are crucial to success, not only in traditional media but also online, so we made sure to get a wide range of photographs which showcased the fundraising activity and appealed to print and online journalists alike.

And with before and after photos aplenty, we tailored the heart-warming story accordingly and took to social media to share it across even more platforms.

In addition, as the world of media is always changing, we like to keep one step ahead of the game, and make sure our clients are too. We therefore put together a short but entertaining video for SKFF, to both ensure the charity maximises its YouTube channel and to increase click throughs to its website.

To date, our video, featuring an interview with and thank you message from Liam Fontaine, has had 6500 views and 61 shares on Facebook. In addition, news articles relating to his charity event have been shared 524 times across social media, and his Just Giving page has had 396 shares.

In addition, the story has achieved a reach of 314,552 on Twitter, and secured a total of 419,676 impressions.

The net result of the media coverage generated is that it created around 11 million opportunities to see – meaning a huge audience around the world were given the chance to read positive messages about the SKFF and about Liam’s efforts on its behalf. To put that in perspective, 11m is enough to fill Hibs’ Easter Road stadium 536 times over.

Find out how public relations can help your business to score in the media

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