How public information campaigns can grab the imagination of the public and journalists.
PSA! Public service announcements don’t need to be, and aren’t always, boring relays of information, notifying you that the escalators on the fourth floor are out of order, or infuriating pronouncements that the Forth Bridge is closed.
Indeed, when you look at things properly, you will often find that there is something interesting to say.
The Scottish Business Resilience Centre (SBRC), as a leading light in business and cyber safety, is often in a position to make a difference to consumers by notifying, announcing and advising on current affairs and threats to the public.
When they came to us with the potential to write, pitch and publish two stories about threats to consumers we jumped at the chance and put thinking caps to heads, fingers to keyboards and, ultimately, headlines to editors.
All the best PR begins with a story.
Sometimes it’s less obvious than others and takes a wee bit of digging to get to.
SBRC brought us two stories they thought it was important to get out there and we whole heartedly agreed.
Both covered scams targeting online shoppers in Scotland. More specifically users of the sites Gumtree and Just Eat. Two widely used websites providing a platform for getting SBRC’s message out there.
Our first step was to contact the head of their ‘ethical hacking team’ and get the nitty-gritty of the issue pinned down.
Then we converted the run-down and, most importantly advice into a print ready press release for journalists and editors to pick up.
We focussed on the threat to consumers and helping them avoid the scammers looking to prey on them. Drawing attention to the tactics used and the manner of approach ensured readers could identify with the story and would take notice.
One the face of it, this could have been a dry informative announcement, but by tailoring our messaging crafting our use of language we were able to make this reader-centric and a must-use for the papers.
Don’t Forget Your Client!
As with any warning or announcement, you can run the risk of losing the identity of the speaker amongst the details.
In these releases we were sure to put the advisors front and centre, positioning the members of SBRC as the experts in their field, providing the vital information to overcome the threat and highlighting the organisation as a resource for security.
In particular, Gerry, SBRC’s ‘head hacker’, took centre stage giving a prime example of the services they can provide.
The coverage we generated put the SBRC in the public eye across Scotland and the press coverage let people know about the help they could receive.
It can be frustrating for clients when their stories hit the headlines but they don’t leave an impression. At Holyrood we are attentive to the story-teller and not just the story.
It’s not just what you know…
It’s definitely a case of who you know, too.
This story made headlines in national titles thanks to our effective and personal pitches but we didn’t just score coverage in the big guns.
We tailored our release and media roll out to hit local papers all over the country.
As such our client could boast, and reap the benefits, of people as far afield as Melrose and Stornoway reading about their organisation.
In print and online we boosted their profile and kept the public informed.
54 Items of coverage and more than 225,000 readers reached was a great result for the SBRC and fair warning was given to the country.
It can be easy to get hung up on grabbing the attention of national newspapers (and that’s something we can do rather well) but in many cases hitting the locals can be just as effective at reaching your client base.
If it’s possible to make your countrywide story local too, then take advantage. Regional press is widely read and you may get the attention of more readers in numerous small papers than in one large one.
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