Throughout the year, companies across the region engage in community outreach activities to support organizations that are working to impact disadvantaged families, education, the homeless, the environment, arts and culture, animals and a wide range of other notable causes. The Cooksey Communications team is often asked to help clients generate media coverage of these activities to increase awareness of the charities they support. However, with limited reporters and camera operators available to cover an area as large as Texas, it can be difficult for media to cover so many newsworthy community outreach stories.
It’s still worth pursuing media attention, but you might consider some additional opportunities to leverage your community engagement and highlight the charitable causes your company supports. Below are five recommendations for creating awareness of community outreach activities.
Maximize Social Media
Almost everyone is following social media. A robust social media plan will include posts designed specifically for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube or other platforms that will help you reach specific target audiences.
You can expand your reach exponentially by asking event organizers, volunteers, employees and beneficiaries to post social media content about the event. Make it easy on everyone by sharing the pre-approved copy, video, photos, and infographics, or ask social media posters to personalize the content by sharing thoughts about their individual experiences.
Create Website Spotlights
A corporate website is a great place to share news, especially when it comes to community engagement. You can post basic information about the event or get creative by spotlighting volunteers who go the extra mile. You could also highlight the charity you’re supporting or tell the story of a family or individual impacted by your company’s charitable giving to reinforce the importance of the project.
Write a Blog (or Podcast or Vlog)
Blogs, podcasts or vlogs are great storytelling tools that allow you to control the message. A basic blog will include the mechanics of the story – who, what, when, where, why. Take a deeper dive by asking an employee to write a blog about why they wanted to volunteer or why the experience was meaningful to him or her. You may also interview with a representative from the charity you’re supporting to talk about the organization’s mission or talk with a family or individual who has received assistance from the charity about its impact. Be sure to include visual elements such as photos, logos, infographics, or video footage.
Distribute an E-blast
You can share your company’s volunteer efforts with customers, prospects, vendors or other desired audiences by combining it with a holiday message that is distributed via email. E-blasts are most effective when they include highly visual design elements. Brief copy, photos, and video created for social media posts can be repurposed for e-blasts, and links to blogs or website spotlights can further enhance content visibility.
Invite Customers or Family Members to Participate
What better way to give something back to the community than by working alongside your customers, vendors, friends or family members on a charitable project? Inviting these audiences to participate in your company’s community engagement activity allows them to share in the experience and to see, first-hand, how the project or charity impacts the people it serves. Working alongside each other to support a worthy cause creates deeper personal and professional relationships that may have long-lasting benefits and encouraging your guests to post social media messages about the experience will increase your social media reach.
Regardless of whether or not the media cover your community service story, working with your communications partner to share your story through other channels will still increase awareness of your company’s activity and the cause it supports. The Cooksey team is always available to assist with developing a customized community outreach communications plan, writing copy and designing supporting visuals that will help you reach your specific target audiences and achieve your goals.