Since deciding to embark upon a career in the communications industry, I have striven to gain as much experience and knowledge as possible to hit the ground running. This has included studying an MA in Media and Public Relations at Newcastle University, along with undertaking multiple work placement and freelance opportunities. All in all over the past year or so I have been a very busy girl, so I’d like to use this page to share some of my experiences.
1) (Click Title to open PDF)
Working on a Freelance project for North East disability support service chairty, New Prospects Association in 2011, the Chief Executive of the organisation was very interested in creating and using social media as a new channel of communication for both internal employees and external service users.
However, being daunted by the prospect of using social media for the first time, I decided to create a short, simple handbook introducing and explaining to them “The Scary World of Communications and Social Media”. It was designed as something for them to keep on file after my contract ended, and also something I might be able to use in the future as a guideline for similar pre-digital age organisations.
The handbook includes an introduction to social media sites Facebook, Twitter and Youtube, along with instructions on how to use them. The handbook then also goes on to give a brief explanation of the communications industry, including DIY PR and Marketing tools which can easily be incorporated into small-budget organisations without needing to bring in external agencies.
Social media is the next generation in communication and it is essential that organisations get to grips with its importance, influence and possibility to avoid being left behind in the online social sphere. Social media is especially useful in creating a broader prospective awareness, and is also great to meet and connect with other people or organisations that you may have a specific interest in, or they with you. At a simple level, social media is a fantastic way to share information in a straight-forward, effective and cost-free way. For example you may have added something to the news section on your website – by simply adding a link to your social media pages, you can easily broaden the spectrum of interest and hopefully promote a greater awareness of your organisation.
2) The Mick Knighton Mesothelioma Research Fund (MKMRF)
Between February – May 2011 I worked on a campaign with the North East based charity MKMRF. The charity was established by Chris Knighton in 2002 after her husband Mick Knighton died from the asbestos related cancer in 2001. Mesothelioma is an incurable form of cancer which affects the lining of the lungs; MKMRF strives to raise money to help fund research into the illness which could one day in the near future find a breakthrough in treatment of the disease. MKMRF also helps other families who are affected by this devastating cancer.
When I met Chris in February 2011, MKMRF was £15,000 from reaching its first £1,000,000 milestone. For a small regional charity run by a select handful of volunteers, I found this quite remarkable! In May of that year, MKMRF was celebrating its 9th Anniversary with the annual Glitter Ball held in the Newcastle Assembly Rooms. From the outset, Chris informed me that it was her dream to be able to announce on the night that MKMRF had reached its first Million.
Working as PR, my main objective was to raise enough awareness amongst the charity’s publics to facilitate the fundraising of the final £15,000. On top of this, it was also my responsibility to facilitate the sale of tickets for the Glitter Ball, along with the donation of prizes from various organisations and businesses to be raffled and auctioned on the night.
Various strategies were used to communicate with MKMRF’s publics including press releases to the media which ranged from features about MKMRF and mesothelioma, to releases inviting people to attend the Glitter Ball, donate funds and donate prizes. Coverage was gained on various media platforms including Print, Television and Radio on the run up to the Glitter Ball.
SAMPLE PRINT COVERAGE:
(click to enlarge)
SAMPLE TELEVISION COVERAGE:
Strategies to encourage prize and cash donations included direct calls to businesses along with the email of sponsorship proposals to local and national organisations. Direct mail, which although more expensive and time consuming, was highly useful to add a more personal touch from the charity when collecting prize donations to be auctioned. Prizes at the Glitter Ball included signed shirts and footballs from NUFC, Holiday Home stays, collectable paintings and sketches by local artists, boxes of whisky and crates of wine, skydiving lessons, restaurant vouchers, Spa treatments…….
Overall the campaign was a smash of a success – The Glitter Ball saw over 250 distinguished legal and medical professionals in attendance, along with supporters from the general public. Chris was able to announce on the night that MKMRF had collectively (not including to proceeds donated on the night) raised £1,015,000 – surpassing the target amount by £15,000!
As a freelance volunteer this was obviously a very proud moment for me and really goes to prove how essential and useful effective communication strategies can be for the charity sector. I continue to assist Chris, and have been involved in numerous other charity campaigns since MKMRF.
**Note to Students – if you wish to gain work experience, charities are a brilliant place to start, even if it is on a voluntary basis. Charities appreciate any help given, and especially if you have a strong set of communication skills and knowledge, you will really go a long way in helping them. This can be anything from setting up Social Media pages and teaching people how to use them, to writing a press release now and then, to taking on full campaigns such as I did with MKMRF.
3) Sample Press Release
A sample press release for client Mint Move Property
19 September 2011
Make a Mint Move with York’s Freshest Property Agency
Yorkshire Letting Agency Mint Move Property is expanding its horizons this September with the opening of a new City Centre based office in York.
With a combined experience in the property sector of over 25 years, Directors of Mint Move Property Annie Roxborough and Beverly Linfoot established Mint Move Leeds in 2008 focusing on property lettings around the urban regeneration area of Clarence Dock.
With the success of the Leeds office Mint Move Property has set its sights on developing property acquisitions in York, focusing on up-and-coming developments such as Hungate and The Croft, along with older properties characteristic of the city of York.
Beverly Linfoot, Co-Director of Mint Move Property comments, “The decision has been taken to explore business opportunities in York due to the continuing strength of its rental market.
“York’s ever increasing popularity with young professionals and first-time buyers makes this the ideal opportunity to spread our wings, confident that we can provide an excellent service to landlords and tenants alike.”
Annie Roxborough, Co-Director of Mint Move Property comments, “Mint Move Property continues to specialise in new-build property lettings, whilst progressing into older period properties and property sales.
“Beverly and I are both originally from York and are very excited about the prospect of broadening Mint Move into our hometown. We are always keen to welcome new landlords and tenants and look forward to developing these relationships into the future. ”
Mint Move Property York is based in St Saviour’s Place opposite the city centre development of Hungate.
For further media enquiries, please contact:
Abbey Michelle, PR Officer
M: 07792577800 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Beverly Linfoot, Mint Move Property Co-Director
T: 01904 675511 M: 07980589494 E: email@example.com
Annie Roxborough, Mint Move Property Co-Director
T: 01904 675511 M: 07817750675 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to the Editor:
- Mint Move Property York is situated in St Saviour’s Place, York, YO1 7PJ
- Mint Move Property welcome new landlords and tenants. Prospective clients can contact the Mint Move office on 01904 67551
- Find Mint Move Property online: www.mintmoveproperty.com