Promoting your project
We aim to form real and lasting partnerships with those we fund and we want others to engage with your story as well.
We want you to promote your project as widely as possible and we want to help you do this.
Promoting your project is important for a variety of reasons:
- it can raise awareness of your services, facilities, project or event in the community
- it can attract support for your project in the community
- it helps link your project with others so you can share best practice, ideas and support each other
- it can help ensure your project is as successful as possible and help you attract further funding and support through increased awareness
Top tips about publishing your work:
- Get organised – put together a plan of who needs to know what and how you will communicate with them
- Think about your messages and your audiences
- Who are you communicating with and why?
- How do you want them to feel about your project?
Publicity Guide to help you tell your story
Word of mouth is a great way of spreading information. Talk to your neighbours, friends and other people in your community about your project and what you want to achieve. Let people know that your services are available for them to use. You may even be able to attract new volunteers.
There are people and organisations who can help you deliver a successful project and who can influence local decision-making.
Working with other organisations can help develop your project and they may be able to promote you through their own newsletter and websites.
People you could work with include
- businesses in your area
- local MPs
- other community groups providing similar services
- local councils
- business mentors
- other voluntary organisations
Speak to your local decision makers where possible – contact them and let them to know what you are hoping to achieve. If you can get them to come to your event or visit your organisation it may also help you get some media coverage.
If you don’t already have a website you can set up a basic one. WordPress (wordpress.com) has a template that lets you easily create a simple website and they have lots of guides to help you. Ask your “community” e.g. local businesses, schools, local councils, other service providers, funders, events calendars to include information about your project on their website back to yours. If you also have Facebook make sure you keep it current and interesting and let it serve as a driver back to your website. Make sure you include practical details such as contact details and directions.
Remember your website serves as the ‘front window’ to your organisation so always keep your information current and relevant.
Social media is a great way to start two-way conversations and creating a presence on social networking platforms such as Facebook and Twitter is a good way to share information and publicise your project. Best of all it’s free. You don’t need to be an expert to maintain your presence. However, it is essential you keep your profile current, engaging and accurate or people will lose interest in it. Make sure someone at your project is responsible for managing your presence on these sites.
Upload photographs to photo-sharing sites, such as Flickr, Pinterest and Instagram to visually illustrate to people what your project is about. If your photographs feature members of the public, particularly children make sure they have given their permission for them to be used.
Use #hashtags to expand your audience but use them wisely – normally one to two should be enough. Hashtags should contain relevant keywords to your organisation and the audience you are trying to connect with. Use tools like Hashtagify.me to find other trending hashtags related to your specific tag. Don’t put #hashtag in the middle of the #sentence. At the bottom of your post, is the place to add them.
Before you start, write a plan of how you want to communicate, who is your target audience and try and anticipate and mitigate any risks associated with using this medium. There are many great articles about managing social media on the internet which will help you get started. It’s helpful to have someone in charge that already uses social media in their personal lives and has a real passion for it.
Think of a blog as a diary of your project. It will grab people’s attention and capture people’s interest in your project (wordpress.com is a good, easy to use site which gives advice on developing a blog). You can also raise your profile and engage with others by following blogs that are of interest or relevant to your own and by posting, comments, ideas and questions on them.
Produce short videos about your project to post on networking sites such as YouTube and add to your website or social media channel. These don’t have to be expensive and you don’t always need a film company. Use your smart phone. It will help improve your Google search ratings. Why? Google loves content.
The Press, TV and radio are a cost effective way of promoting your project. They can reach a large audience in a short time, which is why it is important to provide clear and accurate information. The media which is most likely to benefit your project is your local newspapers so don’t overlook the community newspapers in your area.
Real people and their stories are the most interesting to read. Find people in your community whose life has been changed for the better by your project. Interview them about their situation, how they feel now and get their permission to quote them in your media releases. Get some good high resolution photos or liaise directly with the media to get them to send out a photographer. Don’t forget your staff and volunteers can be a story too.
A well-written media release is invaluable for local papers but remember many of the bigger newspapers receive hundreds of media releases via e-mail a day. If you really want to stand out from the crowd, direct liaison is your best approach and backing that up with your social media efforts. Make sure your news is current – something that happened a month ago isn’t news.
Spend some time before you go to the media examining your angle. What is novel about your story? Is it topical? Can you link it to something else that is making headlines? Many media outlets monitor other newspapers and social media and pick up on interesting or novel approaches, so the right story with the right characters could get you featured on the radio or bring TV cameras to your project. If you get picked up, make sure you link from your website to the story or video on the website of the news outlet that featured you.
Holding an event will raise awareness of your project in your local community. It can also give you the opportunity to network and build contacts. It is a good idea to invite the key people from your community such as councillors, your MP, high profile stakeholders and the media as well as the people involved in setting up the your project.
Examples of the events you can hold
- a launch event for your project to let the local community and media know what you will be doing
- an open day to involve people in your project or to celebrate a milestone for your project
Celebrity support for your organisation could help raise its profile, especially if they come to the event. Remember if you want celebrities or key government officials to attend your event you need to get dates in people’s diaries as early as possible. To get more bang for your buck in organising the event – think outside the square – who can help you for instance in providing a low cost but fun space to hold your event.
Now – its time to get started! We are happy to help you with advice around any of the above so contact our Communications Manager for any help or support your organisation might need in promoting your project to the world.