Getting public relations coverage for a home care or other senior care agency can be a challenge. Television stations and newspapers are continuing to cut staff, and that means getting publicity through public relations is more difficult than ever.
Or is it?
The media cuts have created a new opportunity â€“ the ability to publish news yourself in those outlets. Many newspapers and television stations have â€śuser-generatedâ€ť content sections that highlight reader submissions, and often those stories are reprinted in the newspaper or television web site as well.
Maybe your senior care agency wants to tell about the 100-year old who excels at Wii Bowling, or . There are an endless amount of public relations and user generated content opportunities out there, but there are tactics senior care companies should follow when practicing â€ścitizen journalismâ€ť:
- Write clean, engaging copy. Text with grammatical errors or factual errors will be tossed immediately. Be familiar with AP Style, keep most submissions to 400 words or less, and make it about a topic that will be of interest to the general public.
- Include dynamic photos, not just â€śgrip and grinsâ€ť. Visual aides can really help your story. Sometimes, â€śgrip and grinsâ€ť â€“ the mediaâ€™s term for photos of people just shaking hands at a groundbreaking or posing as in a family photo â€“ are unavoidable. But the best photos add to your submission, and can also be used as standalone photos with captions if the newspaper doesnâ€™t have enough space for your entire item.
- Make the news the story, not your company. This may be the most challenging facet of all. Everyone wants to put their senior care company in the best light, but that doesnâ€™t mean your submission should focus only on your company. Newspapers and television stations can see through that public relations tactic, and will edit out many of those references or even dismiss the submission altogether.
- Follow up with the media outlet after any submission. Media members have a lot on their plate, and some submissions might not get published that day or even that week. Polite follow-up calls and emails can help answer any questions the media outlet may have, and go a long way in getting your submission out to readers.
Have you had public relations success by creating user-generated content? Let us know in the comments.
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