Ebola. It’s a hot word in the world these days. Hot and incredibly terrifying. It conjures up horrors without cure … and with dubious cause. It feels Old World, Medieval, something from a darker, less modern time. And these days, it’s everywhere.
There are countless groups, large and small, out there working to help, to heal, and to find a cure. And Ronn Torossian says these groups would be well advised to add PR to their programs. Consider the recent ALS Challenge. While the jury may still be out on how much the challenge “helped,” there is no doubt that many people know a lot more about ALS than they did a month ago. When it comes to funding movements, knowledge is value.
And now the fight against Ebola has found an ally who knows a thing or three about publicity. Microsoft founder Bill Gates has directed his Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to pledge $50 million to fight the viral Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The donation was pledged via a press release that also intimated that it was the “Largest Ever” toward a humanitarian cause.
Gates and his PR team understand very well how much the press loves a “bigger, better, or more” headline. If you can be the best or biggest, or beat the best or biggest, you have a great chance of getting ink.
Another aspect of PR that the press appreciates is timeliness. The Gates Foundation announcement stated that the specified funds would IMMEDIATELY benefit the UN agencies and international organizations involved in fighting the viral outbreak and spread.
Next, the release offered specifics as to what could and would be done with the cash. Medical supplies would be purchased and emergency operations would be conducted. These specifics fit nicely into the press’ 5W format of “who, what, when, where, and why.” Making it easier for them to make a story makes it more likely for you to be recognized.
And then there’s the nuance of the statement. The press appreciates headlines that allow them to use superlatives such as “historic” and “global” and “epidemic.” If you have that reach, keep that in mind. And, if you don’t, consider the superlatives that would jump off the page in your sphere of influence. If you can do something to build those headlines, you will go a long way toward increasing the media’s response to your nonprofit public relations efforts.