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Help Your Utility’s Charitable Efforts Get Noticed

ID 35353472 © Poznyakov | Dreamstime.com

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas?

Well, maybe not, even if it is getting cooler and pumpkin spice everything is all the rage again.

But the holidays will be here soon, which means it’s time to get prepared for the charitable things your utility likely is doing this year – stuff like stocking local food banks, providing gifts for needy children or collecting and distributing warm clothing.

Obviously, charitable efforts are nice things to do, but it raises a question: Are they really newsworthy?

That depends.

By definition, news is something that doesn’t happen every day (or, in this case, every year). So, not many events will get covered.

But the media does like feel-good stories, especially when late November and December rolls around, so there will be some coverage.

That’s why you should prepare to promote whatever your utility is planning. Once the holidays roll around, the amount of “real” news tends to drop, so there’s no reason not to pitch your charitable work. If you don’t, someone else will, so give it a shot.

Focus on a couple signature events. Small events don’t raise much excitement, so focus on a couple big things.

Think visuals for any event – it’s crucial for the cameras to find a focal point.

For example, if someone in your company portrays Santa Claus and you have an event having him deliver presents, smiling excitable kids are a natural, as are packages wrapped with bows, ribbons and shiny paper

Timing is essential, too, because events are the first thing to get bumped by breaking news. Try 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 7 p.m., which are the best times for TV crews and are generally good for print reporters as well. The first time coincides with when most news crews leave for the day and get footage newscasts. 1 p.m. sets you up for afternoon and early evening newscasts, while 7 p.m. is ideal for the late-night newscasts – and can showcase holiday lighting displays, too.

Don’t ignore smaller outlets that lack the resources to get to your events. Local magazines and weekly newspapers devote space to community events and often rely on organizations to provide them with photos and background information.

Meantime, promote your events on both your website and social media, as well as in bill inserts.

And remember, even if you don’t get much coverage, you’re still doing positive, community-minded things, which is the name of the game.

Andy Gotlieb's picture

Thank Andy for the Post!

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