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posted: 12/13/2018 1:00 AM

Public relations stunts provide benefits to companies, nonprofits

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  • Jacqueline Camacho-Ruiz

    Jacqueline Camacho-Ruiz


Many businesses wonder how they can land media opportunities, feeling as if they are not worthy of "feel-good" stories that can be shared with others. There is always an opportunity to share valuable content that activates the audience through clever, strategic public relations stunts. What, exactly, are PR stunts?

PR stunts are either events or initiatives that connect two or more organizations (typically a local business to a nonprofit) with a clear intention to benefit both. The receiving organization (i.e. nonprofit) gets the financial support or goods for their constituency and the giving business gets the positive "feel-good" exposure with their client base and local community through media placements.

A starting point is the selection of a nonprofit. You should consider a nonprofit that aligns with your vision or personal connection; has a substantial constituency that can expand the reach of your brand; be proactive to collaborate on the initiative and is grateful for this new relationship so you can infuse other ideas for partnership opportunities in the future.

When considering a PR stunt, there are several identifiers: strategy, collaboration, resourcefulness and creativity. Your PR stunt should be carefully planned and executed to ensure maximum benefits and exposure. With collaboration with nonprofits, communication and ongoing support is very important. Resourcefulness and creativity come into play as there are limited time or financial options.

For PR stunts, always take photos and videos as they provide essential visuals to depict stories. To get the full benefit of promotion, use these visuals to share on social media, send them on an eblast or newsletter to your contacts, add to your blog or email signature, but most importantly, send to local media with compelling captions for possible inclusion in their publication offline and online.

Follow up with media outlets a few days after sending photos, especially because they contain attachments. Ideally, you want to give media outlets heads up that large high-resolution images are coming.

Make sure to have a public release announcement or individual model release if you are taking photos, especially when children are present. If you don't have their permission, you may still take photos, but make sure their faces don't show. Track and document the ROI and ROO of each PR stunt.

Here are several ideas to consider:  

• Buy books from a local author and donate them to a local school. Put in a note inside of each book that says: "Book courtesy of <insert name of business here>."

• Choose a local family to give gifts to through a local nonprofit.

• Buy food or coats/gifts to deliver to the local homeless shelter.

• Provide free coffee from a local coffee shop to bring joy to the local community.

• Holiday gifts to an underprivileged group. Ask them to come to your office on a certain date/time and take photos.

• Gather a group of employees to volunteer at a local food pantry while also donating money to buy more food.

• Have local fireman and police officers decorate Christmas trees, partner with a local nonprofit organization to deliver them to local needy families.

• Share inspirational books with local victims of domestic violence.

• Provide giveaways to a TV show audience in exchange of live mentions.

• Partner up with a local nonprofit organization and name that day. The nonprofit gets the exposure as well as the business from the joint marketing efforts. Donations can be collected on that day for the nonprofit.

• Volunteer to teach at a local school through Junior Achievement.

• Hire a local author to bring an inspiring message and do a book signing to an underserved school.

• Provide free advice and support to a local nonprofit for a special event or initiative; capture the challenge, action and results of your contribution.

• Select a local sports team, chorus or a band and provide them with gear, instruments or a trip, especially if they have no resources.

Jacqueline Camacho-Ruiz is the CEO of JJR Marketing and Fig Factor Media, Founder of The Fig Factor Foundation, Author of 11 books, international speaker and pilot.