Breaking through the Election Noise

In the midst of one of the busiest weeks in this wild election season, our clients Arbella and Bridgewell broke through the noise with important stories that saturated Boston print and broadcast outlets.

March 9 marked the official relaunch of the Arbella Insurance Foundation’s Distractology program, which was founded in 2010 as one of the first programs in the country to address distracted driving with young, inexperienced drivers.  Our team secured a roster of notable attendees for a media event at Boston College High School, including Col. Richard McKeon of the Massachusetts State Police and Jeff Larason, Director of the Massachusetts Highway Safety Bureau. Despite the overwhelming coverage of the election season, and the fact that many local outlets have previously covered the Distractology program numerous times, every local broadcast station attended. WCVB, Boston’s ABC affiliate, featured a live segment on its noon broadcast while WBZ radio ran its story all afternoon including during the 6 p.m. drive time newshour. You can check out some of the media highlights on CBSBoston/WBZ Radio, WCVB Channel 5  and Metro Boston.

The anti-distracted driving simulator travels to high schools across New England to teach newly licensed drivers the dangers of driving without their full attention on the road. To date, more than 11,000 teenagers have completed the Distractology training, and drivers who have completed the program are proven to be 19 percent less likely to have an accident and 25 percent less likely to get traffic violations.

For Greenough, the day did not end at B.C. High. It was also an important day for our client Bridgewell and its affiliate Project COPE, which provides prevention, education and treatment services for individuals and their families struggling with substance abuse disorders. So when the Massachusetts Legislature took the first big step toward fighting opioid addiction by passing a bill that would limit prescription drug prescriptions and require schools to conduct screenings of students, we seized the opportunity to make sure that Bridgewell’s voice was heard in this important conversation. Project COPE executive director Mark Kennard spoke with numerous reporters and his commentary on the bill was featured on WBZ Radio, WCVB Channel 5, Fox25 Boston, and MassLive

Greenough is proud to work with the Arbella Insurance Foundation and Bridgewell to help spread the word about these important causes. We’re thrilled with the coverage and recognition of these organizations’ efforts – especially in the middle of a week dominated by national political coverage.

 

PR Tip of the Day: Harnessing the Hyper-Local

Last month, our team at Greenough celebrated our fourth anniversary of publicizing Arbella Insurance's distracted driving program, Distractology 101. Distractology brings a neon-yellow mobile classroom outfitted with high-tech driving simulators to high schools across New England. The simulations give new drivers the chance to experience the perils of distracted driving from the safety of the trailer, training them to avoid these behaviors when they're in their cars.

Though the larger Massachusetts and Rhode Island outlets only run a story on Distractology once every year or so, honing in on smaller town and regional newspapers and local broadcast affiliates has kept our success rate at between 7 and 20 pieces of coverage each month— 4 years running!

More important than the number of hits alone, hyper-local news audiences continue to remain high despite uncertainty in the newspaper industry overall. In a recent study, the University of Missouri's Reynolds Journalism Institute found that more than two-thirds of residents in small U.S. communities read their local newspaper at least once a week.

The Boston Globe also ran a story this month about how local access stations—once parodied on SNL for their low-budget production and anything-goes content—have become truly viable media outlets. The article notes that community stations receive up to 5 percent of the cable companies’ annual local gross revenues; and those funds “have allowed high-definition cameras and digital editing suites with broadcast-quality graphics, turning these once primitive studios into full-blown video production centers.”

Hyper local newspapers and local TV are often passed over in media campaigns since they don’t quite carry the same weight. But for long-running PR initiatives, especially for a program that serves the community in the way Distractology does, hyper-local news outlets can be excellent venues for maintaining media momentum and creating positive sentiment in the small towns where a regional company aims to sell its services.

Secondarily, we’ve heard from a number of our television production contacts that hyper-local outlets, like the Patch sites, are where they turn to find news stories. It’s a great resource for finding the under-the-radar stories that TV stations are hungry to break. It can also lead them to local sources for commentary.

And on the technical side, the more hyper-local coverage online that links back to your client’s website, the more “Google food” you’re providing. When reputable sites, like those of newspapers, link to your website, your SEO gets a boost.

So the next time you’re building out a media list, don’t discredit your town’s paper or community TV station. They will often help you reach your local community better than the glamorous national hit will.

Lucy Muscarella is an Account Executive at Greenough. Follow her on Twitter: @lucymuscarella