Looking for help with PR?
Looking for help with promoting your Passion Play? Do you want to see the story of Easter in your local newspaper in 2024? Are you confused about PR and marketing? We all know how important it is to have good public relations, but what exactly is PR and how is it different to marketing or advertising or publicity?
This little description will help!
If your Passion Play is coming to town and you paint a sign saying ‘Free Play at the marketplace on Good Friday,’ that’s advertising/marketing.
If you put the sign on the back of a donkey and walk it into town, that’s promotion.
If the elephant walks through the mayor’s flower bed, that’s publicity.
And if you get the mayor to laugh about it, that’s public relations.
How to do this?
First of all, you can be as imaginative as you want! Passion Plays have a great collection of props, costumes, characters and events that capture attention.
You can ‘feed the five thousand’ by wearing traditional costumes and handing out free sandwiches or cupcakes with a note about the upcoming Passion Play.
You can have ‘gladiators’ walking through the streets with signs about your Passion Play.
You can hold a creative photoshoot in a number of key locations the week before your Passion Play.
What is good is that each of these ideas can be combined with sharing some inspiring and hopeful truth about Jesus as well as promoting the free performance.
How to write a good Press Release?
- Write in the third person unless it is a quote, i.e. St Mary’s Church will help combat loneliness and isolation in Oxbridge with a new community café opening in Spring 2020.
- The press release/article should be in the body of the e-mail, not attached as a separate document
- Give it a short, punchy headline and subject line that will grab the attention of the reporter and intrigue them enough to read more. The headline isn’t so much ‘New kitchen for St Matthew’s Church’ as ‘Church commits to tackle loneliness in (insert town/village/region) with delicious dinners and a cup of comfort’. Making the area front and centre is important for local media, so they can see quickly that the story relates to their ‘patch’.
- Start the release with what you are actually doing, and who your project will benefit and how; and how the funding will help. A press release is not a diary entry; the most interesting information needs to be right at the top!
- Include a short quote from someone leading the church/charity project focused on what’s good about your project and what your grant will enable you to achieve. Alternatively, ask a service user/member of your congregation or community who will benefit from the project/work for a quote, and don’t forget to ask your funder for a quote too!
- Keep it concise. Set yourself a limit of 400-500 words. If a reporter wants to know more, they can give you a call or e-mail (don’t forget to include contact details at the end)
- Photos are a must and, ideally, they should have people in them. So, if you’re putting in a new kitchen, try to include a photo of people serving/preparing meals, not just an empty room.
If you’re doing something innovative, transformational and/or a little quirky, there’s nothing stopping you approaching the national media or specialist relevant trade titles too, but in this case, it’s better to send a brief pitch (around 100 words) with a concise overview of your project to canvas their interest, and include your contact details. It’s even harder to get a bite in this arena though, so don’t be afraid to follow-up with an e-mail a few days later if you haven’t heard anything back.