Yesterday, I felt that I could really see the results of my work this summer. eHomemakers issued its first newsletter reaching out to friends and supporters. While they were skeptical at first, I think the positive responses they have already received have made the journey worthwhile for all of us.
Up until this point, eHomemakers had sent out very few external communications to show outsiders what a great job they were doing. They were too modest for their own good. But, of course, if you want people to find out about you, a little self-promotion is called for, particularly when you’re heading into searches for funding.
So, I’ve spent much of this summer helping them take their first tentative steps in the direction of marketing and public relations. I created a mini (by mini, I mean 20 page) marketing and PR manual that went into the basics of press release and newsletter creation (I have my previous employers at UTC and Sterling to thank for this). I talked about the definition of “news,” different types of stories that would be appropriate for their work, and how to piggy-back off of other, related, news items. I showed examples of press releases and newsletters and talked about the basic inverted-pyramid structure of a news story just like h-t. We talked about how to highlight the success of our work for readers.
Although I know it was scary, I’m so happy with how the entire team pitched in. The web editor dove into her new responsibilities of creating a “Friends of eHomemakers” newsletter, directed at current (and hopefully future) sponsors and other friends who have helped eHomemakers get to where it is today. She drafted articles quickly and listened to my comments as I discussed putting more important information at the top, rather than hiding it at the bottom of a story. Each article I received from her was better than the last.
The rest of the team started forwarding her updates on projects they were working on and giving suggestions on possible “success” stories. And we even noticed how everyone on staff seemed to have absorbed some of the techniques, as their outgoing emails to contacts took on a particular flair for the dramatic that lured people in with a simple turn of phrase.
When it came time to hit the “send” button, the web editor told me her fingers went cold – she was that nervous about the response. Aah, but there was no need, because we soon got calls and emails from contacts that had been dormant, volunteering to help. Suddenly, the office is alive with new vitality as we work to coordinate the different offers and suggestions.
And I am so happy that my broken record nagging about the potential positive impact of press releases and outreach has worked out. I’m sure they were just dying for me to stop talking about it. Of course, I realize this is just a small step, but it feels like a fantastic leap to me. As always, there is much to do and many more things to work on, but for the moment, I’m reveling in this one small success.
Posted By Melissa Muscio (Malaysia)
Posted Aug 3rd, 2006