We’ve all been seeing images of the recent U.S. flood and tornado devastation; if you’ve wondered how you might help horses in need and their owners or what you can even do, wonder no more. At the same time, you can see a bang-up PR campaign that’s getting underway, and learn from it in the process.
Horse World Gives Back is a campaign to do just that – allow the horse world an avenue to help other equestrians and horsebiz owners in need due to disaster. This fundraising drive centers around a 3-hour Horse Radio Network Radiothon on June 6, 2011, and a Retail Day the following day, June 7th. Donations will go through the U.S. Equine Disaster Relief Fund and the Red Cross.
As for the part about learning from their PR campaign, I think Horse World Gives Back is doing a great job so far. Here’s a breakdown of the parts:
- A timely topic that’s likely to be interesting to equestrian media and their readers, viewers, and listeners
- A well-branded, interesting event to promote
- Tools to help the equine media tell the story
- Completely set up for social media sharing
- Ways to sign up, and recognition of those committing to help
A Timely Topic
Looking at this campaign purely from a news and PR view, it’s a story that’s on the minds of most these days. Major news outlets are covering tornado and flood issues on a daily basis. Add in the public’s desire for more information and updates on this top-of-mind story, plus the desire of many to help others in need, and the possibilities are wide open for ongoing news coverage and a good chance for Horse World Gives Back to be picked up as a media story.
A Well-Branded & Interesting Event
Despite coming together quickly as an event, Horse World Gives Back is well-branded, with a strong visual identity. The charities collecting the funds are well-known and respected (Red Cross, U.S. Equine Disaster Relief Fund). We’re all familiar with the concept of a telethon or dance-a-thon, but a horse industry radiothon could be a first, upping the newsiness.
Equine Media Tools
All news media are time-pressed and on deadline. It’s important to give journalists (and bloggers) the facts and tools they need to tell your story. Horse World Gives Back has set up an excellent Media resource on the official website, giving a well-written press release in two versions (a PDF document, and a web version); official logo JPG files in several sizes; additional click-thru web graphics; and social media text options.
There’s also a ‘listen to the radiothon’ link to the Horse Radio Network Radiothon Player; anyone can add it to their website, giving visitors a way to listen to the radiothon broadcast.
The only things I’d add would be a selection of several photos, and an explanation about the official Twitter hashtag. Here’s why:
- Photos would provide a visual to help illustrate the dire need and provide a ‘call to action’ for viewers, but they could be difficult to come by. There’s also the issue of copyright and paying the photographer, unless the images were donated; in lieu of images, it’s good they have the logo available.
- Due to its nature, Twitter is an excellent social media tool for breaking news. ‘Hashtags’ are words that, when combined with the # sign, become live, active links – click on one, and it will take you to a stream of all other tweets or posts with that same hashtag. In the case of Horse World Gives Back, the official hashtag is #horserelief, but depending on your goals you could select a more branded one, such as #HWGB or #HorseWorldGivesBack. It’s a good idea to have a short hashtag, but longer ones can work, too.
Not only has Horse World Gives Back provided social media (Twitter, Facebook) tools in their Media area, they’ve also included buttons to connect you directly to their own Twitter and Facebook accounts, AND they’ve included a livestream of the official #horserelief Twitter hashtag, so you can see the Twitter traffic streaming by. In our networked world, social media is crucial in a time-sensitive campaign like this, to get the word out quickly.
Ways to Participate, Commitment Sign-Up & Recognition
Not only has Horse World Gives Back provided a sign-up for retailers participating in the Retail Day, they’ve built-in a sign-up for the equine media outlets, websites, and blogs that will commit to promoting the event as Affiliates. Both result in a clickable list of participants, recognizing their commitment to help.
There’s also a Participate link, giving everyone who wants to a chance to take part and spread the word to promote the fundraiser.
In The End…
The final success of this fundraiser will be in the dollars raised to help horses and people affected by these recent natural disasters. However, Horse World Gives Back has built in all the tools for a successful word-of-mouth PR campaign, so I wouldn’t be surprised if that success is a big one.
Please consider how you can participate in, tell others about, and donate to Horse World Gives Back. Even if you can only give a little, it adds up. If all horsefolk joined forces on this one, think of the difference we’d make! Learn more about Horse World Gives Back here.
Disclosure note: I’ve been helping Horse Radio Network with some promotion for this event on a pro bono basis. In case you were wondering.