What we learned from Women’s March London’s #BringTheNoise
On July 14, 2018, the first day of Donald Trump’s much-discussed visit to the UK, a coalition of 35+ organizations and over 80K protestors, as well as MPs and celebrities came together in protest of the President’s policies in the diverse city of London, UK. Women from all over the world led the line as part of Women’s March London’s #BringTheNoise event.
Durrell Communications had the opportunity to manage media interest around the protest. Although our efforts took place remotely (from Waterloo, Ontario), we were able to execute pre-event traction, coordinate a press pen the day-of and monitor the many media hits that were attained. Here is what we learned:
1. Proactively reaching out to targeted media allows you to tell your own story.
Media tactics such as sending out event advisories and creating press releases with quotes from relevant spokespeople are critical when it comes to shaping your story for media outlets. When you offer important, timely and truthful information to media contacts, they are more likely to feature your perspective, providing you with more influence on the story told. In contrast, if you do not establish any form of communication with the media, they will often report the story as they or the public interprets it. Or worse – your opponents may saturate the headlines with negative information about your social cause and efforts. The key takeaways are to (1) establish an open and positive relationship with key media contacts before your event, (2) invite them to attend and (3) follow-up afterwards in case they need additional information or quotes.
2. Getting the word out about your event provokes groundswell of support.
In London, over 80K protestors gathered in the women-led march. The event had an immensely successful turnout. There was plenty of media attention surrounding the day’s events as a media advisory was prepared well in advance for both national and international media outlets. During the week-of, an additional news release was sent to important contacts, as well as a reminder to contacts who had already expressed interest. Pre-event media hype is critical when it comes to sharing your goals as an organization and encouraging the public’s participation on the day-of.
3. Providing media contacts with insider access improves their story and ensures organization amidst chaos.
For #BringTheNoise, a press pen was held at the rally stage. A press pen is a meeting point for invited media personnel, relevant spokespeople from key organizations and other celebrities or guests who can answer questions about the event. Before the event date, we were sure to inform all interested media exactly where the press pen was located, how they would have access and who they should contact if they ran into issues. This system made for coordinated media interactions where reporters got what they needed, and it wasn’t bedlam trying to find each other among thousands of attendees.
4. Establishing positive relationships with the media paves way for support on future campaigns.
By inviting relevant media to your event, generating a list of contacts to expect and networking with those contacts onsite, you have the opportunity to build connections and network for future support. As a result of the press pen at #BringTheNoise, several reporters provided business cards to the event organizers in order to receive future updates and information regarding Women’s March efforts. Now, when the next big event comes up you have some warm leads to call in.
Claire is a Media & Public Relations Strategist at Durrell Communications. She develops communications strategies, constructs key messaging and actively engages with local, national and global media contacts to share kick-ass stories on behalf of innovative changemakers.