Planting A Seed For Media Coverage

Client: YWCA Sprout School’s Press Kit

Tactics: Social Media

Strategy: creating a press kit as unique and iconic as the new school’s name, brand and curriculum: The Sprout School

Outcomes: Media Coverage

When two of Richmond’s most respected nonprofits partnered to create a unique preschool to be housed in a children’s museum, they needed a press kit that was just as unique to encourage the media to attend a press conference announcing the initiative. Named The Sprout School, the program grew out of a partnership between the YWCA and Children’s Museum. A research program, followed by strategic planning, became the foundation for a press kit that would plant a seed of what the news was. Envision a children’s wooden toolbox, with a live plant, school supplies, a press folder, and sticker.

Primary research was gathered through meetings with the YWCA’s and Children’s Museum’s leadership, PR and marketing departments. This helped us understand the vision and theme of The Sprout School, as well as the new school’s value message that needed to be communicated.

We also researched the launch of other preschools in the country via Internet searches. This also revealed how other schools utilized social media to get the attention of reporters.

Armed with the goal of using media relations to generate as much publicity and attention of the school’s opening as possible and grow enrollment, we utilized the strategy of creating a press kit as unique and iconic as the new school’s name, brand and curriculum: The Sprout School. The result was a press kit made out of a colorful children’s toolbox that included small plants that played off the “sprout” theme, a terracotta pot with school supplies, a folder with a media advisory, press release and fact sheet about the school and its curriculum. Research identified that the school’s “Reggio Emilia-inspired” curriculum had its own brand and color pallet, which we matched with our press kit.

We were challenged with the issue of how to create a social media buzz before the press conference. The solution was to create a sticker that read: “Plant a pic on social media and watch it grow, use the hashtag #SproutWithYWCA to let people know.” to post a photo of the press kit on social media.

We strategically split the media distribution sites by location and familiarity with the news staff. We traveled to hand deliver nine press kits/toolboxes to reporters so we could see their reaction and answer questions. This resulted in a positive first impression of the new school by the media and added incentive for the reporters to cover the press conference. Each press kit cost $28 completed, which was included in a budget of $3,000 for the entire scope of work.

We saw an immediate reaction from some of the media via photos of the kit on their social media networks. The press conference was highly attended by the media with more than 30 placements generated, resulting in 34 million impressions. Emails from the client revealed that the school received a $10,000 donation during the press conference and had maxed enrollment within 30 days of the announcement.