How charities can use programmes to raise their profile

Opportunities to work alongside production companies, as well as joining the existing conversation around relevant storylines in soap operas and TV and Radio programmes, films and documentaries, enable charities to increase awareness for their cause. Charities can piggyback with their content and messages.  But we’ve seen some missed opportunities and heard from our network that […]

Opportunities to work alongside production companies, as well as joining the existing conversation around relevant storylines in soap operas and TV and Radio programmes, films and documentaries, enable charities to increase awareness for their cause. Charities can piggyback with their content and messages.  But we’ve seen some missed opportunities and heard from our network that some of the reasons include lack of confidence, limited resource and skills. But it can have a big impact, so we’ve compiled some top tips for charities who want to use TV and Radio programmes to raise their profile.

Plan Ahead

If you are directly involved with the programme try to secure a preview or attend a pre-screening of the programme so that you can see the final cut, this will help you to form a more specific response.  If you’re not directly involved, broadcast details are normally released at least two weeks in advance – so take five minutes each week to look ahead at the schedules and see what’s coming up that’s relevant to your charity. Then get planning…

  • Talk to your team and create a question and answer document around the subjects of the programme. You can use this to prepare for social media conversations and comments for the press.
  • Pre-write tweets and social media posts to share during and after the show offering more information on the issue or point towards your services
  • Find out what the designated hashtag for the programme is and include in all pre-planned tweets
  • If you’re involved directly in the programme ask the broadcaster to name you in the credits and to put a link from their website to yours.
  • Focus on keywords used by the programme makers when planning search engine marketing.

Live-Tweeting

  • Follow the designated hashtag to listen to the conversations online, sometimes other hashtags will be used by the audience – so be flexible – use the hashtag that is trending to reach the most people
  • Add your opinions, retweet, and share information
  • Look at who else is tweeting, make connections with those that are influential online who commented on the programme.
  • Campaigner Dr Sara Ryan recently live-tweeted BBC Radio 4’s File on Four programme ‘Families versus the state: An unfair fight?’ putting a spotlight on inquests following the death of a loved one. She shared key points from the programme, adding her reflections

Post-Broadcast

Television is changing, with more and more people watching programmes on catch-up it’s worth re-sharing content post-broadcast. Here’s a few ideas of what you can do to keep the conversation going online:

  • Host a Twitter Q&A or Facebook Live where people who watched the programme and want to find out more have an opportunity to ask you questions. Make sure you publicise this ahead of time as well a during the broadcast so people know it’s happening.
    We saw a great example of this from Frances Crook, Chief Executive of The Howard League who hosted a Twitter Q&A following the broadcast of the Channel 4 documentary Crime and Punishment. It was shared by both The Howard League and Channel 4 and saw lots of engagement.

  • Share your reflections on the programme, relating it back to your work and pitch it to a media outlet, or alternatively share it on your own blog. This will then be a great piece of content that can be reshared.

We know that charities have limited resources so most won’t be able to respond to every programme, but these can be great opportunities to reach new audiences and also facilitate conversations. Remember, you’re an expert in the field so people will listen and retweet your comments.

Further reading:

Burcy Borysik, Revolving Doors: Context matters: How we worked with the producers of Crime and Punishment to highlight the ‘revolving door’ experience

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