The past two earned media assignments I led for clients were enhanced significantly by the use of Twitter hashtags.
As part of the media outreach strategy, Asher Agency recommended using a Twitter hashtag (one was in place and the other we created) to give all stakeholders and our agency’s staff a rallying cry to tweet, retweet, like and reply to others about the key messages and calls to action.
We started promoting the use of the hashtags early in the planning process, reminded allies throughout the media pitching phase and used it often in thanking reporters and publications/networks that ran our stories. The hashtags also helped easily track media coverage and created a healthy dialogue that continued well after the issuance of the news releases.
My Asher colleague in both projects, Faith Van Gilder in our Fort Wayne, IN, office, tweeted photos and messages both during the media conferences and throughout the day. She also forwarded photos with suggested tweets to client stakeholders during the day for them to post on social media. Asher’s experienced digital team tracked the results online and supplied the analytics below as part of the project summary.
American College of Sports Medicine American Fitness Index – #FitCityIndex
At 12:01 a.m. May 18 the ninth annual American Fitness Index (AFI) was released by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the Anthem Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Anthem, Inc. Washington, D.C., closely followed by Minneapolis-St. Paul and Denver, were the three fittest of the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the U.S.
The annual AFI data report — http://americanfitnessindex.org/report/– has proven to be a valuable assessment and evaluation tool to educate community leaders on the importance of key indicators of physical activity. Leaders can then focus on policy, systems and environmental change strategies that are evidence-based and create sustainability for the community.
Therefore, media coverage and community engagement using the annual AFI results has grown each year. USA Today, The Washington Post, the Today Show, all television networks, the Weather Channel, local newspapers and websites, broadcast networks, IHeart Radio, and dozens of health/fitness and business websites, academic institutions and others digest the AFI and report its diverse conclusions and recommendations.
National Physical Activity Plan Alliance – #ActivityPlan2016
The new U.S. National Physical Activity Plan (NPAP) was unveiled April 20 at the National Press Club, building upon the initial plan that the NPAP Alliance released in 2010 as a roadmap for actions supporting and encouraging physical activity among all Americans.
Russell Pate, Ph.D., chairman of the nonprofit NPAP Alliance, presented the plan, which was validated by speakers from the American College of Sports Medicine; American Heart Association; Tennessee Department of Health; President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition; Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute; and Joan Benoit Samuelson, Olympic gold medalist. All of these people and organizations enjoy a huge social media presence and followers.
The website offering the full 2016 National Physical Activity Plan — http://www.physicalactivityplan.org/index.html — lists the #ActivityPlan2016 hashtag that continues to be utilized in discussions about the plan, its elements and utilization. We webcast the Press Club release event, so that triggered questions from the media and general public using our hashtag. It greatly enhanced our media coverage from the new release and our pitching the story. Our partnering organizational partners and representatives from nine societal sectors – business and industry; community recreation, fitness and parks; education; faith-based settings; health care; mass media; public health; sport; and transportation, land use and community design — all leveraged the hashtag to share their participation in the new U.S. physical activity plan. The hashtag usage ramped up again as we organized a standing-room-only Congressional briefing to share the new U.S. plan and promote Members of Congress committing to employ physical activity policies on Capitol Hill.
For all of these reasons, we strongly encourage the use of Twitter hashtags as an essential component of promoting news announcements, communications and advocacy campaigns and events. #ashernewsandblog
————————————————————————–Mike Fulton directs the Washington, D.C. office of the Asher Agency (www.asheragency.com) and teaches a master’s level course in Public Affairs for West Virginia University’s Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) program. Connect with Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org,@hillrat1156 or on LinkedIn.