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Generating Traffic Through Charity Projects And Community Involvement

By George McKenzie
Posted Tuesday, September 21, 2004

You've heard the saying a gazillion times:

"Charity begins at home."

But in this age of mass media, charity that begins at home can also proceed straight to your bottom line--by generating traffic to your web site or your business.

And best of all, the mass media--especially the news media-- are ready, willing, and more than able to partner with you.

Charity events and stories about community involvement appeal to the media for a couple of reasons.

1. They're very sensitive to criticism that "You only want to show bad news," and will make every effort to show uplifting, positive stories whenever possible.

2. It's in their best interest to build goodwill by taking part in community events.

3. In the case of radio and TV stations, they MUST show that they're serving the community. Otherwise, their FCC license would be in jeopardy.

4. For the most part (there are exceptions), they're good-hearted people who WANT to help others.

So, when you want to generate new traffic or more traffic to your business or web site, consider hosting a fundraiser for a charity or community organization. Let the media know you're involved through a news release. It's often a good idea to ask a high profile person from the media to be your honorary chairperson.

Also, if possible, offer the media a story about someone who has benefited from the charity. If you can "humanize" the work the charity is doing, "put a human face on it" so to speak, your chances of getting coverage (that is, publicity), will skyrocket.

And don't forget to look for opportunities to pre-publicize your event, especially on radio talk shows.

Fundraisers and events that benefit the community amount to a win-win-win situation. Obviously, the charity gets money and attention to their cause, the station or newspaper gets points for its community spirit, and you get publicity that would have cost you thousands of dollars if you had to pay for it.

Early in my radio career, one of my friends used to sign off his show every day by telling his listeners this:

"Remember, do good and you'll always do well."

It's true in life. It's especially true when you want to get free publicity in the media.

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