Spreading the word

Spreading the word

Autumn 2023
Whilst we know what being a part of the BB means and what groups across the country do, more often than not, people in the wider community don’t really know what the BB is – or what it does! We’ve launched a new partnership with Refresh, a PR and communications agency, to help spread the word about what we’re doing in local communities nationwide.

Claire Newmarch, of Refresh PR, shares some ideas about how groups can use PR to increase awareness in their wider community and also encourage more people to join the organisation.

What is PR and Communications?

Public Relations (PR) refers to the messages which a business or organisation shares to raise brand awareness. No matter how big or small an organisation is, it will be more likely to flourish if it has a good reputation among its target audiences. Ultimately, PR helps to manage how others see and feel about an organisation.

PR is a very broad specialism and includes sharing an organisations news through a host of channels – including local and national newspapers, social media and third-party endorsements to name just a few!

Understanding your audience

Before you start working on any kind of communications activity, you need to be clear about who your target audience is.

Different people like to receive their news and updates in different ways, so understanding your target audience is really important!

The first step in understanding how to communicate with your target audience is knowing what you want the end result to be, what do you want to achieve?

For leaders across the country, the aim of external communications is to increase awareness of the amazing work BB does within the community, as well as increase the number of children and young people attending. This means your main target audience is likely to be parents/carers.

Once you’re aware of who you want to be communicating with, it’s time to think about what they want to be seeing, hearing and reading about.

Telling the BB story

We know that BB leaders are passionate about making The Boys’ Brigade the best it can be. At the moment, some groups share news with their local media and we want to help all leaders feel confident in knowing what makes a news story!

Consider how you use these key messages
  1. The Boys’ Brigade offers young people the opportunity to grow in to caring and confident individuals.
  2. The Boys’ Brigade offers a safe space for children and young people.
  3. Young people and volunteer leaders who attend The Boys’ Brigade learn new skills through experiences and opportunities.
  4. The Boys’ Brigade is a Christian youth organisation, providing opportunities and experiences within a nurturing environment, rooted in faith.

So, what makes a good news story for The Boys’ Brigade?

  • Shout about success
    With a range of events, activities and competitions for children and young people to get involved with there should be plenty of content to choose from. Plus, it will give the young people in the Company a sense of pride to see their successes and achievements shared.
  • Make sure it’s timely
    News travels fast, but so does the news agenda! What we mean by this is that newspapers like to receive updates as soon as possible on exciting local stories. As such, anything which you’re hoping to see in the local newspaper should be sent to the publication within the same week (where possible).
  • Talk about real people
    Within the BB there are so many young people and leaders who have interesting backgrounds. Media outlets, especially local newspapers, enjoy hearing about people in their local community and case studies are the perfect way to do this!
  • A strong visual element
    Readers of local newspapers like to see local people, so your story is more likely to make the paper if there’s an eye-catching image alongside it. Although, don’t forget to make sure you have consent for taking and using any pictures.
  • Showcase something fun and exciting
    We want to encourage as many children and young people to join BB as possible. To do this, the stories which they and their family see need to show that BB is an exciting place to spend time, learn new skills, and have fun.

Making the most of social media

Social media platforms, in particular Instagram and Facebook, are a brilliant way of speaking to parents/ carers in the local community, as well as directly to young people.

There are lots of BB groups already using social media to share the activities that their children and young people are getting involved with, however we want to help to grow the organisation’s presence on social media through engaging content.

Three top tips on using social media to increase engagement:

  1. Create engaging content
    Over the last few months, you’ll have seen the national BB social media channels sharing a lot more video content (see page 32). The reason we chose video content was we know this would engage the target audience. Having young people telling other young people about their experiences is much easier for them to understand and relate to. Remember young people are great ambassadors for a youth organisation.
  2. There’s a balance between posting enough and too much
    Social media platforms prioritise quality content over quantity of content. For this reason, you shouldn’t ever feel pressured to share content for the sake of it. Instead, all content should really shine a positive light on The Boys’ Brigade, and highlight the work the organisation is doing.
  3. Capture high quality, exciting content
    Peoples’ attention spans are getting shorter, so with this in mind, the content being shared should be able to communicate your key messages quickly and in an engaging way. Think good pictures, short captions and exciting themes!

What next?

We’re going to be sharing some resources for leaders over the coming months which we hope will help further with communicating what you do locally, as well as a themed programme for Seniors in the Autumn term resources.