Then, when I moved on to national newspapers, I saw the powerful way that connecting with millions of readers could help drive change. In one of the most high-profile campaigns I worked on, It saw me team up with retired boxer Frank Bruno to raise awareness around the stigma which exists in mental ill health. This campaign led to new Government policies being introduced including greater access to books and other supportive material in UK libraries for those experiencing depression, bipolar disorder and other associated mental health conditions. Now, Frank, through his Frank Bruno Foundation, has opened two of his very own centres and a third is planned for the near-future. These are places of refuge where those suffering ill health can get lifeline support.
One thing that always struck me when I was working on Fleet Street was the mantra which was drummed into reporters.
They were told: “Only think about launching a newspaper campaign you can win.”
I soon realised what this often meant was that many newspapers launching campaigns had done so following a “nod and a wink” from friends in high places that a major policy change was coming.
No harm in that, but it does underline that some newspaper campaigns aren’t always what you think.
My main issue with this mantra is that it risks putting some people off launching campaigns at all, because they will be fearful that if they don’t “win” there is no point in trying.
But there is one useful take-away from this mantra. And it’s this. Understand – from the outset – what your objective is.
What are you trying to “win”? What change are you attempting to bring? And what are your chances, realistically, of achieving it? If they are low, what other benefits might the campaign bring to you, and/or to your organisation?
Right now Magnify PR is supporting crusading solicitor Keeley Lengthorn in a campaign which has the highest of aims – to change the law.
Keeley, who lost three babies in the space of three years, is fighting for new rules that will ensure men and women who suffer child-loss, get statutory time off work like they do in New Zealand.
“Winning” this campaign will be tough. It will require many, many MPs to sign up in support. It could take years. It might not even happen. But for every day this campaign is active it is raising awareness. Keeley was recently named Solicitor Of The Year, and has appeared in countless publications and on TV and Radio talking about her crusade. She is shining a light and magnifying an issue which, for too long, has existed in the shadows. And that’s one of the key things any campaign should always seek to do from the outset.
For help launching a campaign contact us today.
By Nick Owens, founder Magnify PR and award winning campaigning journalist.