A couple of days ago I published a story titled: Did You See The Positive Senior Living Story? – A Huge Payoff. I saw the story when it first aired and thought “Wow, they got lucky to get a story like that!” But then I wondered if there was perhaps more to the story.
I recently had a conversation with Rob Lucarelli, director of communications for Judson Services, Inc. about how this all came about and it turns out there was nothing accidental about this story appearing in the national media.
The first thing to know is that this story received national media attention because Judson Manor took deliberate steps to make it happen. It was not some magically lucky stroke of events where a CBS producer uncovered the story and filmed it. This is the process they went through:
- Most important #1: Whether national or regional media, they are all looking for powerful, authentic, emotional stories. The challenge is that they get pitched with dozens to hundreds of stories every week, most of which are duds.
- Most Important #2: They were able to recognize that this was a powerful, newsworthy story. Every senior living community has lots of great stories. Some are great locally, some could be great for local and regional media and occasionally there are stories that are so powerful that national media will grab hold.
While it is possible for a community to plan a story that would be worthy of national press it is more likely you will have something that organically happens for the residents, then recognize it as powerful enough to get this kind of publicity.
- Outline a Plan: As the Judson marketing team started thinking about this, they set a goal of getting this story into the national media. They were very specific. They wanted Wall Street Journal, New York Times or one of the major television networks.
- The Right Resources: Judson knew they needed someone or an organization with the right contacts to make this happen. They created a budget to make this happen then invited three PR agencies to pitch them on getting the publicity they were looking for.
The PR agency did two things for Judson Manor: They helped create a pitch that would have the highest possibility of attracting the right media. They also had the right contacts and credibility with the media which is what made the difference.
Ultimately the story was pitched and accepted, then filmed and aired. It had immediate and near-term impact as described in the first story and it will be something the sales and marketing team can continue to use for years to come.