Case Story

A Show of Strength

Here's how our PR expert brought the media spotlight to a massive gun violence prevention rally in Pennsylvania.

Background

Pennsylvania not-for-profit CeaseFirePA aims to end the epidemic of gun violence, claiming more than 1,500 lives each year in the Commonwealth.

The small staff was organizing what was to become the biggest gun violence prevention rally ever in Pennsylvania, an event that was sure to get noticed by elected officials. But to get the change they sought, CeaseFirePA also needed to grab the attention of people in contested districts. People who vote. Therefore, they hired Dave Scholnick, a media expert to help with PR.

Challenge

CeaseFirePA saw an opportunity to mount a massive action in support of legislation to reduce gun violence. But that alone wouldn’t draw statewide media coverage to a demonstration in Harrisburg, PA.

If hundreds turned up in Harrisburg, CeaseFirePA would get the attention of politicians, but to make a real impact, they needed to communicate with voters across the Commonwealth.

However, CeaseFirePA didn't have the staff and resources to deploy a media strategy across the state. And the turnout projections kept growing, which meant CeaseFirePA's staff was stretched thin.

Solution

CeaseFirePA hired media and communications expert, Dave Scholnick, communications expert, to help attract broad press coverage and penetrate hyper-local media markets.

Dave worked with Executive Director Shira Goodman to craft a strategy to garner media attention in big markets and hometown stories in key suburbs. They submitted multiple op-eds to big and medium newspapers and leveraged relationships to ensure the story landed in the right hands.

Next, Dave pitched several of the bus pickups as their own stories to a deep list of large and local news outlets. He distributed talking points to designated volunteer coordinators on each bus and issued targeted local media advisories with logistical details.

“Dave recognized our needs and maximized our media coverage. His strategic writing and thinking amplified our voice and extended our reach. It moved our agenda forward."

— Shira Goodman, Executive Director, CeaseFirePA

Results

Pennsylvanians witnessed dramatic reports on television and radio in the state’s three biggest media markets. Readers woke up to stories in major metropolitan daily papers and small town weeklies across the state.

#EveryGunEverySale trended on Twitter during the rally.

One reporter in a key Philadelphia suburb covered the bus pickup and then rode with activists to Harrisburg for a front-page story in the Delaware County Daily Times.

The media push generated coverage across channels to a combined circulation, viewership, and listenership of more than 1.6 million Pennsylvanians.