Monthly Archives: May 2013


We all know a famous face can help grab some attention, particularly in the pages of the lifestyle magazines, so the temptation to recruit a celeb as a vehicle for your message is understandable.

famous faces

But despite the likely benefits, there are also many potential pitfalls in aligning your hard built brand with an individual in the limelight, so here are our top tips for working with celebrities.

  1. Think about what a celebrity can really offer your organisation. What value will they add? If it’s not likely to be significant, the risks possibly outweigh the benefits.
  2. Be realistic about who you can get.
  3. Do your research. Take the time to find out if there are any potential conflicts of interest or hypocrisies in your celebrity’s personal interests, lifestyle or other commitments.
  4. Be clear on the role you want them to play when you approach them. Keep things specific and simple and agree the detail of their involvement upfront.
  5. Introduce your celebrity to your service users and frontline staff if you can. Establishing a more personal connection will make them a far more passionate representative and could forge a more long-term relationship.
  6. Remember to put contingency plans in place. Famous faces can let you down at the last minute as they have so many pressures on their time.
  7. Bad behaviour or new revelations about their personal life can quickly have a negative effect on your brand, so make sure you have a crisis management plan in place.
  8. Bear in mind that celebrities have a shelf life (especially reality TV stars) and the media are always looking for something new. It is good to keep celebrities on board but each campaign is different and may need a new celebrity to promote it.
  9. Charities should not pay a celebrity for their time but should cover their expenses.
  10. And remember, celebrities aren’t the only way to get noticed, and they should only be used if they have a genuine interest in the charity and its work.


It’s not unusual for us to be briefed to launch a report with a couple of weeks’ notice. Or to develop a campaign ready to be rolled out in a month or so.

That’s fine; it’s always do-able.

But we are currently working on an initiative with a much longer lead-in. There are many benefits of course. Honing the strategy, creating plenty of content, working in different mediums, involving a wider range of partners.

And working far enough ahead to tie up long-lead features so that their publication coincides with short-lead coverage, for maximum impact.

If you’re targeting weekend supplements, consumer magazines or professional titles, our team’s top tips will help:

  • Long-lead content is written weeks or months in advance of publication, so get your planning done and allow yourself plenty of time
  • Check lead-times, deadlines and publication dates, to make sure you integrate all your coverage to appear at the same time
  • Think carefully about the content needed by long-lead titles, as it’s very different to newsier, more immediate dailies, online and broadcast media; you’ll need to do more than circulate a tweaked version of a news release
  • Your approach needs to be different too; this is about discussing ideas and working with the features commissioner, then generating content to fit
  • And remember, no two magazines are going to run identical features, so find out what works best for individual titles and their readers, and tailor your ideas accordingly

More tips and guides on our website. Contact us via the blog or on Twitter @amzpr.


This afternoon, we’ve been taking part in a Guardian Voluntary Sector Network live Q&A on ways in which charities can share best practice.

The discussion has focused on what constitutes best practice (who gets to decide?), how to harness it, what methods are most effective for sharing it, and whether it can best work through virtual networks or face-to-face.

One of the most interesting points was raised by David Hopkins of CAF, who asked how we become brave enough to share what doesn’t work, the horror stories.

He mentioned a report from one organisation, which included 15 case studies of where they’d got it wrong or had to adapt their approach pretty quickly. This is to be applauded, as we can learn so much from our mistakes, as long as our organisational culture allows us to use them as a springboard to success.

Most participants in the discussion mentioned social media platforms they find useful, but also stressed the need to take responsibility, be engaged and find connections.

Marie Faulkner from NCVO summed up nicely: ‘…be honest, open and most of all active – don’t keep your thoughts hidden, help inspire others to talk openly too.’

Let us know what you think, via the blog or on twitter @amzpr.


Many people, including charity trustees, chief executives and finance directors, think of PR and fundraising as intrinsically linked – that if you generate lots of media coverage, you will see a surge in donations.

If only things were that simple.

In reality, there are many stages between someone hearing about, or reading about, your organisation and its work, and them making a decision to support you with their precious time or money. The role of PR is to bridge that gap, in close partnership with the fundraising team.

That partnership is vital, but too often PR and fundraising teams seem to misunderstand each other, or to work in their own separate worlds, avoiding rather than embracing opportunities to combine forces.

We’ve explored the role PR plays in fundraising in one of our free Guides, with an emphasis on how both sides can work in harmony together.

As with all our guides, we’d be interested to hear your thoughts – contact us via the blog, or tweet us @amzpr.