Case Study: Center for Policing Equity

How do you get national media attention for a groundbreaking project and its innovative creator – a young scientist and a nonprofit with a modest budget that still wants to make a great impact?

Goals:

  • Announce the client as the recipient of a prestigious, multi-year grant from the National Science Foundation
  • Create a national platform for the organization through earned media
  • Establish the organization’s leadership as subject-matter experts internationally

Plan:

  • Create and manage a custom press list to grow media interest and engagement with the organization
  • Develop an internal rapid response protocol for the organization to ensure it is a voice in relevant breaking news
  • Aggressively pursue and secure media interviews to get exposure for the project and its principals
  • Establish and grow the organization’s online influence through social media

If a tree falls in the woods, and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?

The Center for Policing Equity (CPE) and its cofounder/president Dr. Phillip Atiba Goff were that tree.  The National Science Foundation had just awarded it a million-dollar grant to create the nation’s first database tracking police profiling and use of force statistics year-round, but no one knew.  They partnered with SJS Consultants (SJSC) to ensure they would be able to effectively communicate to the media and market about their database.

Before working with SJSC, Dr. Goff had minimal media interviews and CPE very little media coverage.  They were on shows and with outlets that didn’t reach the organization’s desired audience and their execution undermined Dr. Goff’s expertise.

SJSC began by conducting a media audit and analysis of the organization’s exposure.  We monitored, reviewed, and shared pointers for improvement on existing media hits – from how to engage with the networks they wanted, to answering challenging questions, and  how attire can impact your message– as well as the organization’s website and lack of social media presence.

Following the initial audit, SJSC devised a media plan that would introduce CPE to the new audiences it wanted to reach.  In nine months, we more than quadrupled their previous annual media impressions with nearly 70 impressions including television, radio, online, and print interviews and quotes covering local and national markets.

Next we got to work helping CPE insert its voice in national breaking news.  We provided a custom press list of reporters and news outlets that would care about CPE’s thought leadership and projects.  We then created an internal process to write, vet, and distribute press releases and press statements. Since they began their rapid response process, their statements and releases have been quoted or reprinted on sites like PR Newswire and by organizations like the NAACP.  And their press list is up to more than 1,000 opted-in journalists and news influencers.

To further expand their reach in the second year of our partnership, SJSC established and managed Twitter and Facebook accounts for the organization.  In the first two months, SJSC collected more than 100 Twitter followers for CPE and its Facebook likes reached the same number in the first quarter. Traction to the CPE website increased via tweeted and liked social media posts.

While our work with the Center for Policing Equity continues, SJS Consultants’ PR, communications, and media support has helped CPE net nearly $1 billion in new funding since our partnership began through strategic and widespread media exposure supporting the work of its cofounders and principals.  CPE and Dr. Goff are now regular guests on MSNBC; have been featured in outlets like The New York Times, NPR, PBS, and The Wall Street Journal; and have contributed op-eds to CNN, The Huffington Post, and The New York Times. In addition, their work is now internationally known and cited with media hits in the United Kingdom, Denmark, and Canada.