The Opportunity: launch a successful national media relations campaign for advocacy nonprofit National Center for Learning Disabilities’ biannual “State of Learning Disabilities” report
The National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD), a policy and advocacy resource aimed at improving the lives of the 1 in 5 children and adults nationwide with learning and attention issues, compiles a one-of-a-kind, biannual report called the “State of Learning Disabilities.” When NCLD initially published its first “State of LD” report in 2015, the organization relied on sending out a news release with a wire distribution service. As a result, coverage of the report was minimal. NCLD retained Schneider Associates (SA) to secure national and regional media coverage for the 190-page report.
- NCLD lacked brand awareness and the media needed to be educated about the organization and its mission
- The comprehensive report was the compilation of statistics from around the country, but did not contain breaking news or original research
- Reporters needed to be convinced that learning disabilities was an important topic and educated how LD affects 1 in 5 people in the United States
Campaign goals included:
- Build awareness for and advance the NCLD brand locally, regionally and nationally
- Position and maximize exposure for NCLD experts as sources on learning disabilities/learning and attention issues
- Establish the State of LD 2017 Report as the authoritative source for information about learning disabilities and learning and attention issues
- Break down the stigma surrounding these “invisible disabilities” and shine a light on the more than 60 million people in the U.S. who have them
Our Approach: SA created both a national and local media strategy built around two themes:
1) 1 in 5 people in the United States are coping with learning and attention issues; and 2) the report is a valuable tool in telling the LD story, especially in light of the Endrew F.Supreme Court decision which ruled it wasn’tenough for school districts to offer minimal instruction forstudents with disabilities.
We wrote an executive summary, message guide, and elevator pitch to help NCLD leadership prepare for media interviews.
For the national strategy, we crafted pitch letters for top tier outlets and education trade publications and called reporters and producers personally to discuss the report and how it might fit into their coverage.
SA capitalized on the State Snapshots to secure local media coverage. We created media lists for all 50 states and sent 50 different news releases and pitches to print, online, TV, and radio in each state. Additionally, our team followed up with an extensive phone campaign to every outlet to explain the state data and how it was relevant to their audiences.
It was a gargantuan and logistically challenging undertaking – calling and emailing more than 1,000 media outlets – but it got results.
SA also inserted NCLD into the national conversation when the Endrew F.decision was handed down by the Supreme Court. SA immediately sent out quotes from NCLD president Mimi Corcoran to national media covering the story.
The Results: SA introduced NCLD to more than 1,000 reporters and secured 32 media placements and 258 total online postings.
In carrying out the above strategy, SA secured organic placements in the following outlets for State of LD and Endrew F.,with more than 155 million Unique Monthly Visitors:
NPR, Politico, The Atlantic, Education Week, U.S. News/World Report, KIOS (NPR Omaha)
ADDitude Magazine, T.H.E. Journal, Seattle Times, WDEL, Wyoming Tribune, Times-News Online,
LRP, WIBW-13, Journal Tribune, The Oklahoman, Tulsa World, NH1, Washington Times,
Houston Chronicle, Dickinson Press, 24 Online News, WLBZ-2, WCSH-6, Bristol Herald Courier,
Dyscalculia Headlines, The Times-Picayune, The Sun Herald, WAFB-TV, FOX44,
Partners Resource, WVLA-TV, and Associated Press – Maine
- SA secured an exclusive national media placementwith Education Week (1,406,776 Unique Visitors per Month) with Christina Samuels writing solely about the “State of LD” in the Special Education section of the website
- Media placements in Politico, The Atlantic, and NPR about the Endrew F.Supreme Court case had a total reach of 69,940,866
- Introduced NCLD to more than 1,000 reporters SA contacted by email and phone, which means they are more likely to call NCLD when stories about learning disabilities pop up
- 32 total organic media placements across all 50 states (more than 84,571,029 UMVs)
- 258 total online postings stemming from the national press release on Business Wire,with a potential reach of 78,400,000 people
- 7 social media mentions from parent bloggers, with a combined reach of 256,275
- Created copy for an organic social media publishing calendar surrounding the launch of the “State of LD”