Timing is Everything
June 28, 2012 will be remembered as the day the Ronald McDonald Family Room opened at St. David’s Medical Center, right? Not really.
Although we planned the opening of the Ronald McDonald Family Room months in advance, it happened to be on the same day — and almost the exact same time — the Supreme Court finally ruled on health care law.
With an anticipated attendance of more than 50 people, we couldn’t change the date of our event once we learned of the Supreme Court’s expected ruling just days earlier.
On any other day, our event would likely have been a well-covered news event. The Ronald McDonald Family Room at St. David’s Medical Center provides a place of respite for families of babies in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Because St. David’s Medical Center’s NICU cares for so many babies — between 600 and 700 each year — this Ronald McDonald Family Room is the largest in the region.
Not only did this announcement impact a large number of people in our community, the event was very visual. We unveiled the beautiful, new room that looks and feels like a home. We had adorable babies! We had Ronald McDonald, himself! It doesn’t get more visual.
But we knew that with the biggest news announcement of the summer happening at the same time as our event, we couldn’t expect much media coverage. So, we did what PR people do, we worked hard for other means of news coverage.
In the days prior to the opening event on June 28, we secured coverage by three local television stations (just in case no one could come to the actual event). And even with the announcement from the Supreme Court, we still had on-site media coverage from the local “pool” television station.
This media coverage was critically important to Ronald McDonald House Charities of Austin and Central Texas, which runs the Family Room at St. David’s Medical Center, because it is in need of volunteers to staff the room. This coverage helped to get the word out about this important need.
With multiple television stories — mission accomplished, and we hope the volunteer applicants come flooding in.
Timing is everything in news, and therefore, in public relations. But even with bad timing, if you have cute babies and a good relationship with local media, you can get lucky!-Kristin Marcum
Senior Vice President, Account Management
Elizabeth Christian Public Relations