We're doing a large pro bono project to help promote a very cool event: SwitchPoint 2013.

Of course, we planned a range of media relations activities, like broadly distributed news releases on the wire services; an op-ed campaign; and targeted pitches to selected reporters, editors and bloggers. But we also made sure we took opportunities to use news hooks, those gifts from on high that create a relevant link to whatever you're trying to get covered.

Last week, our state chamber of commerce announced its Vision 2030, a job growth and economic development initiative with  entrepreneurship and innovation as a major focus area. Happily, those areas also happen to be what SwitchPoint's about. So we jumped on the opportunity to ride the wave of coverage about the chamber's vision with two rapid-response activities:

  • Developing targeted pitches for a handful of local media, showing the conference as an example of eship and innovation in action.
  • Creating a series of tweets and social media status that linked the conference to the chamber's announcement

The pitch

Here's one of the pitches we created:

This morning the NC Chamber announced Vision 2030, a job growth and economic development initiative, at its annual meeting. One of the plan's four key elements is "entrepreneurship and innovation".

The SwitchPoint Conference (April 19-20 in Saxapahaw) will address those topics through the lens of global health and development. Produced by Chapel Hill's IntraHealth International, the event draws 350 innovators, entrepreneurs, funders, NGOs and other world-changers to collaborate on solutions to nagging problems in global health and development. This is its second year. Speakers from here in North Carolina and as far away as Africa will share and collaborate on innovations to make the world healthier. (Full news release here: bit.ly/SwitchPoint13).

IntraHealth and SwitchPoint sit at the intersection of two employment and economic drivers. Economics professor and author of The New Geography of Jobs Enrico Moretti estimates that each job in an innovation industry like technology and healthcare creates five other local jobs--about three times the average job in manufacturing, one of North Carolina’s former bread-and-butter sectors. North Carolina's global health sector alone added 7,000 jobs to the state's employment rolls in 2007, according to the Duke Global Health Institute.

I hope you'll consider reporting on the event, tweeting about it or posting it on your blog; I can connect you with sources, should you need them. And if you'd like to cover the event, I can secure press credentials.

The social content

Here are some of the tweets we developed. We shared with the communications team, asking them to revise and customize so we didn't drive people crazy with a bunch of identical tweets.

  • .@NCChamber says entrepreneurship & innovation drive economy. #SwitchPoint explores both thru global health lens event.switchpointideas.com
  • Global health spurs innovation and entrepreneurship, part of @NCChamber’s Vision 2030. Learn more @ #SwitchPoint: event.switchpointideas.com
  • How @IntraHealth spurs innovation and entrepreneurship (2 parts of @NCChamber’s plan to grow jobs): event.switchpointideas.com #SwitchPoint
  • .@IntraHealth brings #globalhealth #innovation to @HRBallroom in @saxapahaw w/ #SwitchPoint 4/19-20 event.switchpointideas.com cc @NCChamber

We got a mention on the local radio station and several of our social posts were retweeted and shared.

How do you leverage news hooks to extend your PR efforts?