South West partnerships join forces
for RSS media skills event
Safer roads partnerships from the South West joined forces last week to learn more about working with the media to improve road safety, putting their new skills to use the very next day.
Colleagues from the Peninsula Road Safety Partnership, the Devon and Cornwall Police No Excuse Team, Gloucestershire Road Safety Partnership and GoSafe Wales attended the Road Safety Support (RSS) Media Skills Workshop in Exeter on Wednesday.
Delivered by RSS Data Analyst, Jan Sjorup, and Media and Marketing Manager, Rebecca Morris, the interactive event focused on the importance of working proactively with the news media and using social media to amplify messages.
The attendees, which included managers, police officers, enquiry officers and camera operators, learned about how to write and publicise news releases, how casualty data can provide a constant supply of newsworthy stories and the benefits of carrying out joint media campaigns.
The morning after the event, the Peninsula Road Safety Partnership posted a message on Twitter highlighting a key fact from the casualty data provided during the workshop to the media.
Within a matter of hours, the Tweet had been delivered to 4500 Twitter accounts, after being picked up by several media outlets and being retweeted by police forces in the UK, Lebanon and India.
Abi Bedson, who put out the Tweet, said: “It really worked! Totally delighted and very enthused by it!”
Since then, Abi and colleagues from the partnership have put out a number of different messages to the media, including a news release which has been covered widely by the media in Devon.
The workshop is particularly useful for partnerships and forces that do not have a full-time marketing or communications manager, but would like to publicise their work through the media.
It is also a useful refresher for road safety communications managers who would like to learn more about writing for the media. It gives partnerships the knowledge and the confidence to make full use of the 'free' marketing tools available to them.
By working effectively with the media alongside enforcement activities, partnerships can help to change public perceptions and deter dangerous behaviour on the roads.
The attendees took away a number of actions from the workshop and are planning to form a South West partnerships' communications group to develop joint campaigns.
What the attendees said:
Dafydd Newton-Evans, Marketing & Communications Manager for GoSafe, said: “The Media Skills Workshop was a fantastic opportunity to learn about what colleagues across other forces and partnerships were doing to communicate road safety messages to the public.
“It was interesting to learn about various campaigns and techniques and the various exercises we undertook really helped to develop my skills and gave me a fresh outlook on some aspects of marketing and communicating with the press and media especially.
“It was a really worthwhile day and was very valuable in terms of seeing how partnerships can work together on strengthening road safety messages.”
Jon Farr, Manager of the Peninsula Road Safety Partnership, said: “I found the day helpful, getting better the more it focused on communications and data practices, and using the real examples of how we might approach specific stories.”
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