Simple but effective use of online and social media to enhance a news story

Not-for-profit organisation WREN awards grants to community, heritage and conservation projects UK-wide. WREN needed to generate applications for its £10m Biodiversity Fund – but as the fund was not new the challenge for Tribe was to create media interest in the story.

Tribe planned a traditional photo call with Daniel Roche from BBC’s sitcom Outnumbered at Froglife, one of the projects which had benefited from WREN’s funding. Shots of cheeky Daniel getting up close and personal with a friendly frog created amusing photography – but Tribe also filmed the photo call to create a short video for online distribution.

In addition to sending the images and story to ‘traditional’ media, the photos and video were posted to WREN’s website and to Flickr and YouTube. Tribe used WREN’s Twitter account to tweet links directly at key journalists such as environment writers on the national newspapers, green bloggers, and presenters of outdoor and natural history programmes.

As the activity took place during the International Year of Biodiversity, Tribe used the the #biodiversity to identify WREN’s tweets to maximise the chances of people finding the story and the links.

On and off-line was far in excess of what could have been achieved using non-digital PR techniques.

  • AOL, MSN, Metro, Virgin, the PA, Third Sector and Google News all carried the story
  • The video was viewed 5,138 times  on YouTube
  • Visits to WREN’s website went up  by 17%
  • Links to the video were retweeted many times – including by @guardianeco to 18,978 followers
  • The Natural History Museum carried the story on its website, which gets up to 10,000 hits per month
  • The photos had almost 300 views on Flickr

Lisa Green, operations director at WREN said, “Tribe helped WREN reach a broader audience. Not only did it boost the number and quality of applications, but a wider range of organisations applied for funding as a result, including five we’d had no previous contact with.”

Total budget: under £7,000.


Creating engaging photo and video content for distribution online and targeted use of Twitter helped this ‘old’ news story gain a much broader reach than could have been achieved by simply issuing a press release and photo.

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