The Guiding Lights Weekend, held annually in March, brings together hundreds of leaders and changemakers in an exciting, energetic, hands-on conference unabashedly focused on great citizenship. Guiding Lights Network, which organizes this dynamic event, specializes in the art of gathering, creating experiences that spark civic imagination and social change.
In February 2012, Guiding Lights Network began working with Nyhus Communications on public relations and communications planning and execution in advance of The Guiding Lights Weekend in March 2012. Nyhus believed there was a story to tell in both traditional and social media around the mission of engaging active citizenship, in addition to the story as an annual Seattle event.
In an effort to generate visibility and drive increased attendance to The Guiding Lights Weekend, Nyhus developed a comprehensive messaging strategy that consisted of raising awareness of Guiding Lights Network as an organization. This was accomplished through focusing on a targeted combination of media outreach and social media to maximize visibility of The Guiding Lights Weekend and its messages. In advance of the conference, Nyhus researched local media outlets that covered similar topics such as citizenship, civic engagement, imagination and social change. Nyhus began outreach in February, crafting custom pitches to targeted reporters. Throughout media outreach, Nyhus emphasized photo opportunities as well as interview opportunities with Eric Liu, the organizer of The Guiding Lights Weekend, and other luminaries such as Van Jones, Jose Antonio Vargas and holocaust survivor Gerda Weissmann Klein. Nyhus integrated social media directly into media relations counsel, informing reporters of the event’s Twitter hashtag throughout media outreach and recommending reporters for Guiding Lights to interact with on Twitter.
Nyhus’ efforts resulted in 3 total pieces of local top-tier coverage, including Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Seattle Times and Northwest Asian Weekly. For the first time in three years, The Guiding Lights Weekend broke attendance records and sold out. Nyhus expanded the reach of the online conversation on The Guiding Lights Weekend by live tweeting from @nyhus throughout the event, contributing to a high volume of live tweeting. One of Nyhus’ tweets reached more than 30,000 followers through retweets.