18 Years of Media Coverage – in Two Years

Increasing earned media coverage of the Disney Teacher Awards was the key goal outlined when Disney Worldwide Outreach hired Tricom Associates to handle the media outreach starting with the 2005 awards. Despite the well-known brand name, the awards program was only garnering about 100 news stories each year. Tricom changed that, generating nearly 700 clips in 2005 and more than 1,300 in 2006.

We increased the media outreach with new story ideas, an expanded calendar (not relying only on the Gala), aggressive pitching and additional press releases generating better stories with clearer messages and an expanded overall reach for the program.

Tricom was a full partner with Disney’s communications staff for the awards program. In addition to hundreds of press releases and pitch calls, Tricom also:

  • Wrote and designed one-page bios for each teacher/teacher team;
  • Wrote introductions for each teacher for the program and for the awards show;
  • Prepared a media advisory for national, entertainment and LA-based media outlets;
  • Prepared all media advisories for satellite media tour, VNR (video feed) and live webcast; and
  • Wrote and disseminated letters to each teacher's U.S. senators, representative, governor and mayor.

Tricom booked and coordinated on-site media interviews with the honorees and their home media outlets, and provided individual media training for the teachers. We also worked with Disney photographers and serviced photos back to home newspapers and TV stations – at the beginning of the week and again after the Gala.

We booked and managed a four-hour satellite media tour from Cinderella's Castle, and produced and pitched a VNR video feed – overnight – with images and soundbites from the Gala, including brief interviews with each of the award-winning teachers. The VNR fed at 6 a.m. the following day.

Some highlights from 2006 results:

  • Most coverage for the program in a one-year period;
  • Increased coverage, more clips per teacher and better message control;
  • More than 1,300 Disney Teacher Awards news stories for the year;
  • Overall coverage doubled over 2005;
  • More than 300 news stories on the honoree announcements and Gala stories, generating nearly 12 million impressions from these clips alone;
  • More than 1,000 stories generated on nominees nationwide from the fill-in-the-blank press release disseminated with nomination packets, generating more than 32 million impressions (between December 2005-Spring 2006);
  • TV coverage remained strong, with more than 70 TV news stories recorded in 2006 (compared with 11 in 2004);
  • Roughly 75 percent of the teacher and Gala print stories were feature- or story-length (vs. a compilation of mentions and blurbs) and most contain the key message that Disney Teacher Award winners are celebrated for their creativity, innovative teaching methods and ability to inspire their students;
  • Stories per teacher increased from two in 2004 to seven in 2005 and more than nine in 2006.  As for the Teacher of the Year, the number of stories increased from seven in 2004 to nearly 30 in 2006; and
  • Each teacher received coverage.