Promotion is a vital aspect in all community projects. From the start of your CARES-funded project, through to installation and switching it on, you’ll want to promote it.
This might be to:
- kickstart your project with an event or a meeting
- generate ideas and plans
- be inclusive and involve more people, as per our Equalities Charter
- let people know the project is happening
- get more people to take up its benefits
- celebrate a milestone.
This section provides tips on how you might do this and messages that you could include. Don’t feel you need to do all these things. Pick those that are relevant and doable with the resources you have and the size and reach of your project.
When you’re promoting your project, you need to start by being clear on what you’re hoping to achieve. Who do you want to reach? What messages do you want to get out there and why? Do you want to inform people or engage them or do a mix of both? This will vary at different stages of the project.
What to promote
There are lots of things that you can promote.
- The story behind the project – why is your project important?
- The project’s aims – what are you hoping to achieve? What will the benefits be?
- The people – who is involved? You might want to name individuals and/or highlight the group leading work on the project.
- The project itself – this information will include the technology, the building(s), and its location.
- Sources of funding – any sources of funding, including CARES
- Any partner organisations or communities – include details of any organisations and communities that you have worked with.
- Ways that people can get involved – provide details about different ways that people can get involved in the project and at different stages.
- Project milestones – for example, when key milestones are completed.
Depending on the aims of your project, you may wish to link to wider messages and campaigns. These might include national messages such as Let’s Do Net Zero, the Just Transition, and locally-owned renewable energy. Other themes might include a green recovery after COVID-19, reducing energy costs, adapting to a changing climate, developing local skills, addressing fuel poverty or the cost of living.
Where to promote
Social media and websites
Consider social media that’s well used and popular in your area. This may be Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or TikTok. Use existing community accounts and consider whether a dedicated account about the project might be useful. Posting regular updates will keep people’s attention and help them track progress. Use photos and short videos to bring the project to life. Videos made on smart phones are fine!
You may also wish to set up a website if your project is large and will be running for a long time. Remember to have contact information on your website and keep it up to date with project events and milestones. You may also wish to link a regular newsletter to your website.
Posters and leaflets
Posters displayed in shop windows, local businesses, faith buildings, libraries and community buildings are a great way to let people know what’s happening. Try to ensure information on the posters is clear, accessible, and brief.
You may also want to have a leaflet to give to people at events. Keep the information on your leaflet/poster simple and remember to provide contact details. QR codes are useful for giving people rapid access to any information online.
Local radio, television, print and online media
Local media outlets are always on the lookout for community stories. Contact journalists or editors about your project; they’ll be interested in successful project milestones such as open days, the awarding of funding, or switching on your new renewable energy system. Human stories are important for local media, and you’ll usually be asked to provide photos (in landscape) for online or print media. Don’t provide photos that you don’t have permission to use and always credit the photographer.
Media releases are useful for big milestones or events that appeal to the public. Keep them simple. Remember to include the key information, quotes from a couple of people about your project, and remember to provide contact information including mobile phone numbers. Send your media release out at least a week before your event/milestone, earlier if you can. Ensure your contact person is available for interview for broadcast media. Advice on how to reference CARES in your media releases is in part one of our guide.
Does anyone do podcasts in your area? If so, get in contact with them. A podcaster might want to interview a couple of people from your project, either online or in person onsite.
Local events – your own or other people’s
You’ll probably want to run your own events onsite or nearby. However, you should also consider having a stall or information at other community events.
You may want to have a leaflet to give to people at events. See our guidance about leaflets and posters above.
Word of mouth
Tell people! Word of mouth is a great way to get your story out there.
Engage local politicians, businesses, schools, and other organisations
Local politicians and businesses can be great champions for local renewable energy projects. Get them on board. Local schools may want to get involved with practical and creative support such as poster designs and short films. You may also want to connect with your local community council, perhaps by presenting your project at a meeting.
Local Energy Scotland’s website, newsletters and events
We publish case studies on our website and will often highlight these on our social media channels and in our monthly newsletter.
We also feature community projects at the annual CARES conference, as well as running smaller local events. Get in touch with your local development officer if you’re interested in having your project profiled.
We hope you enjoy promoting your project. We look forward to hearing how you get on throughout the process and through to completion.