Ken Burns’s National Parks Documentary – PR done right
When I read an article about Ken Burns’s upcoming PBS documentary on national parks, “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea,” I was definitely interested in seeing the 12-hour, six-part documentary series. I have watched some of his other documentaries and think he does a fantastic job blending visual elements, personal experiences and concrete facts about his subjects that makes for an entertaining, interesting and educational series.
Of course, as a PR professional, what also caught my attention about the build-up to the actual series premiere was the fact that they executed a flawless, strategic campaign to talk directly to audiences who would most likely view and spread the word about the documentary, ultimately enhancing support for national parks.
Free screenings in Central Park and other areas, a partnership with the Sierra club, a contest inviting individuals to talk about their favorite national park with the winner receiving a trip to Yosemite, as well as a Facebook page that shares information on Ken Burns himself are all tactics that support the larger PR strategy.
Unfortunately, a lot of people, companies and agencies out there think that public relations equals one thing – a press release. And while press releases can keep media outlets and their audiences up-to-date on newsworthy items, it should never be the one and only tool in the box.
Liza and I are big believers of identifying the most appropriate public relations tactics to effectively tell a client’s story to the right audiences.
Kudo’s to Ken Burns’s team for doing it right.
Have you seen the documentary? If so, where did you learn about it? We want to know know what you think.