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PR, a Tampa church, and a dog named Tank

By January 11, 2012No Comments

Celebration Church does not have an agency representing them, nor do they a have publicist on staff.

What they had was a lost Jack Russell Terrier show up for a Sunday morning service.

Deanna Shrodes, co-pastor and dear friend, said they were singing “Our God Saves” and “My Savior Lives” when they saw him running back and forth in front of the sanctuary doors. The church’s bass player, Mike Kenney took the dog home, bathed and fed him. An exam revealed a microchip that listed the dog’s name and owners.

Tank was 25 miles away from home and had been lost since March 2010. Barbara Lynn the owner was called and a reunion planned. FOX News heard about the reunion, called to cover the story and suggested the reunion be held at the church.

A day later, the Tampa Tribune called; they wanted to cover the reunion as well. CBS also called; they wanted to be there too.

As much as this story is about Tank being reunited with his family; this is also a story about an organization reaping the benefits of PR and media coverage. Even without them submitting a single press release.

How all of this can benefit Celebration Church:

  • Exposure. This kind of publicity is priceless. News coverage on two TV networks and a major daily is bound to drive traffic to the church’s Web site and Facebook page. Some may even be led to visit. The increased exposure introduces the ministry’s mission and goals to a much larger audience.
  • Establishes goodwill. Animal advocates will love the story Mike’s willingness to care for Tank shows the community that the church is there to help and not hurt. Who knows, Celebration Church and local animal shelters could partner on a project together further solidifying the ministry as a valuable member of the community.
  • Relationship with media established. The church now has valuable connections with their local media. If they maintain, this relationship could prove mutually beneficial for years to come.

If your organization doesn’t have a Tank to bring the media to you, don’t let that stop you from going to them and reaping similar benefits.

Photos courtesy of Deanna Shrodes

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