An investor-owned utility that provides electric and natural gas service across eight states sought to help its customers manage electric and gas bills during the winter by improving energy efficiency and using less energy at home, with behavioral changes and simple energy efficiency measures.
Rising natural gas prices were impacting both natural gas and electric customers during the winter months, since natural gas is used to help generate electricity. Recognizing the impact this could have on customer bills in four states within its territory, the utility company wanted to reach customers with tips for how to manage energy use at home and information on where to go for bill payment assistance, including company and state programs. The company also wanted to help customers understand that energy usage is the single largest portion of an energy bill. Making small behavioral changes and modest investments in energy efficiency at home can deliver a big return in terms of lower gas or electric bills.
The company wanted to reach customers without investing in a costly paid media campaign, but hurdles for earned media exposure also were high. Newsrooms are shrinking and resource-constrained editorial boards no longer provide a pathway to coverage at many smaller newspapers.
The communities the company serves are dispersed across several states, reached by a variety of daily and weekly newspapers. To ensure efficient message delivery, control and consistency, Linhart PR drafted two templatized company-authored articles with tips and resources for reducing energy use during the winter and bill-payment assistance, and placed it in local media outlets.
The five-month media outreach campaign from Linhart PR resulted in 108 total articles, with a reach of nearly 3.1 million.