Media Training – Part 3

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Developing and Nurturing Media Contacts – Part 3

As many of you will know, getting a story or feature in the media (whether a newspaper, magazine, radio interview, online article or TV) is a fantastic way to create awareness about your business, generate interest and drive sales. It is also usually free and a lot easier than you think – much of the news and information you see in the daily newspapers is generated by people just like you.

It is often a good strategy to start with your local community newspapers, who generally welcome news about organizations from the region. Here are some tips for getting your organization noticed by the local media:

1. Get to know the media that are most likely to cover you.
Read and watch the media in your local area. Starting with community and regional newspapers, make a list of all relevant publications and magazines; watch the local news; phone and find out the names of the main contact people at these organizations (editor, news editor, chief journalists etc).

2. Learn the names of the journalists who cover the areas most significant to you.
For instance, community reporters or consumer reporters may be the ones who would be interested in your news. Then you can send your information directly to them rather than just to the “editor.” Don’t forget more specialized reporters such as the society page editor who might be interested in your event or function, especially if it involves the community.

3. Get to know reporters and editors personally.
Drop off some printed material or personally deliver that press release instead of mailing or emailing it. Over time, you will have other opportunities to develop these contacts into more familiar relationships.

4. Always give the media information that is newsworthy.
Your information should be new, noteworthy, and relevant to a large share of the public. Reporters are not interested in yesterday’s news, items that are of interest only internally to your organization, or routine events. Provide reporters with good human interest stories. Invite staff at your organization to let you know about good story ideas that you might be able to pitch to the media. The best ideas often come from people in the front lines of your organization.

5. Develop a “virtual” media kit.
Include the history of your business, its vision, mission and goals, brief profiles and photos of key staff and related stakeholders, the most recent news releases, and any awards or accolades. Busy reporters will appreciate being able to access this information easily – put it on your website if you have one, and burn it onto a CD for handing out.

6. Make yourself available to the media at any time.
Give them a home or cell number where they can reach you day or night. Put that number in your media kit described above. Include it on your business card. When you receive a call from a reporter, get back to him or her as soon as you can. Remember, reporters are working on deadline and will appreciate your rapid response.

10. Always thank a reporter for his or her coverage.
Send a hand written thank-you note. Plus, never nitpick over minor inaccuracies. Corrections appear in small type on a back page. They are not worth your effort or of running the risk of irritating a reporter or editor! Rather, be sure to get the facts straight that you give to the publication and be clear in your communications.

With thanks to nonprofit.about.com

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