Working with the Media
Planning your media strategy Action Agenda: Getting
effective coverage Tools of the trade News releases
Action Agenda: Writing the news release Reduce your
news release hassles Action Agenda: Promoting an event
Planning your media strategy
The media can be a critical partner in advocating for children and families. Media attention not only raises awareness and educates the community, it can also help influence decision makers, funders and potential supporters.
The trick to get good media coverage is to think like a reporter and get to the REAL story behind an event or issue. Public forums, rallies or other special events are an opportunity to rally supporters and bring media attention to your efforts. While only a small number will actually attend an event, thousands more may read a news article or see a television story about it.
Here are some general guidelines for planning your media strategy:
Define your audience - Decide who you want to reach, whether state or local leaders or the general public. This will help you determine which media format will work best.
Set goals and objectives for your media efforts - Your goals may be as general as educating the public about child abuse and neglect but objectives should be more specific. Objectives include a specific time frame for completion and measurement for success.
Select the best approach - There are a number of vehicles available for conveying your message through the media. These include:
Develop personal contacts - Reaching people in the media can be difficult. Keep in mind that reporters and editors have frequent deadlines and may have odd office hours. Be patient and persistent. Try alternative ways of connecting, either through email or fax.
Target the people at your local paper or television station who work in community affairs, write human interest stories or cover special events. When you get a reporter or editor on the phone, be brief and professional. Tell them who you are and who you represent. Ask them how you can make their jobs easier and offer to send them information about your group or its key issues.
Keep the lines of communication open. Make sure that your business card or contact information is included in any information you send. Provide an after-hours telephone number and when a reporter calls, try to be responsive. Return calls promptly, get the requested information out as soon as you can and include background information whenever possible.
Make their jobs easier - Once you have identified a journalist or reporter who may be interested in your information, ask them how they prefer to receive news, via email, fax or phone. Ask about their deadlines. Find out which days are best for submitting information for a story.
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