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Releasing Big News – 7 Steps to Success

Follow this path to ensure your organization’s big news (e.g., the release of a major research report on rebuilding the infrastructure for at-risk youth or the launch of a new program that’s addressing a major need in your community) gets the media coverage it merits.

This “campaign” planning process follows the same basic path as should your overall media relations planning:

1. Start planning as far out as possible. The more time you have to plan, the more effective the results.

  • You can do it in a week if you have to, but four to six weeks out is ideal.

2. Define your goals and who you have to reach to meet them.

  • Pick your media list accordingly, focusing on the top ten.

3. What’s the story?

  • The story isn’t about the research findings; it’s about how those findings intersect with key issues and needs of your target audiences.
  • The story isn’t about your new program for teen parents; it’s about how that program addresses a challenge that’s important to your network.

4. Put together the talking points:

  • Why your story is important to readers.
  • Additional sources to speak to.
  • Data and statistics to back up your statements.

Once you have these details down, craft them into key messages.

5. Select the right strategies to put to work:

  • Is this big enough for a news conference or other event?  A news conference should be held for once-in-a-few-years major news. If so, planning for the news conference comes first, followed by a press release.
  • Musts for all media campaigns include:
    • Experts line-up (your subject experts add credibility and depth to your story).
    • Training (media training for spokespeople, training all staff on the campaign and steps
      involved in report release).
    • Pitching your story to key members of the media.
    • Press release distribution to your list and via an online distribution service (I use PRWEb).
    • Plus story-specific strategies: For example,the release of research findings is an ideal focus
      of an editorial briefing, when you meet with a few key members of a paperís editorial staff.

6. Draft the perfect pitch email, including:

  • Who you are and what organization you work with.
  • What’s new and valuable about what your story.
  • Why audiences care.
  • How it ties in with other newsworthy events.
  • How it relates to other stories of interest.
  • Follow up only when it’s major news, following these guidelines:
    • Don’t call an editor or reporter who is on deadline.
    • Avoid unnecessary calls to check the status of a placement.
    • Observe the cues you get from the media. If a reporter, blogger or editor seems harried or annoyed, back off immediately.
    • Don’t sacrifice an important relationship for the possibility of a short-term win.

7. Don’t stop after round one.

  • Unless your story is finite (like a one-time event), continue looking for opportunities to relate your story to other news stories and trends.

How do you release your organization’s big news to the media? Leave a comment below about your approach and I’ll share it with the Getting Attention community

Nancy Schwartz in Media Relations/Press, Strategies and Campaigns | 0 comments

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