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