media relations

Nonprofit Media RelationsThanks to guest blogger Mollie Katz, Multimedia Strategist at Mollie Katz Communications.

In their day, legendary journalists like Ben Bradlee of The Washington Post essentially defined the day’s news for their audiences. But today it’s a different story—Increasingly, audience interests shape journalists’ decisions on what’s news.

NBC, for example, is sharing viewers’ thoughts on the election anonymously, collecting them via text, phone, and Tumblr. The New York Times has decided “to produce a product that consumers have a greater say in creating,” according to its public editor Liz Spayd. Other examples abound, affecting news, feature, and opinion coverage.

How the News Is Changing, and Why You Should Care
This is happening because traditional media is still adjusting to the internet’s impact. Digital media has exploded with new outlets representing diverse opinions and covering an incredible range of subjects. To compete with these newcomers, traditional media outlets must stay closely attuned to their own audiences.

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Guest Blogger on July 27, 2016 in Media Relations and Press | 0 comments
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Guy Arceneaux

Guest blogger Guy Arceneaux is Director of Marketing and Communications at Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland

My last Meals on Wheels communications case study touched on the advantages of communicating and fundraising for a smaller nonprofit. Today, I’d like to share one of the greatest challenges—Many smaller organizations, like mine, don’t have an explicit, documented process for creative workflow.

Perhaps these organizations’ smaller staff size creates the illusion that a process is not needed. I’m not sure. But what I do know is that most of my career successes were built on the foundation of a documented creative workflow. Here’s how to put a creative brief to work:

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Guest Blogger on April 6, 2016 in Planning and Evaluation | 0 comments
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Spread the WordAsking partners, friends and fans to spread the word may be the most effective, yet least expensive, marketing method there is. So I’m always surprised that so few folks put it to work. Hope this case study pushes you into action.

The Challenge: To increase qualified entries to, and votes for, the 2015 doGooder Video Awards
Award founders See3 wanted to increase submissions to the its 9th Annual doGooder Video Awards. But, like most of us, the agency is limited in staff time and marketing budget. What to do?

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Nancy Schwartz on February 10, 2015 in Media Relations and Press | 4 comments
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Patricia-Brooks-photo-imageGuest blogger, Patricia Brooks guides client orgs to reach and motivate people through traditional and new media sources. She’s a 24/7 newshound and loves to match the right story with the right journalist.

Freedom of the press is one of the founding principles of American democracy, and the press is our vehicle for making our voices heard and driving change.

As a U.S. media relations specialist, I am fortunate to base my career on our first amendment right to press. But it breaks my heart that more Americans (and nonprofits) don’t appreciate the their power when it comes to the media.

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Guest Blogger on June 5, 2014 in Media Relations and Press | 5 comments
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Patricia-Brooks-photo-imageGuest blogger, Patricia Brooks guides client orgs to reach and motivate people through traditional and new media sources. She’s a 24/7 newshound and loves to match the right story with the right journalist.

As a media relations expert, the question I’m most often asked is whether I have strong relationships with reporters. And many are taken aback when my response to that question is often a polite version of, “I can name drop until I am blue in the face, but that doesn’t mean that I can guarantee those journalists will cover your organization.”

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Guest Blogger on March 27, 2014 in Media Relations and Press | 3 comments
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MargotFriedman-HeadShotMargot Friedman, principal of Dupont Circle Communications, conducts trainings on writing and placing opinion editorials. Please like Op Ed Talk with Margot on Facebook to share free tips and strategies.

Don’t say your opponent’s name. Don’t make the other side’s case for them.

That’s the conventional wisdom about addressing the opposition’s arguments in many advocacy contexts. In opinion editorial writing, however, the conventional wisdom may not apply.

To make your op ed more persuasive and thoughtful, consider including a rebuttal paragraph that refutes your opponent’s main argument. Rebuttal paragraphs that raise and dismiss the other side’s argument are often located after the last paragraph of the body and before the conclusion, but they can appear anywhere.

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Guest Blogger on July 25, 2013 in Media Relations and Press | 1 comment
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MargotFriedman-HeadShotMargot Friedman, principal of Dupont Circle Communications, conducts trainings on writing and placing opinion editorials. Please like Op Ed Talk with Margot on Facebook to share free tips and strategies.

There is no formula for writing an op ed. You could write stream of consciousness and it could be terrific. But for folks who like structure, two basic formats make op ed writing quicker and easier.

You may recognize the first format, the five paragraph essay, from high school:

  • Introduction ending with your main point. In an op ed, the introduction is called the lead.
  • Three supporting paragraphs backed up by evidence (e.g., statistics, personal stories, studies by experts, lessons of history, comparisons with other countries).
  • Conclusion. In an op ed, the conclusion shouldn’t just be a summary of your arguments; it should urge a proposed solution or make a call to action. Now that you’ve educated your readers about an issue, tell them what should happen next and how they can make it happen.

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Guest Blogger on March 15, 2013 in Media Relations and Press | 1 comment
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Guest bloggerMargot Friedman, principal of Dupont Circle Communications, conducts trainings on writing and placing opinion editorials. Please like Op Ed Talk with Margot on Facebook to share op-ed tips and strategies.

Remember those posters in your high school hallway that said, “SEX! Now that I have your attention, vote for so and so for class president?” The signs were sophomoric, but they were onto something.
Before I can persuade you, I have to get your attention. That’s why the lead or opening paragraph of your next opinion editorial is so important.

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Guest Blogger on February 16, 2012 in Media Relations and Press | 1 comment
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I’m happy to welcome guest blogger, Margot Friedman, principal of Dupont Circle Communications. Margot is an expert trainer on writing and placing opinion editorials. Please like Op Ed Talk with Margot on Facebook to share op-ed tips and strategies.

At the end of the 1990s, I worked for an advocacy organization that had more or less dropped opinion editorials from their communications strategies. It was just too hard to get op eds placed.  That may have been the right decision 10 years ago, but it is the wrong decision today. READ MORE

Guest Blogger on October 13, 2011 in Media Relations and Press | 1 comment
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Nothing is more important than communicating the right message to your network at the right place and time! And  leveraging a news item or special day by connecting your organization’s issues to it (when relevant!) is a tried-and-true nonprofit marketing strategy with a strong ROI (return on investment).

That’s why I was looking forward to the emails I expected to receive on Earth Day last week, from the environmental organizations I support and others. Earth Day 2010 had delivered so many effective nonprofit marketing models, that I anticipated some great outreach.

Not that Earth Day has been a global success in any way in mobilizing us all to treat the environment more respectfully, but it is a marker heralded broadly in the media (mainstream and not) and leveraged by many advertisers in the New York Times last week. When an issue is addressed like this, it becomes embedded in our heads. Those advertisers knew that Earth Day presented an ideal opportunity of environmental issues being as front-and-center in the news as they get and piggybacked on the day with relevant advertising. An open-minded moment.

How basic then, you’d think, that environmental organizations – tasked solely on the issues at the core of Earth day – would reach out to the network of current and recent supporters. But most organizations I expected to hear from — e.g. Environmental Working Group (marketing geniuses, in a totally genuine way), Sierra Club, Appalachian Mountain Club — didn’t come through. I was poised to re-up our Sierra Club membership that day, but wasn’t invited to do so. Lost opportunity!

Kudos to Catalog Choice – which sent me this email, so-so in headline but spot-on on tying its campaign to Earth Day and my open-minded moment.

Here’s how to ensure you’re poised to capitalize on notable days (holidays and other days) and headlines.

  • Develop a editorial calendar around known notable days (anything from Mother’s Day, to the anniversary of the signing of the Constitution — any day that’s notable in relation to your issue. Those days that generate mainstream and other media coverage are the priority – as they position your outreach for success by getting folks thinking about the day. Your outreach just plugs right into that open-minded moment.
  • Brainstorm around the likely news events that are worthwhile triggers for your outreach.Be prepared, before the moment of, so you can use that moment asap, when your network is open mind.

How does your organization connect its marketing to stories, news and events that are top of mind for your target audiences? Please share your experiences and recommendations here.

Nancy Schwartz on April 25, 2011 in Content Marketing | 18 comments
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