Marketing on Zero Dollars: The Media Release

Kelly picA Fundraiser’s Journey, Kelly Updike for PCNRC

If a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound? Not to a reporter!

You should regularly push out information to news media on all the cool stuff you are doing. Once or twice a year doesn’t cut it. Reporters need to know you exist and are doing good things in our community.

Start by preparing basic information. When you select board members and officers, type up the list of board members (list their work affiliation) and send that in. When you give out volunteer awards, send that in (and list why those folks were winners). When you get a big donation, talk to the donor about how to publicize it. Send that in! Announce your annual fundraiser, what makes it special this year, and send that in. And after you count all the money that was raised, send that in, too.

What you are providing to news outlets should be interesting and does not have to be lengthy – write about what makes it and your organization special. Your first paragraph should state what’s going on and why you are telling everyone about it, so be sure you are answering the questions “So what?” and “Why should you care?” right away. The second and third paragraphs give details about what you just announced in the first paragraph. Then end with basic information about your organization (your elevator speech, website, address) each time so that the who-what-when-where-how all get covered. Go online to find good news release formats or email me if you want some specific help.

Write the information as if it will be printed exactly as you wrote it – you will often see your news releases reprinted on the Internet. And post your news to your own website and social media pages.

Look for photo opportunities to send to news media — TV, print and online publications are all looking for stills and video. Sometimes the setup or practice for an event can be just as visually interesting as the event itself.

Information to news media can of course be sent via email. There are many, many news outlets hungry for news – radio, TV, newspaper, magazine, online. Send your information to specific reporters, page editors, business writers, assignment editors, photo editors and bloggers. Check online and in publications for email addresses.

As you become more experienced, do a little research and reach out to additional yet relevant outlets –Visit Fort Wayne, Arts United and the Downtown Improvement District are just a few local organizations that post events on their calendars and websites. Is there a regional, state or national news outlet that reports on what you do? Send it in!

Are you a pro at all this? Then you are contacting morning and noontime TV and radio news and events shows so that you can be a guest.

The postings on this site are my own and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Embassy or the PCNRC.

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