Marketing on Zero Dollars: What To Do When Media Actually Show Up

A Fundraiser’s Journey, Kelly Updike for PCNRC Kelly pic

I recommend that you don’t have a news-announcement event – you should plan and implement your event for itself, not for a news conference. It’s a bonus when news media arrive to cover it! And way less stressful to you, your board and the staff.

So, you’re having an event and have invited news media, now what?

Make a plan that includes:

  • Press packet with your event information and a copy of the news release, which you can email to all the news media again after the event. Also include basic information about your organization.
  • Staff member/s or key volunteer/s ready to escort or assist news media throughout their stay with you.
  • Staff member/s or key volunteer/s (can be same or different from above), selected, prepared and practiced with one or two key messages, to speak for the organization with the news media.
  • Escort for late-arriving news media.
  • Worthwhile reporting experience: Be sure your event merits their time and attention.

Tips for talking with media

  • Be friendly and confident. You are the expert on this particular event or topic and that’s why they are talking to you.
  • Be firm when you need to be. Can’t have photos or video of clients’ faces? Perhaps long-distance or back-of-head views are okay. Tell them when they arrive and they will respect your wishes.
  • Know the message you want to convey and stick to it.
  • Reporters are people, too. They are busy and sometimes new to our region, so provide history, context and background information in order for the reporter to fully understand and thus correctly report on the event.
  • Never ask to preview what the reporter is writing or taping. They will laugh at you, so I’m just trying to save you some embarrassment here.

Understand that the news reporters’ job is to convey an interesting message to their viewers/readers/listeners. You are responsible for helping them get it right. Never assume they know what you are talking about and be armed with your titillating tidbits. Felix Unger, from the Odd Couple TV series, said it best HERE.

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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