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IABC Nonprofit Seminar – Media Relations
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IABC Nonprofit Seminar – Media Relations



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  • 1. TELL ME A STORY How to Get Media To Write About Your Nonprofit Judy Crawford, President Crawford Communicates
  • 2. What’s the story?  Timing is everything  Get outside your organization  Find a unique angle  Relate to your audience  Use a memorable character or group  Grab attention with the lead  Raise visibility with high-profile spokesperson(s)
  • 3. Generate ideas  Start a file of favorite stories, columns, blogs, video, podcasts, etc. featuring nonprofits  Ask questions within your organization to identify stories with a news or human interest “hook”  Think of story ideas to piggyback on timely events already being covered  Brainstorm, brainstorm, brainstorm with co- workers, family and friends
  • 4. Success stories  Stephen Colbert challenges Jimmy Fallon to raise $26,000 for  Harlem’s ‘Gospel for Teens’ grabs 60 Minutes spotlight  Channel 3 finds prom magic in ‘The Cinderella Affair’ for Tempe girls  ‘A Guy Like Jerry’ captures hearts in Laurie Roberts column  Newspapers statewide follow Mongolian scientists on Arizona tour
  • 5. Media nightmares  60 Minutes exposes half-truths of Three Cups of Tea author and philanthropist Greg Mortenson  National columnist reveals that Candie’s Foundation pays spokesperson Bristol Palin eight times what it donates to teen pregnancy charities  The New York Times reports that Madonna ousts board of her Raising Malawi charity due to mismanagement
  • 6. Crisis communications 101  Anticipate negative media coverage  Prepare a written statement immediately  Alert your director and board members  Respond to ALL media requests  Don’t avoid the media – they will find you  Develop talking points for your spokesperson  Refer the media to authorities when appropriate  NEVER lie to a reporter!
  • 7. The News Release  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  Contact information and Website URL  Headline (sometimes with subhead)  Dateline (location and date)  Body of release  “Boilerplate” information about organization  ###  How to access images and/or video (B-roll)
  • 8. The 5 W’s (and an H)  Put the who, what, when, where, why and how in your lead paragraph  Use the “inverted pyramid” writing style  Study well-written articles and mimic their style:   Associated Press & Reuters for news items   Feature stories/columnists for human-interest stories  Refer to the AP Stylebook for guidance
  • 9. ‘Inverted Pyramid’ style
  • 10. Get their attention  Start with short greeting that offers to arrange interviews and includes Website link  Write a strong, captivating lead  Embellish the story with images, charts, video (B-roll)  Add a short, bulleted fact sheet  Avoid e-blasts, address individually  Consider paid wire distribution when a major story
  • 11. Build relationships with media  Get to know the media most likely to cover you  Learn the names of reporters who cover beats most significant to you  Read/watch/listen to their stories  Arrange a short meeting to introduce yourself  Find ways to meet again (with your director)  Send your publications, invitations and other items of interest to reporters
  • 12. Build relationships with media  Follow personnel changes at media outlets  Develop a “virtual” media kit on your Website  Capitalize on breaking news to promote your organization  Make yourself available to media 24/7  Thank a reporter for his/her coverage (never nitpick over minor inaccuracies)
  • 13. Pitch perfect – do’s  Start with an e-mail and personal greeting  Keep your pitch tight and focused on how the story might interest this particular reporter  Make your first sentence count  Limit your pitch to 3-4 sentences  Offer to arrange an interview with a key source  Get OK from source and find out his/her availability in advance
  • 14. Pitch perfect – do’s  Include cell number to “reach me anytime”  Close by saying you will follow up by phone  Know the facts of the story – be ready!  Be confident you are providing news the media outlet will want  Wait a couple of days and follow up by phone  Refer to your e-mail as an opener
  • 15. Pitch perfect – don’ts  Call when a reporter is on deadline  Simply ask if he/she received your e-mail  Say the reporter will “miss out” by not covering your event  Act like the journalist “owes you” for any reason  Treat the journalist like a buddy – be professional!
  • 16. Pitch perfect – don’ts  Pitch several reporters at the same media outlet about the same story  If your first choice isn’t interested, ask who else you might call  Make a weak pitch because your director or board member has asked you to
  • 17. Tell Me a StoryThank you!