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Media relations primer for nonprofits & community groups

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The media relations primer was presented during the 2013 media relations summer camp, offered free of charge at the Hamilton Spectator for nonprofits and community groups.

Published in: News & Politics, Education

Media relations primer for nonprofits & community groups

  1. 1. Media Relations Summer Camp June 25 & 27 at The Hamilton Spectator 2013
  2. 2. Why we’re here To help you: • Pitch better stories to the media • Get more media coverage • Move the yardsticks on your organization’s goals
  3. 3. What we’ll do • Media relations 101 • Polish, practice & then pitch a story idea • Plus primers on: – Writing letters to the editor & op-eds – Getting in front of the camera – Getting onto social media
  4. 4. #mediacamp
  5. 5. The good news payoff • Stand out from the crowd • Thank your donors, funders, volunteers & staff • Raise your profile & enhance your reputation • Build your trust & forgiveness account
  6. 6. We’re pitching the wrong stories
  7. 7. Grip & grins with giant cheques
  8. 8. Ribbon cuttings with giant scissors
  9. 9. Groundbreakings with shiny shovels
  10. 10. Golf tournaments Fundraisers Rubber chicken galas AGMs
  11. 11. Yes, these are worthwhile events for fundraising, friendraising and recognition. Just don’t hold your breath for media coverage.
  12. 12. OMG Hail Mary panic pitches No one’s buying tickets to our FILL IN THE BLANK!!! We need free publicity ASAP!!! If we don’t get new funding and more donations, our doors will close forever!!!
  13. 13. Do you really want to be known for big scissors, big cheques, big holes in the ground, rubber chickens and bad finances? 13
  14. 14. 14 Worthy? Yes. Newsworthy? Not so much.
  15. 15. The good news…. you have much better stories to pitch to the media.
  16. 16. You’re in the solutions business.
  17. 17. And you’re making Hamilton an even better place to call home.
  18. 18. "People are not very interested in talks about organizations. Ideas & stories fascinate us; organizations bore us.” "Don't boast about your company; rather, tell us about the problem you're solving." -- Chris Anderson
  19. 19. The very first question you will always be asked.
  20. 20. Why should I care? Why should our readers care? Why should our viewers care? Why should our listeners care?
  21. 21. 2nd question: And why now? How is this timely?
  22. 22. The better your answers, the stronger your news hook.
  23. 23. Make it newsworthy • Are you doing something new? Innovative? • First in our community? First anywhere? • Are you the best at what you’re doing? • Informative / interesting / entertaining? • Story has yet to be told?
  24. 24. 3 ways to get tell better stories and get more & better media coverage
  25. 25. 1. Find your poster child
  26. 26. The best stories - the one’s we read, watch & listen to, talk about, share and remember - are all about people. Ordinary people in extraordinary situations.
  27. 27. It’s not about the ribbons you cut. The ground you break. The cheques you get. Or the events you run. It’s all about the people you serve and whose lives you transform.
  28. 28. You are not the hero.
  29. 29. Find your poster child • Who can be the face & heart of your organization for this story? • One person with a compelling story – a life transformed because of you • Someone we can relate to and root for • Enlist, don’t conscript • Authentic, not rehearsed
  30. 30. Client Patient Customer Volunteer Staffer Board member Donor or funder Funder
  31. 31. Grads make Notre Dame House proud By Molly Hayes (Hamilton Spectator, June 20 2013) Caroline Kankowsi cried as she received her diploma Wednesday. At 20 years old, she never thought she'd make it through high school. As a teen, she struggled with anxiety and depression, had family problems and ended up living on her own, moving five times in two years. Eventually, she found herself at the Good Shepherd Notre Dame House School, where they pushed her to graduate. "They keep you on track completely. They make you feel like you can do anything," she said. She and five fellow grads were awarded their high school diplomas at the "accomplishment ceremony" Wednesday, in the gussied-up back lot of Notre Dame House on Cannon Street West. Another 14 students received certificates for their work in the program on the path toward graduation. Kankowski has been accepted to Mohawk College's photography program, thanks to her arts studies at Notre Dame House. The house — also a 24-hour youth shelter — has 24 students enrolled in its education program this year. "The support they get here is amazing," Kankowski's father, Paul, said at the ceremony. After a tough road with family in her teen years, she had 10 relatives come out to support her. "There are all kinds of routes you can take in life … hers was a little harder, but she worked hard and made this a very special day for our whole family," her father said. "I cried through the whole thing."
  32. 32. Pitch your poster child • Tell your poster child’s story in 2-3 sentences • Link to the program, project, event or announcement you want to profile • Add a spokesperson for your organization • 1 sentence boilerplate about your organization • Contact info
  33. 33. Pitch to the right one reporter Or editor / producer
  34. 34. Coverage in one media outlet can lead to coverage in others
  35. 35. 36 Email your pitch
  36. 36. Save the trinkets & trash, gifts & swag
  37. 37. 38 The subject line is your headline. Make it clear, concise and compelling.Max. of 7-8 short sentences in the body of your email. Get to the point. End with contact info (work & cell #s, weekend #) Should take 30 seconds or less to read.
  38. 38. SAMPLE EMAIL PITCH TO THE HAMILTON SPECTATOR From: Robb, Jay [mailto:jay.robb@mohawkcollege.ca] Sent: Monday, June 10, 2013 10:01 AM To: Ammerata, Carla Subject: Mohawk prof wins national honours Carla – thanks for the Senator Braley coverage last week. One of my favourite people at Mohawk has won a national teaching award – Peter Olynyk does a ton of great work in the community and here at the college. I’m trying to get him cloned. Mohawk College is home to one of the country’s top professors for the second consecutive year. Peter Olynyk has received the 2013 bronze teaching award of excellence from the Association of Canadian Community Colleges. A professor in Civil and Structural Engineering in Mohawk’s School of Engineering Technology for the past 27 years, Peter was recognized for his excellence in the classroom and leadership on key projects, including the Bay Area Science and Engineering Fair, Meet the Grad Night and the Popsicle Stick Bridge Building Competition. Peter co- founded the competition 26 years ago and continues to run the event for high school and college students. Peter launched Meet the Grad nights with a case of beer, a couple boxes of pizza and one grad brought in to reassure students heading into their final exams. Peter, who teaches more than 400 students a year, consistently earns top marks in student evaluations. This marks the second year in a row that Mohawk professors have received national awards. Last year, Mohawk Advertising professor Jef Petrossi also won a bronze teaching award of excellence from the Association of Canadian Community Colleges. Contacts: Peter Olynyk, 905.575.1212 ext. 3186, peter.olynyk@mohawkcollege.ca VP Academic Cheryl Jensen, 905.575.1212 ext. 2224, cheryl.jensen@mohawkcollege.ca
  39. 39. HAMILTON SPECTATOR June 11, 2013 (A3) Signpost: Mohawk prof is tops Mohawk College is home to one of the country's top professors for the second consecutive year. Peter Olynyk has received the 2013 bronze teaching award of excellence from the Association of Canadian Community Colleges. A professor in civil and structural engineering in Mohawk's School of Engineering Technology, Olynyk was recognized for his excellence in the classroom and leadership on key projects, including the Bay Area science fair.
  40. 40. Long emails scare, dissuade reporters
  41. 41. • Poster child + spokesperson lined up for interviews • Available for interviews any time • Complete contact info • 2-3 supporting facts & stats • Highlight potential places for interviews, photos and video Make it as easy as possible for the reporter to tell your story
  42. 42. Reporters are always looking for experts to help: • Localize stories • Provide comment, analysis and background • Simplify complexity • Add colour with great quotes 2. Be a resident expert
  43. 43. Credible, reliable & trustworthy…passionate… knowledgeable…enjoy working with the media…speak in soundbites…24/7 availability Qualifications
  44. 44. Get on some of these
  45. 45. More ways to raise your profile • Stand and deliver: give speeches & talk on panels • Submit letters to the editor and op-eds • Win awards • Follow up with reporters when they file stories that are in your wheelhouse
  46. 46. 3. Newsjack Inject your idea and parachute your organization into breaking news Add to the narrative with a new dimension / perspective
  47. 47. • Monitor the media • Need to be fast – respond in real time • Post on social media (reporters will be there doing keyword searches) • Contact reporter directly • Use your judgment – always in good taste and never opportunistic Newsjacking
  48. 48. Pester the reporter. Pitch & vanish. Promise what you can’t deliver. Ask to review & approve the story. Ask the reporter to send you a copy of the story. 5 cardinal sins of media relations
  49. 49. Follow up with a quick thanks 50
  50. 50. Worth a read Newsjacking by David Meerman Scott The Media Training Bible by Brad Phillips 10 Steps to Writing a Vital Speech by Fletcher Dean
  51. 51. Jane Allison Manager of Community Partnerships The Hamilton Spectator jallison@thespec.com Jay Robb Director of Communications Mohawk College jay.robb@mohawkcollege.ca

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