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Getting the Media to Pay Attention to Your Story


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Do you send news releases and story pitches without even so much as a nibble of interest? You may have a wonderful story to tell but if you’re not sending it to the right person or framing it the right way, your email is quickly overlooked. Learn strategies for reaching out to the media and rethinking your story so it’s appealing and newsworthy.

Holly A. Fisher is the owner of HAF Creative, a writing, editing and communications company in Mount Pleasant. Fisher spent more than a decade in the newspaper business and now freelances for several publications while also working with nonprofits and small businesses on public relations and social media marketing.

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Getting the Media to Pay Attention to Your Story

  1. 1. Southeast Regional Conference – United Way Getting the Media to Pay Attention to Your Story
  2. 2. Media Coverage – What’s the Point? Coverage of: Your organization Your cause/mission Your fundraising event(s) Goal: building awareness
  3. 3. Think like a journalist What is the real story? Who is the real story? * Volunteers * Supporters * Survivors * Success stories
  4. 4. Do your homework * Develop relationships/contacts * Find out what stories they want * Know the publication and create a targeted pitch (read the publication) * Keep an updated media list
  5. 5. DON’T * Send a release to people who don’t care * Blast everyone on the staff * Send a release and call 5 minutes later
  6. 6. DO * Give enough notice and advance planning * Be sensitive to whether a reporter is on deadline * Email first; call later
  7. 7. pitch/release: * Decent release using AP style * Leave out the fluff & self- promo * Use a good subject line * Have high-res photos ready * Look for diversity * Point out visual angles (TV) * Have a good media contact
  8. 8. With your pitch/release: Create a pitch specific to a certain publication. Think of new angles (business, lifestyle, sports).
  9. 9. Brainstorming: * Capitalize on current trends, events * Look at national news stories * Look for new studies * Statistics
  10. 10. Go beyond the daily: * Weekly papers (find a good local angle for them) * Bloggers / online publications * Calendars * Nonprofit resources (morning TV show, phone bank, radio)
  11. 11. Create a PR schedule: Plan to meet production deadlines (daily, monthly, weekly) and know those publication deadlines.
  12. 12. Sample PR schedule: * 2-3 months out: initial release * 4-6 weeks out: share something new / targeted pitching * 2 weeks: reminder email * Day before: media advisory
  13. 13. Misc. Tips: * Tell stories on your own website/blog, social media * Don’t be discouraged * Keep thinking like a reporter * Events: media partners/sponsorships
  14. 14. Questions? Holly Fisher @hollyannfisher
  15. 15. Thank you! Holly Fisher @hollyannfisher