Once you have built relationships with media contacts, developed creative outreach strategies and are ready to share your organization’s news, don’t forget to take a second look at the message itself to make sure you have framed it in the most effective way.  Doing your research ahead of time and including compelling information will keep your message from being stale, sounding like “old news”, or becoming disconnected from your organization’s mission.

These tips, compiled by Mike Zlotnicki, will strengthen both what you say and how you say it.

Eight “F’s for More Media Coverage

by Mike Zlotnicki

Robert Bernarduci is founder and president of Jessella Public Relations in Avon, Connecticut. The eight thoughts below are based on information he has published.

  1. Face – From the media’s perspective, every story has a face. It could be a celebrity, a victim, a recipient, or a giver. Personalizing a subject can be difficult in some instances, but the “face” doesn’t have to be human, or even alive, for some stories.
  2. First – The media loves firsts, both as subject matter and as breaking a story. First means coverage. The “scoop” is still what reporters want. Anticipate firsts.
  3. Finances – Pocketbook issues (especially in this economy) get press. Be ready with numbers and expect probing questions.
  4. Front Door – Localize the story. Is there a local family or business that best represents the story? Can the information be localized by state, town, or region? Deliver with local flavor.
  5. Fear – “If it bleeds, it leads” is a cliché, but it’s true. Don’t create fear, explain it. Fear can be a physical threat, an environmental threat, financial concern – almost anything. Don’t pitch (expect) sympathy.
  6. Fix – Showcase a story or problem, but offer solutions or alternatives. Show how to fix the problem.
  7. Feat – Biggest, first or best ever! Often a journalistic reach, but special or epic events can gain coverage.
  8. Facts – Corral all the information a reporter will need and keep it handy. Be ready with attribution and sources.

Being prepared with a strong story will not only enhance your message, but will also improve your ability to respond to follow-up with confidence.

In our upcoming final media article, we’ll focus on one of the most common communication methods and forms of outreach: email.

Bottom Line: Good media coverage of our organizations is priceless.  Getting our message into the community is essential for raising money and awareness, meeting our annual and strategic plan goals, and accomplishing our missions.  Including the right information will encourage the media to write news stories that support our organizations and attract followers.

Mike Zlotnicki is a freelance writer based in Garner, N.C. His resume includes newspaper and magazine editing as well as advertising and marketing experience. He can be reached at mikezz@bellsouth.net.

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