Having the press cover your event can create just the buzz you need to raise your organization’s visibility at a local, regional or even national level, and increase public support for your cause. But just because you disseminate a well-positioned media advisory, doesn’t mean that reporters will be enticed to cover the event. On the other hand, if you integrate the following tactics into your media relations strategy, they just might come.
As with all effective marketing tactics, understanding how your audience want to receive your message is important. When it comes to delivering messages to media contacts, communicate with them via the medium that is most appealing to them. So, when courting television news reporters, consider sending an electronic media advisory with a link to a short promotional video or a video news release (VNR) that announces your event. For print media outlets, email is also a great delivery vehicle. However, when emailing your media advisory to these outlets be sure to attach a Word or PDF version of the advisory. This makes it easier for reporters to share your event details with colleagues. For online media outlets, be sure to include social media activities in your outreach efforts. Most reporters are very active on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and use these platforms to connect with viewers, readers, and online audiences.
The key to getting the media to your event is to target media contacts who care about your cause. That is, focus on reporters, editors, and contributing writers who cover your issue. For example, if your association represents the financial services industry, then send your media advisory to reporters who cover banking, financial services and/or the economy.
When reaching out to contacts through social media platforms, be sure to follow targeted reporters on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. This enables you to stay abreast of issues they cover, particularly topics that tie into your organization’s agenda.
The other important tactic is to keep daybook editors in the loop! These guys are instrumental in determining which stories, and events, are covered in the daily news. You want to keep them informed—particularly on high-profile speakers that you’ve booked.
Unless your media advisory has an intriguing angle, it will get overlooked. To make your event newsworthy, look for the backstory and frame your advisory around it. Say you’re hosting a charitable or community service event. It’s not enough to communicate the “when” and “where.” To gain the interest of busy reporters, you must also tell the “why.” For instance, housing charities are often successful in attracting media to home building events because they emphasize challenges that low-income families experience when trying to secure decent affordable housing. These types of human-interest stories appeal to reporters who cover housing issues and community news.
Nothing grabs the media’s attention like a well-known public figure—be it political, religious, or someone with celebrity status. Consequently, having a prominent guest is sometimes all it takes to get media coverage. In pitching your event to reporters, be sure to include speaker bios, professional photos and the specific day and time that the keynote or headliner is scheduled to speak. If your invited speaker hasn’t confirmed yet, that’s fine. Your media advisory should simply indicate that he/she has been invited. Although, the minute you receive that coveted confirmation, publicize it broadly. It will likely seal the deal for reporters you’ve invited.
Media coverage of your event can have a lasting impact on your association. Event day coverage along with post event news articles can do wonders for your association’s brand, reputation and public awareness. The key is to get the right message to the right reporter at the right time. Remember, your organization is a source of credible information for reporters. As such, you have the ability to provide unique story ideas that enable reporters to attract readers, viewers, and web visitors to their media outlet.