MEDIA CAMPAIGNS

If you need a long-range plan, for example, to promote a candidate who will run for office in the next election, a bill to be considered at the next Legislative Session, or an issue so important that it will take months to convince the public to support it, you need to plan a MEDIA CAMPAIGN.  Below are the general guidelines for an effective promotional campaign, using all the media forms to your advantage:

  • Determine your short and long term goals. Who are your target audiences? What are your key messages?
  • Develop a detailed timeline for your media promotion plan. Make media outreach routine for every step of the campaign, based on your list of key audiences and your goals for those interactions.
  • FRAME YOUR MESSAGE so it is easy to recognize over the course of the campaign.
  • Develop a specific plan for communicating routinely with each key media and audience. Assign roles to specific people and include a detailed plan to provide volunteers with assignments, promotional information.
  • Select your best spokespeople and help them prepare.
  • Gather all available information on your issue, candidate, or bill so your group is an expert, including human interest stories related to your focus. Know your subject COLD with all available facts. Prepare a brief FACT SHEET on your subject.
  • Do your research: know the format (kind of programming) and audience demographics (characteristics of its listeners/viewers/readers) of your media; use their websites to see who covers similar topics, who decides what is covered; read their guidelines for deadlines, etc.
  • Prioritize your outreach: TV and social media have the biggest audiences, but don’t forget print and radio, local editions of large dailies, community news calendars and bulletin  boards, weekly community newspapers, special interest publications, local web blogs, newsletters, etc.
  • Find journalists in your issue area and educate them about what your group does. Build a strong relationship with them
  • Build strong relationships in all the media formats with people who influence what stories are covered (editors, producers, anchors, journalists). Share your success stories with them and how they helped make a difference in their community. Build partnerships with the media makers.
  • Think like a journalist:  When you write, answer the 5 Ws and use newspaper style. Tell them why their readers will be interested. They’re mainly interested in how it relates to their audience.
  • Submit Letters to the Editor, PSAs, Press Releases, OP/EDs, radio and TV scripts, email pitches to all your media on a regular basis.
  • Tailor your messages to the specific audiences. Craft individual pitches and materials to each audience/media type.
  • Make all your submissions ACTIONABLE (tell the readers/audience what you want them to do). If your material allows the media to co-brand your message (promote themselves), it provides an incentive for them to run it.
  • Remember to say “Thank you” for their help — they’ll be more likely to help in the future. Send photo recaps of successful events with 2-3 sentence captions with your thank you note.
  • Sponsor local events. Provide irresistible human interest stories to the news media. Be as creative as your group is able and make your own media when possible.
  • Establish your group as the Expert, the Go-To Source, for information on your issue area with Fact Sheets, credible spokespeople, Press Kits. Do as much prep work for the media as you can so it is easy for them to promote your issue. Don’t take the media for granted!
  • Build credibility: List in the BBB’s National Charities Information Bureau and have a copy of your IRS 501(c)3 certificate with your materials.
  • Avoid language that sounds like a commercial.
  • Present all written material in a professional manner: use computer spell check or Grammarly, a free language, grammar, and syntax online tool.
  • Prepare all spokespeople with role-playing, information, practice. Choose those with good speaking skills.
  • Work with your group’s people skilled in social media to expand your reach.
  • Provide a PRESS KIT for all media and publish it on your website:
  • Contact Information (name, phone, email of your spokesperson)
  • The group’s web and email address
  • The group’s Mission Statement and Goals
  • Brief History of your group
  • Fact Sheets: documented statistics, quotes that reporters can use
  • Recent Accomplishments of your group
  • In all Press Kit materials, be brief, use bold headings to help find info quickly, give documents a professional appearance, update info periodically, place all material in a presentation pocket folder, drop off hard copies,  and post the Press Kit on your website.