Steps to Take
|1. Develop a Contact List
Get in touch with your local media outlets and identify contacts and their phone/email addresses. Local media include newspapers (dailies and weeklies), cable television stations, and local TV and radio stations. Don’t forget college media stations. To get the right contact, ask who would be the most appropriate person to cover your event. Ask how far ahead of the event you should send the news release and how they prefer you send the release (i.e., via fax, email, or dropping it off).
|2-4 weeks before the Dip-In|
|2. Write a News Release
Generally the media will be more interested in covering the event if:
Tips on writing a good news release
|1-2 weeks before the Dip In|
|3. Invite The Media
Fax, email, or deliver your news release, and a specific invitation to attend, to your media contacts.
|Follow the guidelines your contacts gave you. In general, fax your news release 4 to 5 days before the event. Weekly newspapers may need more time.|
|4. Follow Up
Follow up your news release with a phone call to make sure your contacts received it. If not, be prepared to give them any details.
|Within a day or two of sending the news release.|
|5. Prepare a Media Kit
Prepare a media kit that reporters can take with them to write the story. Your kit should include:
|2-3 days before the event|
|6. At The Dip-In Event
Be prepared to provide “on the spot” interviews. Several key people, preferably experienced volunteers, should be designated to be interviewed. They should be knowledgeable about he Dip-In and be able to provide details about your program. Identify possible photo/video opportunities.
|7. If The Media Doesn’t Show Up
Even if the media are planning to attend your event, sometimes there are breaking stories that they are forced to cover instead. Be prepared! Make sure you have a friend or volunteer who can take quality pictures at the Dip-In. After the event, write up a second news release that describes the event and includes the components discussed above (local angle, interest to many people, etc). Local papers will often print news releases verbatim, so make sure it is written as a news story. Send the news release along with some good photos and names and phone numbers of people who can be interviewed over the phone. Be sure to provide a caption with the photos including the names of the people in the photos. Follow up with a phone call to make sure they received the information and ask them if they have any questions.
|The day after your event|
|8. Remember Your Thank You Notes!
If the media does cover your event, be sure to follow up and tell your contacts you thought they did a great job covering the story. Everyone likes to be thanked and this will help you to establish a relationship with the media for future efforts.