Increasing and improving media coverage can have great impacts for your chapter and your message.
Designate one member (or a committee) to be responsible for media relations. By getting coverage in local and state media, you can reach new audiences that wouldn’t normally know about your chapter. As much as possible, you want to be able to influence positive coverage for your chapter. Building relationships with local media is key to improving coverage of your chapter.
1. Go to www.newslink.org to find a listing of media outlets for your area. Get in touch with state and local media contacts. Use all forms of media: television, radio, and print. You will generally have the most success with local media, and pro-life or Christian media.
2. Get advance coverage through feature stories. Before your event actually happens, you may be able to get coverage through a feature story of your main speaker, your chapter, a member, or through another angle that is relevant before the event actually takes place.
3. Prepare and send a press advisory one month before your event. Send another a week before the event. The advisory should go to local calendar editors, all your media outlets, and to the local contacts for wire services, like www.reuters.com, www.cnsnews.com, www.breitbart.com, and www.ap.org. The press advisory should cover three things. First, answer the basics: who, what, where, when, and why. Second, include a quote that could be used in a news story. Third, write a short paragraph explaining your chapter.
4. Prepare and send a compelling press release that reads like a news story. The press release should be longer and more detailed than the advisory, but not more than one page. The first sentence is especially important and should include the most important information. Include quotes from a couple of different people and an explanation of your group. Also include a schedule and list of speakers, if applicable. As in the press advisory, list the date, your name and contact information, and the name of the chapter. Use the SFLA/Pro-Life Future sample press release as an example.
5. The key to having your event covered is to make it interesting and easy for the journalist. Call them the day before the event to remind them and ask if they are coming. Create something visual for the media to photograph, such as a display or poster. Have a designated media area at the event and make sure that volunteers are available to answer their questions or identify key people they may be interested in talking to. Give each reporter a press kit with information about your group and the event that will help them write their article. Follow up with them after the event and make sure that they have all the information they need. Remember: Make it easy for them to write a great article about your event!