Connecting with the media can seem daunting, but it’s a key way to reach and influence decision makers. Which media sources do your key decision makers watch, listen to, or read? Start there.
But first, are you ready? Read the following statements. Would you answer yes to most or all?
- We are clear about what we want to accomplish.
- Our messaging is tested and ready to go. We’ve got our elevator pitch down!
- We have stories to share that can spark curiosity and create empathy.
- We have our spokespeople lined up and ready to talk to the media.
- We are prepared to get the maximum mileage out of media coverage. We’ll share articles or news clips via social media and have a plan for a follow-up letter to the editor.
Get covered. There are a variety of ways to use the media ranging from letters to the editor to strong advocacy techniques like events that generate coverage through outrage or theater (e.g., American Legacy Foundation’s Truth campaign). Not sure how to get started with media advocacy techniques? Media Advocacy, one of our go-to tools, has you covered. It includes tips for things like:
- writing letters to the editor press releases, media advisories, media statements and op-eds
- conducting successful editorial board meetings
- contacting the media
- interviewing do’s and don’ts
- using social media
And speaking of social media. Taking your message digital can be a great way to reach a lot of people, but remember it is only one part of your larger communications strategy.
A few keys to getting started with effective digital outreach are:
- Determine your objectives
- Identify your priority audiences
- Identify the most effective vehicles to use
- Decide how much time and effort to invest
- Track your success and adjust your strategy as needed
- Create content appropriate for the platform (e.g., website, social media, email). (1, 2)
If you’re using social media, bookmark or print Digital S.M.A.R.T.S.: A guide for nonprofits and keep it handy. It provides tips for creating content, tracking your success, and maximizing your presence on social media. Digital S.M.A.R.T.S. also covers setting guidelines for social media and includes a sample policy.
- Office of the Associate Director of Communication at the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. The Health Communicator’s Social Media Toolkit. 2011.
- Spitfire Strategies. Digital S.M.A.R.T.S.: A Guide for Nonprofits. http://www.spitfirestrategies.com/tools/#tab5. Accessed June 27, 2017.