Thursday, May 22, 2008

7 tips for generating news coverage

Nonprofit organizations have learned that they can help with their mission if they maintain a high profile – which of course means a good image – in the public mind.

This high profile can be maintained via the media, and Sandra L. Beckwith writes in her book Publicity for Nonprofits that organizations can find creative ways to get their names in the news. Beckwith offers suggestions for creating news.

  • Write and distribute a tip sheet. This is a form of news release that offers tips or advice in a bulleted or numbered format. This allows an organization to share specialized knowledge about a topic.
  • Comment on national headline news. Media outlets are looking for a local angle on a national story in their area. This requires an ability to act quickly.
  • Tap into TV story lines. For example, the NBC television show ER reported that two-thirds of the show’s viewers watch for health information. Knowing this, many local affiliates schedule health news updates for the newscast following the show.
  • Do a survey. Newsworthy survey results are sure-fire publicity starters. The survey topic should relate to the organization’s mission.
  • Create a list. Lists are popular with the media. David Letterman’s “Top Ten List” is reprinted in newspapers.
  • Take advantage of newsworthy seasons and holidays. Each predictable seasonal story brings publicity opportunities.
  • Host a contest or competition. Publicity opportunities exist for announcing the competition, conducting the competition and announcing the winners.

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