Friday, January 25, 2013

5 Tips For Communicating With The Media

People love to hate the media. Whether it's one of the countless athletes who criticize the press after being "taken out of context," or a politician blasting the "mainstream media" to score political points, journalists are hardly the most popular people in the room.

Yes, you may not want to talk to a reporter, but the media still remains one of the most effective ways of getting your message to the public.

This is especially true for nonprofits that are trying to spread the word about a project or an upcoming special event. In the book “Five Good Ideas,” Carol Goar acknowledged that the media can do a poor job of covering the sector, but that doesn't mean it’s all on them. Goar listed five things nonprofit employees should remember when talking to the media to ensure there are no slip-ups:
  • Before you make a phone call or send an email to a member of the press, ask yourself: Why does my message matter to the public?
  • Don’t confuse journalists with publicity agents. If your objective is just to sell tickets to one of your events or promote your brand, you aren't going to get a very favorable story.
  • Get to know who in the local or national media covers the nonprofit sector. Read the publication or listen to the broadcast you intend to approach.
  • When telling your story to the media, talk about the difference you’re making in people’s lives, not about who you are or how your organization functions.
  • Remember that reporters ask probing questions, they delve into areas that you might not want to talk about, and they don’t follow anybody’s script.

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