Your association is doing great things for your local community. The news needs some uplifting things every now and then. Stands to reason that you clue the local TV and radio stations in about your association’s awesome goings on.
Hold the phone.
Sometimes a media release of your association’s activities, or even existence, is a good thing. Sometimes it can be a wasted effort, taking up your valuable time for nothing and giving some local stations one more paper for their recycle bin.
Don’t get me wrong! Your news is GOOD! It just has to compete with war, murder, political scandal, weather, and breaking sports news to make the show at 6:00. So here are some things to consider before writing up those press releases.
Green Light (WRITE IT!)
-Your association has an expert opinion on a hot news story
For example, if your association regularly advocates for or against same-sex marriage, you or your association members could be regular guests on local news programs simply because that's a hot topic in the news right now. It doesn’t have to be national news, though. What’s big news in your local community? Where can you plug in?
-Your association is holding an event that is going to impact the surrounding area’s day-to-day business (as in hotel stays, traffic, or local attractions.)
News consumers care about what’s going on in the world, but their first priority is what’s going to immediately impact their lives. That’s why the weather is always news. If you’re holding a large meeting that’s going to take up a local meeting venue or cause traffic issues, alert the media! They know their audience will be interested.
Yellow Light (PROCEED WITH CAUTION)
-You’ve received a major donation, or raised funds for a major project
It really depends on the donation or amount of funds raised. If Bill Gates gave $1000 I’m sure you’re grateful, but that’s probably not newsworthy. If a bunch of 8 year old kids raised $400 at a lemonade stand, that is just adorable and is certainly worth a press release. Don’t forget the pictures!
-You know about a major influx of career possibilities coming to your area
There is a fine line between “I know someone who’s hiring for this specific job” and “I know so-and-so is relocating their office here and will be bringing 20 jobs to the area.” The job market is tough, and when businesses move to the area and jobs become available people want to know about it. It’s uplifting to the community and could help your colleague find quality employees.
Red Light (STOP!)
-You are a resource for your special interest group
You are providing an incredibly valuable service to your members, there’s no question. But instead of going for local news, why don’t you spread the word among your members and related groups and organizations? That way word can spread organically and you can reach the people you’re really intending to help.
-Your association is holding an event
Unless it’s a super-huge event or one meant to invite the whole community (kids and all) your association’s events are probably something to be promoted only among your members and extended interest groups. Spread the word as far as you can without the news. As your events grow, so will media attention! Soon you will have “the social event of the season.”
Now that you know WHEN to issue media releases, what about how? Check out one of our earlier blogs on wriing press releases, and get to writing press releases that work and are valuable for not only your association, but the community as a whole!