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What To Do When The Microphone Is In Your Face: Dealing with Local Media

Dec 6

Written by:
12/6/2012 4:26 PM  RssIcon

John is involved with the local Marine Corps League.  This time of year they are putting in many hours to make sure that needy kids in our area have a merry Christmas through the Toys for Tots program.  John was helping sort toys a few days ago and his picture appeared as the lead for the story about the League’s activities.  I was so proud of my handsome elf!

But it got me to thinking about the importance that the media plays for clubs. Getting media coverage for your club event or project is an awesome way to get the word out about it. 

So, if the task of media liaison has fallen into your lap, here are a few ideas to get you noticed and to help reporters want to work with you and your club.

Get to know your local media, including newspapers (don’t forget the smaller community papers), local news (radio and television), and online media outlets. Read and watch the media in your local area. Subscribe to the newspapers and magazines; watch the local news; bookmark media websites; and join any organizations where you are likely to meet reporters and editors (some cities have press clubs that you can join).

Contact your local reporters. Reporters who cover local, community, or human interest stories may be your best bet. Others might also be interested, such as the society columnist, if your event involves community leaders. In a former life, I used to cover visual arts for a newspaper in Central Texas.  You’d better believe I loved to hear from art leagues and guilds, especially about their events.

Submit information that is newsworthy.  I know that it’s a big deal when Joe Clubmember finally gets his antique Chevy motor to crank up, but that might not be something the whole community wants to know about.  When Hurricane Sandy hit, several of our sailing/yacht clubs banded together through their club website to keep in touch and help each other out.  Now, that is newsworthy.

Don’t hide from the media.  Give a home or cell number where you can easily be contacted.  If you get a message, return the call as quickly as possible.  Reporters work on deadlines and appreciate quick response

Deer in the headlights -- Don’t go to an interview unprepared.  If you are lucky enough to get a television or radio interview for your club event, don’t try to just “wing it.”  I promise you, you’ll regret it and probably will embarrass yourself and the club.  Make notes for yourself and develop talking points.

Don’t be a bore.  There is nothing worse than having to watch or listen to a speaker who doesn’t sound excited about the event or program.  Who on earth would want to attend your event if you can’t appear to be excited about it?  For TV pitches, make sure there is something visual for cameras. Make sure you enunciate, talk slowly and appear excited.  Enthusiasm is contagious.

Thank you, thank you, thank you
…Most media professionals are flooded with events and ideas.  If you are fortunate enough to get great press coverage for your event, don’t forget to thank the people who made it happen, not only verbally, but in writing.  They will be more inclined to remember you when the next big “happening” comes along.

So there you have it.  Good media relations can boost your club’s exposure within your community, as well as make all of your events profoundly successful.

Copyright ©2012 Connect 2 Clubs

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