Accidental Publicity

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Have you noticed an organization receiving what you might consider more than its fair share of press coverage in traditional media? Maybe you've noticed editorials, feature stories, coverage of their events, announcements or photos in newspapers, magazines, journals or on TV. Do you think that they are just lucky?

I can assure you that the coverage is not accidental. It is because that organization has dedicated some time and resources towards strategy, messaging, and expert execution.

  • Prior to any campaign, your organization will need to put time into developing key message points and relationships with the appropriate reporters or writers - much like you would in developing a prospect for fundraising. Become the subject matter expert that the writer can turn to when a story is needed.
  • Plan to pick up the phone. Emailing will not be enough. Phone follow up is critical, and may be the difference between your press release being front page news or put in the recycle bin.
  • Make sure you have a designated contact speaking clearly for your agency. If a reporter has to make repeated phone calls to multiple agency contacts, the chances of the story seeing the light of day grow slim.

While consulting with a nonprofit dedicated to children and families, Project Partners coached the development staff on public relations strategies and walked them through a specific plan of action. Media kits were developed, contact lists made, press releases sent and phone calls placed. This all took time and persistence. But, to the delight of staff and board members, "all of a sudden," this 45-year old organization became "news." By accident? Not a chance.