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Designing a Strategic Event Reporters Can’t Resist

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Presentation on theme: "Designing a Strategic Event Reporters Can’t Resist"— Presentation transcript:

1 Designing a Strategic Event Reporters Can’t Resist
Earning Media Designing a Strategic Event Reporters Can’t Resist Kristin Williams, Faith in Public Life

2 What’s the point? Amplifying your impact. Reaching hundreds or thousands more people than attended the event… and using this as a way to educate and engage them. Reaching decision-makers. Members of Congress and their staffs watch local events in their districts or states closely. Earned media is a powerful advocacy tool, especially in an election year. Mobilizing your supporters. Media coverage can energize your base, Media coverage can energize your base, inspiring volunteers and leaders to keep up the effort.

3 First things first… what makes news?
Timeliness and relevance. Look for a news hook or topic that’s hot in the news and offer a fresh perspective. Specifics. If your event will attract a lot of people and you can tell the media that ahead of time, you’ll have a better shot of earning coverage, especially for broadcast media/TV. Do you have good visuals? Something you’re delivering (x thousand postcards, x thousands signatures on a petition, etc.)? Elected officials. Participation of local, state or national politicians can entice reporters to cover an event. New and unusual coalitions and alliances? Conservatives joining liberals? Business leaders joining faith leaders? Different churches, denominations, or organizations working together for the first time? Groups or leaders that are known to disagree or be opponents on certain issues coming together on your issue, etc.?

4 First things first… what makes news? cont.
Diversity. A multiethnic, interfaith, multigenerational, secular and religious lineup (as long as you keep faith central!) can make an event seem even more compelling. Community focus and compelling, interesting location. How can you choose a location that highlights the purpose of the event (i.e., holding a prayer service about poverty at the local food bank)?  There are usually more visually interesting places than a sanctuary! High-profile participants. Do you have involvement from a faith leader with a huge congregation or important community role, a national figure, or a celebrity of some kind?" Creativity and novelty. People doing something risky or self-sacrificial, new way of presenting information, new backdrop or location? Superlatives. Does your event represent the first time something of its nature has ever happened? Any other superlatives (biggest? most diverse? etc.)

5 Before the event: organizing
Name the event. Set date and time of the event (think strategically about what time/date is most likely to get coverage!). Find the right space. Line up speakers/leaders, and figure out what each should cover, the length of each speaker's remarks and the sequence of the program. Prep speakers. Establish and prep a media spokesperson. Figure out turnout. Figure out setup.

6 Before the event: drafting materials
Draft talking points and core message. Anticipate tough questions and draft responses. Draft a media advisory. -compelling and not-too-long headline -contact info -intro paragraph with context and newsworthiness -pertinent logistics in first paragraph -mention of visuals and turnout -WHAT/WHO/WHERE/WHEN bullets -less than a page long

7 Before the event: communicating with the media
Assemble a list of reporters -reporters you’ve worked with or whose articles you’ve read and who cover your issue -newsdesk addresses for local TV stations and radio hosts -assignment editors at local papers, or editors of small community papers Send personalized s to reporters, follow up with calls -send 4-7 days before event, with reminder s day before and/or morning of and follow up calls

8 Before the event: preparing for the media
Create a press sign-in sheet (with lines for name, address, and media outlet). Prepare media kits with a copy of the media advisory and background materials (speaker bios and photos, organization and initiative or campaign descriptions). Compile the media kit neatly and professionally (ideally in a folder with your group’s name on the cover). Figure out your game plan for getting the press kit to reporters when they arrive, and making sure they sign in.

9 At the event: interacting with the media
Make sure that the event is set up to be most conducive to positive media coverage- group people together to make the space look crowded, have other leaders stand behind the speaker for the best visuals, etc. Either plan to or designate someone to greet reporters, ask them to sign in, and hand each reporter a press kit. At the beginning and conclusion of the event be sure to ask each reporter if you can answer any questions or line up interviews for them with any leaders or speakers.

10 After the event: interacting with the media
Ideally the morning after (or afternoon, if it was a morning event), or call the reporters who were there to thank them and see if you can help with anything else. In your conversations with reporters, mention the kind of work you do and what they can expect from you and your group in the future. If there are any inaccuracies in media coverage, follow up and politely but firmly correct any mistakes. Use this as a foundation for future exposure and coverage-- pulling off an impressive event and delivering them a strong story can lay the groundwork for good relationships and favorable coverage in the future!

11 How to talk to the media Core Message Create a message triangle.
At the center is your core message– the one sentence that sums up the event and what you want every reporter to include in her story. This should be simple and very clear. e.g. People of faith from across Wilmington are mobilizing this week and throughout the year to cut the poverty rate in our town in half. The three sides of your triangle are your supporting messages– one might be the Scriptural motivation, one might be the social cause, and another might elaborate how your project aims to reduce poverty. Each point should reinforce the main message, and be distinct and concrete.

12 How to talk to the media, cont.
Stay on your core message, both in remarks at the event as well as in responses to reporters’ questions. Make sure all the speakers and spokespeople know the core message– this should be a key part of your preparations with them. Practice it ahead of time so you can clearly and confidently deliver your message, and practice with the speakers. Have them tell you what they plan to say at the event, and work with them to fine-tune it to best complement the other speakers and best fit their unique perspective.

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