Persuading Media to Cover Your Project
The following are tips to attract media coverage for your project.
- Build Media Relationships. In addition to any broad-based, general media outreach you have planned, take the time to build more personal connections with two or three local media personnel or gatekeepers that you think will be particularly responsive to your MLK Day efforts.
- Understand What Constitutes "Newsworthy." Pay attention to the specific characteristics or types of stories that attract coverage in your community. Then, think of ways to pitch your MLK Day event that incorporate these newsworthy traits. Also, see “Creating Newsworthy Projects” in the Project Development Folder for additional tips.
- Include a Mix of Media Outlets in Your Outreach. When you create your communications plan, include a diverse mix of media in your outreach. Think of the small, local publications (including local online news sites) as well as the big news outlets in your area.
- Develop Action-Oriented Projects Action-oriented projects such as home builds, mural painting, and community gardening projects, look good on camera so they are more likely to attract media coverage. Be sure to include some action-oriented projects in your MLK Day activities and steer media toward these projects if they want to provide on-site coverage of your event. Invite popular local radio and television stations to broadcast live from these projects as a way to encourage their coverage.
- Hold an Opening Event. Invite morning radio and television VIPs to kick off your event on their morning show as a local news event, human interest story, or as part of the morning weather report
- Develop Partnership Roles for Local Media. By creating specific roles for local media, you can involve them in a number of ways throughout your MLK Day initiative. Solicit their advice on issues and concerns in the community that you can address through MLK Day projects. A media partner can run public service announcements in advance of the event, provide celebrity emcees, and run stories about your projects and their impact in the community
- Involve Youth Media Representatives. They bring their own wealth of community knowledge to your planning and may help attract local coverage. They may also help you effectively use social networking media such as Facebook or Twitter to gain visibility and recruit volunteers.
- Identify Niche Media. Determine if there are publications, websites, or other electronic media that communicate directly to your target populations and include them in your media plan. If your projects are important to their audience, they will cover your projects.
- Ask people Where They Get Their News. Find out where people in your area or in your target populations get their news or hear about things that interest them. Then, utilize these media outlets to get your message out.
- Send a Thank You. People often save handwritten notes and pictures of the event long after the routine emails have been deleted. So take the time to write a thank you note and include pictures of the day that will remind your media friends of your work in the community. They may come to you in the future if they need a story.