So, your chapter is having an event, and you want it to get covered by the media. Check out this timeline for attracting media attention, and reference it the next time you have an event! Make sure you do everything on the timeline!
Remember, a great media strategy starts at the planning stages of any event. Think of how to make an event as media-friendly as possible. Good ways to do this include: effective visuals, targeting locally elected officials, having local celebrities and providing a local tie-in.
2 weeks before or more:
E-mail email@example.com, and the STAND Communications Team can start working with you to get media.
Find the contact information of your local media outlets. Use www.congress.org to get fax numbers and e-mail addresses, and google reporters who typically cover students and/or activism.
1-2 weeks before:
E-mail and fax a media alert to as many media outlets as possible. Papers often have
“Daybooks”, a schedule of events that reporters can look at – make sure to ask how to get your event on the local daybook! See the Sample Media Alert and Press Release for more info.
Throughout the week before an event:
Make some follow-up calls or e-mails. Feel free to be informal with the follow-ups, and be persistent. If an outlet says it’s not interested, try to find out why so you can better tailor the event to the press.
2-3 days before an event:
Resend media alerts to outlets that are most likely to cover the event.
1-2 days before:
Make final follow-up calls/e-mails to reporters. Try to get them to confirm their attendance at the event, so you can create a list of who to expect.
Make sure you’re ready for the press. Depending on the event, it may be a good idea to have a media check-in table, where you can provide the press with background materials (if you’re targeting your Congresswoman, you may want to provide a one-pager on her Darfur legislative record).
If you have speakers, let the reporters speak to them afterwards. Also, make sure members of your chapter are always available for comment.
Follow-up with the reporters who came, offering to get them any other information they’d like.
Send out a press release to all of your contacts (whether they attended or not). This may result in getting coverage that you didn’t count on.
Sometime after the event:
Database your contacts, especially those reporters who attended the event. Start building a relationship with those reporters who wrote about your chapter – they may write about you again!
E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with the names of reporters and outlets that covered your event. We’ll put it in a national database that can help you in the future!