“I Knew You Were Going To Say That” A Few Helpful Tips From MarkCon 2015

By Stephanie  |  October 15, 2015  |  Uncategorized

images-1Last month, I attended MarkCon for a client of TakeTwo to gain some helpful hints about using media, messaging, and marketing to help further the nonprofits critical work.  An event full of experts sharing their incredible professional stories and expertise, I was bound to gain some good tips.

One of my favorite sessions was “Getting the press to respond to your message” and  I thought I’d share with you some of things I learned.

My colleague, Fivel Rothberg, joined me at the conference, but missed the session focused on press. He was disappointed to have missed it, as he is currently promoting an important documentary he is working on with others, and would love some media attention for it.  We hear this often from clients, as press for their important work can go a long way in gaining visibility for their organization and bringing in new audiences and supporters. So, during lunch, I gave him the low down…

and I started with…”it’s all about relationshipsimages.”  And his response was an emphatic – and not too pleased – “I knew you were going to say that!”  But, there it is, folks.  Relationships – again.  It is everything in fundraising, we say that over and over again at TakeTwo.  And apparently, it is everything with press as well.

Here are the tips I gathered during the session:

  • Working with the press is all about relationships – you have to build relationships with the journalists who cover stories/issues reflective of your work, i.e. homelessness, veterans, issues, family law, etc. Connect with these journalists, reach out regularly sharing news and information about your work.  Don’t forget bloggers – and don’t be discouraged if the journalists don’t always respond.  They are likely still noting your interaction and the information you are sharing.
  • Positioning leading members of staff as experts on your issue, so that journalists can reach out to the Executive Director, Program Director, Community Organizer, when your issue becomes a hot topic in the media.  You want to be on a number of journalists’ short lists for quotes, perspectives, and stories.
  • Once you build relationships with journalists, get to know their schedules: when deadlines are up, when they are least likely to respond to you, etc.  This way, you can be strategic in your communication with them, and get them information before deadlines.
  • Don’t miss opportunities – read the news daily and if something is going on in the news that reflects your work, reach out to your press contacts and offer stories, quotes, events, etc.
  • Reach out during low press times, i.e. New Years Day and other holidays, when stories are hard to come by, and things are slower for your contacts.

Hope you found this sharing helpful!  I certainly did!

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