WORKING WITH THE MEDIA AT YOUR NLAAD EVENT
Media coverage of your organizations current efforts can help establish your credibility, attract donors, and influence public opinion. By improving media relations, issues discussed in small staff meetings can become issues discussed throughout your community. It is imperative to foster strong media relations in order to achieve your goal as well as inform the public.
BEFORE THE EVENT
- Know your audience: Who is covering your story? Who will read/hear your story? Make sure you pick the appropriate type of media for your target audience.
- The Message: Keep your message short, 1-2 sentence stating the objective of the event. What do people need to know?
- Create a timeline for sending out press releases, media alerts, and the initial outreach a few months before the event.
- A month and a half before the event send out information, stories, and articles related to your event and about HIV/AIDS in your community.
- Ask and discuss with the reporter(s) in advance which topics are most likely to be covered.
- Indicate that you are their contact person at events and provide them with all of your contact information.
- For your speech, write down bulleted notes. Do not write a speech to read verbatim.
- Practice your speech.
DURING THE EVENT
- Connect with the media when they arrive
- Have a spokesperson ready
- Have press sign in
- Present the press with a press kit and fact sheets
- Start with the most important point
- Address the public’s interest rather than the organization’s interest
- Use positive body language: speak with your hands as you would in a normal conversation. Don’t keep your hands by your sides or hold on to the podium
- Keep your outfits professional; no busy prints or heavy jewelry
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
- Answer the questions you want to answer.
- If you cannot answer a question the best thing to say is “I’m afraid that is not my area of expertise, but I can put you in contact with someone who can discuss that issue.”
- Try to keep answers simple while using the answer to reinforce your message.
- When the event/interview is over, make sure the reporter got what they needed and offer to do more.
- Collect and ask for copies of articles and broadcast stories.
- Send thank you notes to media outlets covering your story
- Ask permission to distribute articles or broadcasts to your key audiences, post them on your web site, run them in your newsletter, etc.
- Continue to send information to key media outlets by sending periodic updates (no more than once per month)