Your Partnership and the Media - How to Publicise your Partnership

Do you ever catch yourself reading through the local paper or watching the television news and wondering how a certain group or body seems to get good, consistent media coverage?

There are groups like this, who seem to be able to attract the media at the drop of a hat, and who can get their message out there above other groups.

And while the secrets of gaining this coverage may vary a little from body to body, the underlying logic remains the same – they have made themselves "media friendly" through being willing to comment, or be in a photo or media event.

In other words – they know the art of self-promotion – an art which is pretty easy to learn and invaluable once your community business partnership knows how to harness its benefits.

When to Promote your Partnership

There are a few opportune times when community business partners should look at promoting what they are doing, including:
  • When you are launching your partnership, or a partnership program.
    • This is the time to talk about the partnership itself, and what it and its programs will aim to achieve.
  • You have achieved something, or have some results/outcomes from your partnership activities.
    • It is important to get this information into the public arena, with a particular emphasis on local media if that is where your partnership is focussed.
  • You have an announcement to make on a program, process or activity your partnership has done or is planning to do.
    • Your partnership can work through the media to keep members and interested parties up-to-date with your activities.
  • You can make comment on an issue related to your partnership, or one which falls within your partnership's area of expertise.
    • If an issue arises that your partnership is qualified to comment publicly on, the media may approach you for some quotes.

Ways to Promote your Partnership

There are a few main ways to promote your partnership in the media:

Media releases: Media releases are written statements sent to the media to convey information – news, opinions and events.
  • For your partnership, that media release can talk about things that have occurred, issues that may be relevant to your partnership, or events that are being planned.
  • For more information on writing media releases, refer to the Your Partnership and the Media Help Sheets entitled Preparing and Writing Media Releases, Following Up Media Releases and Media Contacts, available at the Other Resources section of the partnerships Brokerage Service at the Our Community website.

Media events/"stunts": Media events and "stunts" can be organised to attract the media to give your partnership or its activities some coverage.
  • Usually these events coincide with an announcement of some sort, and can be designed to not only attract written media coverage, but photographic coverage as well
  • Something to remember about organising these events or "stunts" is to, think creatively about an event which is a bit out of the ordinary, has the potential of attracting media interest, but remains related and relevant to what your partnership is doing or announcing.

Launches: Related to media events are launches, which will occur when your partnership has a project, document or something else ready for use or to be open to the public.
  • Launches should be attractive to the media, creatively thought out, but still relevant to what you are actually launching.

Announcements: Again, announcements are a form of media event where you are, obviously, announcing something to do with your partnership.
  • Given that what you are announcing is newsworthy – why else would your partnership organise a formal announcement? – what you do needs to be aimed at attracting healthy media coverage. Think about how your announcement could lend itself to television footage or press photographs.

Interviews and photos: These are two other ways of getting media coverage for your partnership.
  • Through an interview you can talk about what your partnership is doing, as well as addressing any direct questions or concerns put to you by the interviewer.
  • Photographs and television footage should always be considered when organising a media event. The cliché of "a picture says 1000 words" is never truer when it comes to getting an eye-catching photo in the newspaper above a story about your partnership.

When looking to publicise your partnership you should consider which method would be most suitable – and keep in mind that multiple forms of publicity can be combined. For example:
  • A big partnership announcement or completion of a project would lend itself to a media release which alerts the media to a launch or formal announcement in the coming days.
  • That launch could then see certain partnership members give interviews and be involved in photographs.

Beware of Over-Exposure

Another thing to be aware of when seeking media coverage for your partnership is the problem of over-exposure – which, in media terms, is when a particular person or group is in the media too much.

The line between healthy media exposure and over-exposure can be a fine one. Over-exposure can turn people off, cheapen the message or image that person or group is trying to convey, and, at its worst, see that person or group become close to a parody of itself.

The main way to avoid over exposure is to avoid "sticking your head" into everything:
  • Be a little choosy about what your partnership chooses to comment on – particularly when it comes to things outside your partnership's direct area of expertise.
  • Treat each media opportunity on a case-by-case basis, with procedures in place to decide quickly and fairly whether to make comment or organise an occasion or not.