Marketing & Communications Centre > Marketing Essentials > Help Sheets > Making Contact - Why Media is Important

Making Contact – Why Media is Important

For many community groups and organisations, gaining positive and consistent coverage in the media can have an incredible impact on the work they do.

It can have a multiplier effect on the good work that groups are doing. If people know what you have achieved and what you do, they are more likely to support your group. The more support you get, the more likely you are to have a bigger impact.

While it is important that groups don't become obsessed about getting media attention as a bigger priority than actually doing the work they do, it can make a difference.

So what are some of the reasons why the media should be important for your group?

Why is the Media Important?

It gets your message across to a wider audience.

The various forms of media – primarily television, newspapers and radio – spread and disseminate information. Getting your information into the media will spread your group's story further than it could be spread without media coverage.

It can help you target your message to the people you want to hear it.

The media is so varied that a community group or organisation can closely target almost any sector – and through them, almost any section of the public - by looking closely at where it is directing its media focus.

For example – a small, locally-based community group would probably look at concentrating on its efforts in local newspapers, radio and (if applicable) television.

A bigger event or bigger community organisation could look further afield – to major daily newspapers and commercial radio and television.

And then there's the Internet, which continues to emerge as a component of the media.

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It provides free publicity and exposure for not only your news, announcement, event or request – but for your group or organisation as well.

A big benefit when it comes to news media coverage is that it is free – a factor of major importance when it comes to community groups or organisations with tight budgets!

And only does your event or news receive free publicity or new coverage, your group is bound to receive a boost through this coverage as well.
It is important to remember though that while your group won't have to pay for this coverage, it will have to work for it in other ways – building relationships with the media, preparing information and releases for them, being willing to speak to them or be interviewed by them, etc.

Without putting in this type of work, your group will not reap the benefits of "free" media coverage.

It can help establish your group as "legitimate", and its activities as important or notable.

Gaining coverage in the media is a great way of providing your group and its activities with greater credibility and that has a lot to do with the thought processes of the public which monitor and "consume" the media each day.

Readers, listeners and viewers who find out about something or read/hear/see something in the media automatically place a greater level of credibility to it than if they saw it in a paid ad.

The attitude of most media consumers is: if the story is gets into the pages of the newspaper, on the air or on TV, then it is "important" and worth taking notice of.

So, if your story is among those that make the grade, then it is "important" enough to be on the news and therefore worth taking notice of.

It can increase your profile among the general public.

Media coverage can build your profile in the community, which means may be able to attract more members, donors, fundraisers, supporters, helpers, etc.

Not only this, but a raised profile through media exposure will also shore-up and strengthen the support you already have among existing members, donors, supporters, helpers, etc.

It also builds brand definition for you – setting your group apart from other groups operating in the same space.

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It increases your profile among decision makers and VIPs.

Having a media profile not only gets you noticed by the general public, but also among decision makers, VIPs and government.

Those decision makers and VIPs can be peak bodies in your area of interest, grant makers and philanthropic organisations, and others with influence or power.

Those in government that could notice you can be at a local, State or Federal level – or a combination of all three.

Because of this, those decision makers or levels of government could become more likely to ask for your group's input or opinion on matters relevant to you.

It can sway opinions.

One of the most significant powers the media has is that of being able to shape opinions.

For your community group or organisation, this presents great opportunities to get more people thinking positively about you after hearing positive news coverage of your group and what it is doing.

Because of this, your group should actively seek out positive publicity through positive media coverage.

But your group should also remember that any positive opinions generated from positive media coverage can be blunted or reversed by negative opinions generated through negative media coverage.

This means you need to have a plan in place if a "media crisis" hits. For more information on that, refer to the Media & Marketing help sheet Managing a Media Crisis.
The information contained on this site is subject to change. Our Community will not be liable for any loss or damage whatsoever coming from reliance placed on all or part of its contents.