Marketing & Communications Centre > Marketing Essentials > Help Sheets > Building Media into Your Activities

Building Media into all Your Activities

Whenever your community group has an activity or event planned, getting media coverage of it should be a priority.

This means your organisation should be aiming to be inclusive of the media, and build components of the media – and media coverage - into the activities you do.

Doing this is not a task that will be completed quickly; your group has to plan – laying some solid foundations to build relationships with the media before making sure you work to include them in what you do.


How to Build the Media into Your Activities

There are four steps you can take towards building the media into all your activities. They are:
  • Contacts.
  • Relationships.
  • Time.
  • Preparation.
Some of these steps are ongoing throughout your work with the media, while others serve as ways your group can build a base upon which to grow a healthy relationship with the media.


Contacts

The first and possibly most important thing is to make sure your group has properly established and developed its links with the media.

This is really a two-step process – the first step is to organise an individual or group of people whose role it is to work with the media.

Putting in place a media team – whether one person or a couple of people - defines these roles.

The help sheet Building a Media Team provides more details to help your group assemble the right people for the job.

But generally speaking, a media team is made up of a spokesperson, a co-ordinator and a writer – each with complementary roles that get your group's stories out to the media. And yes, the reality in most community organisations is that the one person fulfils all three roles but it is good to look at the different tasks for each role.

Those on your media team should be comfortable and enthusiastic when it comes to working with the media – with the spokesperson in particular needing to be comfortable answering questions, being interviewed or filmed and generally being the public face of your group.

Once you have your media team in place, the second step of the process is to actually get in touch with the media and establish those contacts by building your group's media contact list.

The help sheet Creating a Media Contact Book can give your group or organisation some guidance on how to do this, and some of the information you should keep on record about your media contacts.


Relationships

Once you have your media team in place, and have started building contacts for your media contact book, the next step is to grow them and establish ongoing and meaningful relationships.

The help sheet Using Your Media Contact Book has some tips on how your group can do this.

Ultimately, the time your group would have spent on compiling its media contact book will be wasted if you do not use it.

Keeping in touch with your media contacts builds this type of relationship – which in turn makes them more likely to cover any upcoming events you might be staging.

It is these relationships with various media outlets that give your group a foot in the door towards gaining media coverage of your activities.


Time

The next step in building the media into all your group's activities is to allow some time to do so.

When your group knows they have an activity, event or something major coming up, your group's media team should swing into action and discuss how to get the media involved.

This work should happen well in advance of the actual event itself, giving your group the maximum amount of time to map out a strategy to get the media involved.

Take some time to think about:
  • How your group will present your event to the media to get them interested.
  • Which media you want to get involved in covering your activity – local, state or national (or a combination)? Print, television or radio (or a combination)? Specialist media outlets, industry publications, etc.
  • At what stages will your group look for media coverage?
  • How long you need to let those outlets know ahead of publication/broadcast date to have your information covered?
  • Whether you target certain media outlets at certain stages in the lead-up to your event?
  • What work will your group have to do to meet this strategy.
Your group's media team can then rough out a media strategy to involve the media in your group's big event. Here's an example for a group which is looking to the media for coverage of its upcoming community fundraising festival.
  • Depending on the size of the festival, a media event and festival launch can be compiled some months beforehand. News releases can be sent out; a media event can be held on-site with some of the attractions/performers – with photo/vision opportunities available, and interviews also on offer.
  • Make sure your website – if you have one – is updated and includes information and details as well for any media that come across it.
  • 8-10 weeks out – aim for another, shorter story by sending a media release with a reminder that the event is on, repeating the details and announcing the final line-up of attractions. Again invite the media to contact you for further information.
  • About 6-8 weeks out – see if your group can get coverage in the community columns or what's on listings in newspapers, on radio or television for a couple of weeks.
  • With 3-4 weeks to go, approach various media for another story. It could be a feature story on your organisation, on the event itself, or a human interest story featuring members of your group or someone your group helps. Again, look at photo or vision opportunities, and make sure your event's details are repeated.
  • In the final month, endeavour to keep the event in the public's eye through the media. Be receptive to reasonable story requests from the media, as well as initiating media opportunities when appropriate. In the week before the event make sure you get solid media coverage to ensure people know what's happening, and when.
  • Encourage news crews to attend on the day – maybe think about issuing invitations and sending them by mail or fax. Again, be receptive to any follow-up interview or information requests the media might have.
  • In the wake of the event talk to the media about its success and give an update on money raised and what it can do. At this stage you can also use the media to thank sponsors, supporters and everyone else involved in the event.



Preparation

The idea of taking the time to rough-out the type of step-by-step plan above is to aid your group's preparation work – the final part of building the media into your activity.

Knowing what media coverage you are going to aim for, as well as when that media coverage is slated to occur, will allow your group or organisation to plan anything that needs to be prepared beforehand:
  • Media releases.
  • Photo opportunities involving your group and others.
  • Teeing up any interview talent or picture subjects that need to be organised.
Having these sorts of things ready to go before you embark on a media campaign makes it much easy to build the media into your activities.

Not only that, but it improves the efficiency and professionalism of your group – a factor the media will notice and appreciate when you are working with them.


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