Getting media coverage for your organization has lots of benefits. First, it raises the profile of your organization among potential donors, volunteers and supporters. Second, it adds legitimacy and social proof to your work. Third, it positions your non-profit and your staff as experts in your mission area.
There are numerous types of press coverage you can garner for your organization, ranging from newspaper, radio and television stories about your work to posts on local blogs about your organization to staff or board appearances on local talk radio. Media coverage can help your non-profit get its message out… and it’s easier to garner than you think.
Most organizations don’t need a high-priced public relations firm to generate press coverage. Here are three ways your non-profit can benefit from more media coverage this year:
#1 – Stay in Regular Contact with Reporters
Television, newspaper, radio and online reporters need a constant stream of news to fill their pages and airtime. Likewise, they are crunched for time, so when they need a comment on analysis for a story, they contact those who are already in touch with them, people who they know are happy to participate and help them out.
The best way to get press coverage is to stay in regular contact with reporters so that when a story comes up in your topic area, you are the first person they think to call. Thus, if you are the Executive Director of a homeless shelter, you want to be the “go to” person for reporters whenever stories about homelessness crop up. Similarly, you want to offer story ideas to reporters whenever you have something truly newsworthy to report.
The best way to stay in regular touch with reporters for both purposes is to send out press releases on a consistent basis that keep your non-profit front of mind for local reporters. Develop a media contact list for local reporters who report on the types of work you do, and send them a press release whenever you have news to report, preferably at least once per quarter.
#2 – Position Your Staff as Topic Experts
One great way to get lots of press coverage for your organization is to make sure that the local media knows that your staff are topic experts in your mission area. Thus, a local scholarship organization may want to position its staff as experts on inner-city education, while a cancer research non-profit would want reports to know that its staff are experts in cancer and cancer research.
Some ways to position your team members as experts include featuring staff biographies and contact information on your website that show your team’s expertise, having your staff members publish whitepapers about topics in your mission area, and holding seminars or conferences featuring your staff as expert speakers.
#3 – Use Online Reporters’ Websites to Make Yourself Available
Over recent years, a number of websites have popped up that aim to connect reporters who are working on a story with experts who can provide free background and comment on the topics the story is focusing on. T most popular of these websites is HARO (Help a Reporter Out). Registering on sites like HARO can provide great visibility for organizations looking to raise their media profile
Photo Credit: Artur Czackowski