Part one of the nonprofit media relations guide discussed background steps to prepare a nonprofit media relations strategy. Part two covers how nonprofits can communicate with media.
Communication Tools for Nonprofit Media Relations
Face-to-face meetings - The best way to build relationships with the media is through face-to-face communication. Try taking a local reporter out to lunch - it may be the best $20 investment your organization can make (you may get a little media training out of the meeting too).
Fact sheets and issue briefs – These documents provide a concise, clear and effective way to provide key messages and information about your nonprofit. Fact sheets may be included in press kits.
News releases – Releases are the most common and conventional way to disseminate information to the media. They are a formal communications tool that may present an angle or story about your organization and its work.
Social media releases – Similar to traditional media releases, but with more integrated social and multimedia content. CNW (Canada), MarketWire (US), RealWire (UK) and PitchEngine offer social media release options.
Twitter - Social media networks like Twitter are becoming increasingly popular to build relationships with reporters and manage media contact lists.
Event release or invite - Offers details about a fundraising, community-building or professional development event related to your issue. Eventbrite is one popular tool.
Pitch letter – Similar to a news release, but less formal. A pitch letter provides key messages and suggests a story that a journalist might write.
Telephone and email – Call or email reporters to pitch story ideas. Journalists prefer to be called in the
morning or early afternoon. Be accountable and ensure that you meet journalist’s deadlines.
Op-eds, reaction statements and letters to the editor – Submitting an opinion piece or a letter to the editor is a way to raise the profile of an issue covered in the media or draw attention to an story your organization wishes to address.
Newsletters – Sending out a quarterly newsletter is an effective way to provide up-to-date information about your organization and build a community of interest around your issue. MailChimp, Campaigner, AWeber and Vertical Response are popular newsletter options.
What other tools have you used to communicate with media?