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Using Power Lobbying and Media Coverage
11 tips for using the Media * • 1. Keep it short. Strip your message to the bare bones. Remember people hardly have time to read these days. Put your detailed information in a `fact page' at the end. 2. Think headlines. If the crux of your message cannot be expressed in a few words (maybe a sentence) it's unlikely to be successful. • 3. Use a consistent slogan and logo. This is the best way to make your campaign instantly recognizable, especially over an extended period. • 4. Do it regularly. Regular communication is essential to build a loyal and expectant constituency. • 5. Be positive. Don't have a message which is totally negative. Offer a practical solution to the problem. This can inspire people. Litanies of disaster simply depress your audience and ruin the motivation. • 6. Set the agenda. Redefine the problem to fit your solution. • 7. Be visual. Pictures are much more effective than words. Pictures should reinforce emotions. Forget the intellectual high ground. • 8. Appeal to emotions in news stories e.g.. conflict, fear, triumph over adversity (David & Goliath). • 9. Entertain. Think of the media as theatre; it is primarily for entertainment. • 10. Match the medium. Tailor the message to fit the different types of media. • 11. Limit the campaign. Keep campaign segments to less than three months, otherwise everyone forgets the message, people lose interest and the campaign loses momentum.
Tools for Using the Media • Maintain a list of media outlets and resources. • Establish exchange relationships with media sources; it’s legitimate to offer information or to even “write the story” in some instances • Be prepared to refer reporters and produces to additional information sources • Issue press releases • Hold press conferences • Go on talk shows to promote your message • Use independent, alternative, and Internet sources. Press releases can be emailed or posted on the Internets. Blogs, MySpace, and FaceBook are legitmate ways to advertise events or issues.
Things to Remember • Not all media contacts may result in a story. • If the story is printed it may not reflect your point of view on the subject. • In some cases, the media can be influenced (letters to the editor; writing op-ed pieces, meeting with newspaper editorial boards; using celebrities)
Sample Press Release • Writing a Press Release - Technical Details • Your press release should include a few essential components. They are:1. Date Instructions"For Immediate Release";"For Release Before [date]" or"For Release After [date]"Use one of the latter two if your press release is of a time sensitive nature. For example, if you are holding a public speaking event, you will want to use the "For Release Before [date]" and make sure you input the final date for registrations. If you are using the "For Release Before [date]" ensure you are sensitive to media deadlines. Send your release out well in advance. • 2. HeadlineWrite an attention-grabbing headline. Make it benefits-oriented (why would it be of interest to people?) and descriptive. Avoid hype and promotional language ~ remember, this is a news story.3. Contact InformationInclude as much information as possible here. Make it easy for the media to contact you. Include your phone number, address, company name, fax number, email and URL. Include the hours you are available at the listed phone number and add an after hours phone number, if applicable.4. SummaryBefore you get into the body of the release, write a sentence or two to summarize your press release. Make it interesting, you want the recipient to keep reading. Also, include the area to which this release is relevant.5. ContentThis is the meat of your press release. Again, write a benefits-oriented story. Think of the target audience as you are writing. Your target audience is partly the editor or reporter who will be reading the release. Ultimately, however, your target audience is that editor or reporter's readers or audience. You need to write a story that will be of interest to them.The first paragraph should answer all the important questions - Who, What, Where, When, Why & How? You only have a few seconds to keep an editor's or reporter's interest. Here's your chance.6. Signify the End of Your Press ReleaseThe end of your press release is shown by a few simple characters. Place ### at the end of your release.
Role Play • Use your talking points created in the last exercise to convince a classmate (role playing the part of a legislator) to adopt your point of view. • How difficult or easy is it to put your point of view across?
Sample Press Release • PRESS RELEASE--- • January 20, XXXX • CONTACT:Jane Doe, (555) 555-1234 • VOLUNTEERS HONOR DR. KING BY RENOVATING LOCAL SCHOOL • Martin Luther King Day was a "day on, not a day off" for local students, parents, teachers, and other volunteers who brought new life to Lakeview Elementary School on Monday. • "We saw this as a time to get others involved in their community, and to serve with people of all ages and backgrounds," said Nancy Jones, director of the Neighborhood Service Alliance, which coordinated the service project. "The best way for young people to learn about Dr. King's legacy is to get involved themselves." • Joining students, teachers, and parents were AmeriCorps members from the Lakeview Service Corps, volunteers with the Seniors in Schools Program, and community volunteers of all ages and backgrounds. The volunteers painted the school's hallways, designed a mural honoring Dr. King, and stocked the library with books about Dr. King. • The service project was one of hundreds of activities held in states and cities nationwide to honor the legacy of Dr. King. In 1994, Congress passed the King Holiday and Service Act, directing the King Center and the Corporation for National and Community Service to carry out a day of service reflecting Dr. King's life and teachings. • David Eisner, chief executive officer of the Corporation for National and Community Service, said, "Martin Luther King said, 'Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve.' We honor the life and legacy of Dr. King by doing things that help others and strengthen communities." • For more information about the national day of service, please visit www.mlkday.gov. ###