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Public Relations 101. Tips for Developing Media Contacts Deb Low, NCCS Board Member Coverage Examples and Discussion Anne Kelley, NCCS Board Member. Tips for Developing Media Contacts.

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public relations 101
Public Relations 101
  • Tips for Developing Media Contacts
    • Deb Low, NCCS Board Member
  • Coverage Examples and Discussion
    • Anne Kelley, NCCS Board Member
tips for developing media contacts

Tips for Developing Media Contacts

The following is a basic guide to developing and retaining positive relationships with local media resources. Many chapters are already up and running an excellent Public Relations Program, others have indicated that they could use a few helpful suggestions. At any time, if you have questions or need additional help from afar, please contact National CCS Board Member:

Deb Low

first prepare
First, Prepare:
  • Establish a contact list
    • Ascertain who in your membership has contact with local media affiliates through personal friendships and/or professional relationships.
    • Ask for their assistance in developing contacts or taking the lead role on this project.
printed media
Printed Media
  • Establish contact with your local Diocese print outlet.
  • When formulating a secular print contact, build a relationship with the editor dealing specifically with non-profit information/community relations
  • If your area has a morning and an evening newspaper, appeal to both sources.
television media
Television Media
  • Remember our special appeal & affinity for Catholic and Christian affiliates.
  • Call the three major television network affiliates (CBS/NBC/ABC)
      • Ask who handles press releases in their organization.
      • Obtain name, title, email address and telephone extension information for the individual.
      • This information needs to be re-verified and updated regularly.
  • Depending on whether you are located in a large media market or a smaller town, also include another local station or two: (PBS/FOX).
radio media
Radio Media
  • Choose approximately 3 to 4 radio stations
  • Think in terms of sending your message to diverse listening audiences:
        • 1Catholic and/or Christian radio station.
        • 1 rock and roll station
        • 1classical station
        • 1 country western station
  • Obtain the same contact information as is listed for television media.

From Prepare to Engage:

Develop your “go-to” contacts beforeyou need their help.Next, tell them your “story”, always remembering that they are expert story-tellers

how to help the m edia t ell y our story
How to Help the Media Tell Your Story:
  • Invite key media contacts for individual visits to see your chapter in action prior to any need for publicity.
  • Follow-up with a written note appreciating their time and promising to advance them good story material.
  • Be on a first name basis with your contacts; help them remember you for POSITIVE REASONS:
    • Good story tips / selective use of their time/thoughtful interactions.
  • Always be honest and genuine with your media contact.
    • If you don’t have an answer to a question, research it and get back to them in a timely fashion.
  • Only provide true and accurate information to the media
  • Every reporter has a deadline: ask what it is – and respect it!
develop a media file
Develop a Media File
  • Do this even before you obtain coverage.
  • Create an ongoing list of all interactions with contacts:
            • phone calls,
            • personal visits
            • press releases, etc.
  • Track all attempts to obtain coverage, successful or not.
  • Look for a pattern of whom you can rely upon and who is clearly not interested in covering your story.
  • Put media contacts on your chapter Christmas card list.
write easy to read press releases
Write Easy-to-Read Press Releases
  • Follow a “what/where/when/why/who” format that gives the reader info at a glance. 
  • Establish the method by which your contact prefers to receive press releases.
    • Most reporters prefer contact via e-mail.
    • Some contacts appreciate a follow-up release or phone call on the morning of the event.
  • Remember that it is not unusual for a media contact to receive dozens of press releases in a single day: Make sure your press release STANDS OUT.
how to make your story stand out
How to Make Your Story STAND OUT
  • You are on a first-name basis with your contact
  • The story is deserving of coverage
    • Are you filling a community need at an appropriate time?
  • You have included a few succinct facts and/or statistics that the reporter can use in your story:
    • “96% of children receiving aide qualify for free or reduced lunch, according to government officials”.
  • You have an “angle” that sets your story apart
    • Example: winter coats and Girl Scouts
  • You have a list of third party quotes/endorsers to help the reporter add flavor to the story

On the News Day:

  • Give the reporter phone numbers where you can be promptly reached
  • Have a photo release form completed and filed for any minor photographed or filmed at your event or on your property.
    • A photo release template is included at the end of this guide.
media coverage follow up
Media Coverage Follow-Up
  • Send a sincere note of thanks for their time and dedication to getting your story out to the public and spreading the good word about your mission.
  • Be aware of other stories that the reporter covers and e-mail them congratulations on a job well-done
    • Give the reporter the sense that you are engaged and supportive and that you “get them”
    • Ensure your name and organizational affiliation is in front of their eyes before you “need” them again.
spread the good word
Spread the Good Word
  • Get copies of the coverage and file in media file
    • For a TV or radio segment:
      • Find out from your contact where to obtain a copy of the piece
      • Look in the phone book under “Media Marketplace/Media Exchange/Mediacom” for outlet(s) that record and sell news segments
    • For print coverage, obtain and retain digital files and multiple hard copies
  • Spread the news:
    • Play TV segments at CCS events to demonstrate community impact and positive image of CCS
    • Profile media coverage in your CCS newsletter
    • Include media coverage in updates to donors and grantors
    • Send links or copies to NCCS so we can spread your good word as well
last b ut not least
Last But Not Least:
  • Have fun spreading your Chapter Story to the public!
  • Celebrate your success!
available resources
Available Resources:
  • Sample Press Release-CCS
  • Sample Template with Instructions
  • Sample Press Release-Habitat for Humanity
  • CCS Photo Release-Child
  • CCS Photo Release-Adult
  • Emmy award winning documentary in Detroit:
  • “Best Kept Secret”: Western Reserve
  • “Here’s What They’re Saying”: Baltimore
  • “Christ Child Society of Baltimore Targets Underserved Community Members”
  • Skill sets necessary to do “PR”
    • It’s not rocket science
    • It takes organization and preparation
    • Recruit professionals as members/advisors
  • Targeting audiences for outcomes you need
  • Developing angles and messaging to help you stand out
    • Including broader story of national organization/founder
  • Overcoming “Christ Child”/Catholic association with secular media
coming soon to the nccs website
Coming Soon to the NCCS Website:

How-To Tips for Interviewing Well On-Camera