4 tips for getting media relations right

Sue Cox being interviewed by Toronto television stationGetting your nonprofit organization in the news is one of the best public relations tactics so much so that media relations is often synonymous with PR.

For nonprofits looking for the most bang for their buck, getting “unpaid media” is a must because your messages or stories are considered more credible because coming from unbiased third party. A news story about what you are doing also gets you in front of people in a way that you could never afford to buy.

As a result, it can work better for you than advertising.

But you need to do it right:

  1. Your story must be newsworthy to be covered as “hard” news. In other words, why would someone outside of your world care about what you are doing. Is there something truly new, unique, or rare?
  2. Send out news releases when you have something newsworthy to communicate.
  3. Only contact the media when you have hard news or you risk the same fate as the boy who cried wolf too often. You risk being ignored when you have something to say.
  4. Get your news releases into the right hands. Who covers your subject? Which editor is making the decision on story assignments?

But don’t ignore your everyday stories, the media is also looking for good news (also called “soft” news) and what may be commonplace to you is news to many journalists and the general public.

Recognize when you have a story that helps to illustrate what you do and why people should care.  Charities, non-profits and arts organizations have an advantage to getting coverage because the media truly wants to help you. Work with them by helping them to get what they need and you can benefit from their coverage.