In our last blog we talked about the importance of personality when engaging your audience. Of course, personality is just “shine” if there is no depth to it. Think of it a bit like any other relationship; a few good lines and a great sense of humour will work for the first date, but things won’t last if you don’t have more substance to a relationship.
The same is true for your organisation’s interaction with the media. This is no light flirtation, but a mutually-rewarding relationship for the long-term.
As we approach Valentine’s Day, your mind may be on flowers and chocolates, but here are 3 much more wonderful gifts that you can give your journalist friends!
And they won’t cost you a penny!
The FIRST Essential:
In this blog we are covering the FIRST Essential: Be Proactive
Media professionals are busy people. If you are actively approaching them with stories, you will make their lives easier and win their hearts.
Tip 1: Know your spokespeople
Every good relationship is built on authentic and honest conversations. So it doesn’t make sense if the media manager (or someone else) is the voice for everything. Instead, maximize the chance of a great match by thinking about:
Who is most passionate and informed about this topic?
Who is comfortable talking on the radio/TV?
Who would be willing to chat with a journalist on the phone, but wouldn’t want to appear in front of a camera/microphone?
Who can tell a great story and do public speaking well?
Who is a whiz with pithy quotes?
As you think about individuals who could support your media strategy, make sure that you think broadly. Your spokespeople could be service users, the CEO, a patron, your media manager, the receptionist… The key is to match someone who has the personality, confidence and key knowledge to do well in a particular context, on a particular media channel, for a particular purpose.
Tip 2: Create your case studies and statistics
Here’s something really important that most people don’t know…. The human brain works well with BIG numbers and SMALL numbers. Think about it… we understand probability (e.g. the likelihood of winning the lottery) and we understand individual stories (e.g. your friend’s neighbour’s Great Aunt Doris who spent all her lottery winnings on fig rolls). Our brains are not as good with middle-sized numbers.
That’s why journalists LOVE impressive statistics and personal stories. Here are some questions to help you get these ready:
What does your charity do better than another charity/public sector/private sector organisation, and how can you prove this with Maths? These could be about your quality of service, outputs or outcomes, such as:
95% of service users rate us as very good or excellent [quality]
90% of sick children in Area X have a toy in hospital with them as a result of our service [output]
People benefiting from our service are 58% more likely to get back into work than the national average [outcome]
How does your great cause spend money? For example:
People love human stories. It’s obvious (and important) to share the impact that your organisation has on its service users. But don’t forget about the wider ripples of your work. For example, could parents, siblings, offspring or support workers share how your service has indirectly benefited them? And what about your employees and volunteers; what is it about what you do that they love?
Tip 3: Plan your local, national and international calendars
Our last tip for our FIRST Essential (Be Proactive) is to make sure that you plan ahead. Not only will this reduce your stress (seriously, who wants to have to remember to tweet while wolfing down a sandwich at lunchtime or getting the kids ready for bed in the evening?)… but it will also make you much more effective and more likely to get your content shared.
The type of work that you do will impact upon the international and national days that are relevant to you, such as: World Cancer Day, National Fertility Week etc. Make sure that you don’t limit yourself too narrowly though; for example, most organizations could link in to International Women’s Day or World Book Day, even if those aren’t the core focus of your work.
Religious festivals also provide an opportunity to share good news. Perhaps one of your service users is enjoying the lights of Diwali for the first time in years?
Or another is spending their first Christmas outside hospital as a result of your work?
People can worry about linking into religious festivals, but if it is authentic and comes from the service user themselves, then it is appropriate to share in their joy.
For more tips and support, join our Gold Package by Valentine’s Day using this link…
And watch out for our next blogpost when we will be sharing top tips on the SECOND Essential: Building Trust.
We can help your Great Cause have great conversations - join us at our sessions and workshops.