3 Tips for an Effective Media Relations Program

By: Steve Erickson, CAE

Fresh ideas for strengthening your media relations efforts, drawn from the latest book in ASAE's "199 Ideas" series.

ASAE's new book, 199 Ideas for Creative Communication and Public Relations, represents the collective wisdom of communications experts in the association community, brimming with ideas for effective communication in the association environment. Some of the tips in this new collection relate to the development of an effective media relations program. Here are three of the top ones:

  1. Create a media toolkit for association leaders and spokespeople. Arm your volunteer leaders and spokespeople with a media toolkit that includes media relations tips for each medium (print, television, radio, social media, and webcast) and pointers about how to stay on message when participating in an interview as a representative of the association. This toolkit should also include sample news releases, letters to the editor, and opinion pieces to give users examples of materials for diverse media exposure. Consider developing an online version to showcase public service announcements, web-only content, and audiovisual files to demonstrate multimedia exposure.
  2. Identify media needs. Getting media exposure is not easy. What you consider newsworthy may not match what reporters believe is of interest to their audience. Do your homework and find out the topics of interest to each segment of targeted media. It's not so much about your association and what it wishes to convey as it should be about what the audience would be interested to learn. Brevity and content relevance are two essential elements of a good news story.
  3. Make your media training "sticky." Media training is not a one-day event. Some associations become complacent, claiming their executives have been "media trained" because they participated in a workshop. Refuse to fall into that trap. Ask your media training consultant how he or she fosters the ongoing sharpening of skills. Do trainees receive a copy of a training guide? A written follow-up report? Make ongoing phone or email counseling part of the mix, and plan for your media training to occur year-round in a variety of platforms.

Steve Erickson, CAE, is chief communication officer and senior vice president, marketing and communication, at the American College of Cardiology. Email: [email protected]

Steve Erickson, CAE