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When you launch a nonprofit, its beneficiaries claim your attention, and rightly so. The people you impact should be your first priority. However, to reach those people with education, resources and services, you need external aid from the press. Here are six ways to capture the interest of the press and earn media coverage to help you impact your local community.
1. Build relationships with the press
If you want to affect the press, get to know the press. Trying to interact with them on a personal level can make you stand out from other contacts. You can even offer to meet with them face to face to share the story of your nonprofit so they can gauge their interest and connect with you on more than a digital level.
Digital isn’t inherently bad, though. You can start a relationship with them by reaching out and interacting through social media. If you share information that interests them, they may begin to trust you. And that trust can often allow you to reach out to them with news about your nonprofit.
2. Submit press releases
Press releases may seem like antiquated relics, but they remain effective—if used strategically. You should share press releases with press contacts, preferably the ones you’ve established a relationship with. Also submit them to key publications, such as traditional newspapers and television stations.
But don’t stick to just the regular outlets. Deliver your releases to community organizations, local bloggers who care about your cause and national publishers that align with your mission and vision. Press release distribution can help, too, but success with it requires careful targeting by region, demographic and other pertinent data points.
3. Share your expertise
Besides writing press releases, craft thoughtful opinion pieces and thought leadership articles. These types of content not only establish you as a leader in the nonprofit space, but also identify you as an organization that cares deeply about your local community and its needs.
If you struggle to come up with ideas for monthly pieces, talk with your staff as they may have thoughts on what subjects to address. Also use tools like Help A Reporter Out (HARO). Most organizations and businesses use this tool to request quotes and info from industry experts. Use HARO to gain media clips, establishing yourself as an industry expert and creating connections with those in the press. If reporters like your responses, they may reach out to you in the future.
4. Partner with other organizations
Your organization can accomplish a lot of good in the community, but you can amplify its influence by collaborating with another organization. Look for other nonprofits that echo your values and complement your mission and vision.
Once you establish a partnership, share the news with the press. Also build on each other’s news appearances by sharing and talking about them on social media. Doing so often builds camaraderie, exposes you to new audiences and catalyzes interest and engagement.
5. Host or participate in an event
Events are great opportunities for you to reach out to news outlets before, during and after they happen. Draft a schedule so that you stay on top of media outreach, and integrate visuals and videos with your copy. The extra content intrigues the media and often increases the likelihood of them covering you.
Besides media outreach, ensure you succeed by investing time and effort into the event’s activities, marketing and advertising. Plan the details of your pop-up event carefully beforehand—figure out how you’ll take payment, when the event will close down, if the event will have a photographer—and then have the press publicize those details for you. The more prepared you are, the more likely the media will pay attention.
6. Invest in social media
If you aren’t using social media, start—reporters often look at social media feeds to discover breaking news. If they see a report about your nonprofit’s efforts, they could reach out to you.
But don’t rely on being asked. Seek out attention by reaching out to influencers, people who willingly and joyfully spread the word about your cause. Whenever possible, transform influencers into documented brand ambassadors so you can track and reward their efforts. Their discussion, particularly during a giving day or event, could be the ingredient that gets the press to pay attention.
Finally, measure your efforts. Measurement identifies which of your tactics works best to solicit press. Once found, push it further. But don’t neglect the other tactics; most of the time, it takes multiple efforts, working together, to achieve a singular objective.
Your nonprofit makes a difference in the community by bringing people together in pursuit of a shared goal. When you remember that, getting press becomes easier to understand and do. Use these tips to bring you together with the press and find common ground and interests. Once the press notices you, share your story and endeavors to keep their attention.