Generating Media Publicity by sW9S27


									                       Generating Media Publicity
The news media in your community/service area present your facility with a number of
opportunities for accomplishing your World Blood Donor Day (WBDD) communications
objectives. The news media reach a significant portion of your target audience of frequent
and former donors every day. Your challenge will be to use your creativity, hard work,
and communications strategies to generate ongoing publicity for your facility.

The following steps will help you generate media publicity for WBDD and throughout
the year.

Step 1 – Understanding the Media

What Reporters Want
When it is important to generate publicity, it’s important to understand how the media
operate. A vital part of that understanding is knowing what reporters want. Reporters
want to accomplish a number of things, including to:

      Develop stories or produce programs that have audience appeal;
      Have access to newsmakers, experts and valuable information;
      Maintain objectivity about their stories;
      Get the jump on their competitors;
      Get space or air time that other reporters at the same paper or station are
       competing for; and
      Find or uncover a new angle to a story.

Some things that reporters, in general, try to avoid are:

      Printing inaccurate, incomplete or irrelevant stories;
      Covering topics or issues that have already been covered;
      Missing their deadlines for filing stories; and
      Wasting their time.

What Your Blood Center Wants
Your facility’s needs are very different from reporters’ needs. Generating publicity for
your facility’s campaign efforts essentially means you have to mesh your interests with
those of the reporter(s). That is, you must make the topics and issues that are of interest to
you of interest to reporters. Reporters may be interested in technical advances geared
toward making blood more safe, special events designed to meet ongoing blood needs,
lifesaving stories, and so on.

Dealing with Reporters
When dealing with reporters, you should be sure to:

      Contact the appropriate reporter at the appropriate publication or program;
      Respond quickly to the reporter’s request(s) for additional information or
       interviews; and
      Be prepared to answer questions and discuss issues in depth once you have piqued
       the reporter’s interest.

On the other hand, do not:

      Offer the reporter stale news or hackneyed story ideas;
      Call when they are on deadline;
      Persist if a story idea is rejected; or
      Pressure them to cover a topic by “going over their heads.”

Step 2 – Do Your Media Homework

Reviewing Donor Media Habits
It is important that you learn as much as possible about donor media habits. Doing so will
help you focus your efforts on the media channels most effective in reaching potential

You can find specific information about donor media habits in your area. Start by calling
the advertising departments of local newspapers, magazines, radio, and television
stations. Even if you are not going to buy advertising, ask to be sent a copy of the
advertising media rate kit, which typically includes information on the demographics of
readers, listeners, or viewers.

Step 3 – Develop a List of Reporters

Creating Your Press List
Once you have done your homework and have a good idea of which media the potential
donors in your area watch, listen to and read, it is time to develop your press list. You
will want to know who the reporters are at each of the local newspapers, magazines,
radio, and television stations who write about blood donation. They would include health,
community, and lifestyle reporters.

Identifying Key Reporters
Working successfully with the press over the long term essentially means you have to
establish positive, ongoing relationships with reporters. If you are not familiar with the
reporters who cover health topics for the media in your area, spend some time finding out
who they are. For smaller newspapers, the city desk editor may be the person to contact
for local events.

Look for reporters via their bylines on articles about health or other issues related to
blood donation. Or simply call each newspaper or broadcast station and ask for their
names. Who covers stories about blood donation and/or transfusion medicine at this
media outlet? Local chapters of the Public Relations Society of America also may have
current lists of media contacts they would be willing to share.
To make sure your list is complete, be sure to contact:

      Newspapers (dailies, weeklies, monthlies, and any other small community
      City and regional magazines;
      Local trade and business publications;
      State or local bureaus of national wire services (such as AP and Reuters), and
       religious and ethnic news services;
      News operations at local radio and TV stations, including university stations;
      Local cable television stations;
      Public broadcast stations (which may not have news operations but may have
       programs on health); and
      State or local bureaus of national television and radio networks (if available in
       your community).

Both health reporters and consumer reporters are likely to be interested in blood donation
issues. While you are composing your list, you might also want to identify calendar
editors. Calendar editors may be more likely to be interested in listing the time, dates, and
locations of special community blood drives. Health and consumer reporters would be
less interested in covering a specific drive and more interested in covering news and
feature stories.

Step 4 – Build Rapport with Reporters

Introducing Yourself
Once you have compiled a list of reporters, you will need to call and introduce yourself.
Do not wait until you want to try to place a story or article—do it right away. Tell the
reporters the kind of information and experts you have access to and offer yourself as a
resource to them on blood-related issues.

Find out how reporters like to have information brought to their attention—by phone, fax,
mail, or email. Also, it is wise to find out when their deadlines are so you know when not
to call and by when you must get information to them. Keep your introductory
conversation brief, but follow it up with a letter and a press kit.

As you read, view, or listen to a reporter’s story, write a brief note acknowledging the
piece. Everyone appreciates a kind “pat on the back.”

Proposing Story Ideas
When you deal with the press, remember there are essentially two kinds of stories: news
stories, which are stories the public needs to know about right away, and feature stories,
which can run one day just as well as the next.

What is a news story?
An example of a news story could be your facility’s kick-off event for WBDD or a blood
shortage in the area that requires immediate attention.
What is a feature story?
For celebratory days (World Blood Donor Day), weeks (Blood Collectors Week) and/or
months (National Blood Donor Month), you might want to “pitch” a story that would
profile frequent blood donors and their personal motivations for giving, and/or a profile
of a patient who was saved by blood transfusions, and/or an interview with a physician
who uses the blood provided by your center in transfusions. These are all ideal feature

Whether a story is a news story or a calendar announcement may depend on the size of
your community or the size of the newspaper. A small community with a biweekly paper,
for example, might consider a blood drive announcement to be a solid news story. It may,
for instance, announce the drive, cover and photograph the collection, and report the
drive results. In larger communities, the story would most likely end up on the calendar
page, if it appeared at all.

You will find some fill-in-the-blank feature releases in this section of the guide that
present story angles that might interest reporters in your community. You may think of
other ideas as well. You can use these samples as guides for drafting your own.

You do not have to draft a feature release in order to pitch a feature idea to reporters,
although it helps. All you have to do is supply the idea and the resources the reporter will
need to write the story: background information, fact sheets, names of experts to
interview, possible locations at which to shoot, and so forth.

Maintaining Contact
Once you have established contact with reporters for World Blood Donor Day, be sure to
maintain it. Send reporters information when you have newsworthy stories and feature
releases or when you have a story idea that may interest them. And remember, if
reporters call you and ask for assistance it is important to respond quickly to help them.
You also should consider sending them thank you notes in response to stories they write,
as well as holiday cards/greetings during the holiday season.

Taking Advantage of Public Service Advertising
Participating in a media campaign will help your local recruitment efforts by increasing
the public’s awareness of the need to donate blood.

Extending the PSA Reach
Your facility can use these materials by localizing them and working with local radio
stations, especially since many of the radio stations may not use the PSAs without being
convinced that there is a local tie-in.

Research of public service directors in all types of media has demonstrated that even if a
PSA campaign is produced by a well-respected national organization, and even if the
spots are good ones, the chances of the media using a PSA increase if there is a
community tie-in (i.e., if a local organization is involved in the campaign).
Experience has shown that smaller community newspapers (dailies, weeklies, and
monthlies), regional magazines and business publications (such as employee newsletters)
will include PSAs if they receive them and believe them to be important.

Working with Public Service Directors
It is no secret that competition for public service space and airtime is intense. In trying to
get the media to use PSAs, your facility will be competing against a host of other national
and local nonprofit agencies.

Public service directors are the staff people in radio and TV stations who decide whether
to run PSAs, and when and where to place them. These directors also are, in many cases,
responsible for initiating community affairs projects for their stations or papers and often
look to local organizations such as your facility for support, ideas, statistics, and
background information.

Your facility’s task is to convince local public service directors that blood donation is an
issue that is of importance to the community, their listeners or viewers, and warrants their
airtime or print space.

Here is a suggested outline of the steps your facility may take to get the PSAs used:

      Identify the public service directors at local radio stations and the advertising
       managers at newspapers. Using the media list you developed for your publicity
       efforts as a guide, make a complete list of the public service directors in the area.
      Send a letter to the directors introducing your facility and describing your public
       awareness campaign. Be sure to indicate that you will be calling to set up an
       appointment to discuss your facility and its PSA campaign.
      Follow up your letter with a call. Try to arrange an appointment to discuss the
       PSAs and the community’s blood needs. You should need only 15 or 20 minutes
       of the director’s time. Remember that radio stations and newspapers are busy
       places, and requests for airtime and print space are abundant. Be flexible and
      Think up an innovative way to deliver the letter and your PSAs. PSA directors are
       inundated with requests, so yours has a better chance of being run if it stands out.
      If you can not get an appointment, follow up with a detailed letter. Fully describe
       your campaign and its implications for the community. Include copies of your
       press kit and the PSAs. If you are able to schedule an appointment, take a press kit
       and fact sheets with you.
      In your meeting, emphasize the importance of the campaign to the station’s or
       publication’s audience. Talk about efforts your blood center will undertake to
       recognize the station’s or newspaper’s commitment and support.
      Follow up your visit with a thank you note.

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