Working with the Media A Guide for NAHU Members Presented By: Kelly Loussedes Vice President of Public Relations August 8, 2008 Purpose Statement The purpose of NAHU's Media Relations Committee is to demonstrate the value of the Health Insurance Professional and the importance of the private health insurance system, and to enhance the image of NAHU, by raising public awareness through media exposure at the national, state and local levels. Objectives A significant percentage of licensed agents, brokers and consultants will be NAHU members. NAHU will be known as a leader in industry and public-policy forums. NAHU Media Relations Tools Media Relations Tab on Homepage • 8 Guidebooks • Press release templates • List of canned editorials • 5 PowerPoint presentations on media relations • Ad co-op application • 6 NAHU FREE ads • Sound Bytes • Sample press kit • So much more … ! Media Relations Guidebooks Media Relations Officer’s Guide to Leadership Working with the Media Handbook Media Buying Guide Health Insurance Awareness Week Guide Hosting a Medicare Community Event MR Tools to Promote the Matrix How to Host a Press Conference Hosting a Hill Briefing FREE NAHU Ads “You Don’t Have To Do It Alone” “Knowledge Is Power” “Eat My Dust” Value of the Agent LPRT Long-term Care NAHU Sound Bytes Compiled a list of responses for you to use when reporters call – short and long version! We want to make you the expert. NAHU needs to speak with one voice. Media Spokesperson Database The Media Spokesperson Database is comprised of NAHU members who are experts on important NAHU issues such as Medicare Part D, HSAs, long-term care and the uninsured. We recently made enhancements to our media spokesperson database housed on the homepage of the NAHU website. Find an Agent Feature Extremely popular resource on the NAHU homepage. Profiled on major media outlets like the Today Show, Good Morning America, New York Times, LA Times, Washington Post and countless others. Ad Co-op Program NAHU has created an ad co-op fund that provides state and local chapters the formal opportunity to request assistance in buying print and broadcast advertisement. All NAHU chapters are eligible to receive up to 50% off the cost of running advertisements, up to a maximum of $1000 per year. Single Payer Campaign Conduct daily media searches in the top 25 media markets for articles highlighting single payer systems. Aggressive national media monitoring in key metropolitan areas has allowed NAHU to respond to reporters with timely letters-to-the- editor. Through this project, NAHU has begun debunking myths about the benefits of single payer systems nationwide, as well as demonstrating to NAHU members, consumers, policy makers and the media that NAHU is committed to combating this issue. Faces of the Uninsured Campaign New brochure that provides testimonials from 5 individuals and families from across the country that were previously uninsured but with the help of a NAHU agent now have health insurance. Effectively counters the single payer debate. www.facesoftheuninsured.com Protect Your Health & Your Future Long-term Care Partnership Campaign This PR campaign will help maximize the effectiveness of the new partnership legislation by educating the consumers, policy makers and the media about the benefits of these new plans. We will be publicizing our message through press conferences, editorial board meetings, print and broadcast ads as well as distributing new brochures and flyers promoting long-term care partnerships. Value of the Agent Campaign The brochure “NAHU Agents Come Equipped to Give You the Right Coverage and Peace of Mind” highlights the role of the agent and how they provide consumers and employers with the peace of mind that they’re getting the right coverage at the most affordable price. Two - 30 second radio spots on the role of the agent that stress the importance of having a professional health insurance agent to help consumers and employers navigate through the complexities of our health care system. Brand New Value of the Agent Ad Value of Media Relations What Can Media Outreach Do? • Project a positive image about our industry • Generate understanding of role in health care • Educate public about insurance • Identify NAHU members as a source of information • Provide balanced commentary • Advance legislative agenda OPPORTUNITIES FOR VISIBILITY Chapter News Feature Material • Legislative Activities • Consumer Tips or Advice • “Day on the Hill” • Meeting with Governor or National News Legislators • Reaction • Awards, Member Professional • Local Impact Achievements • Charitable Activities • Speaking Engagements • Public Hearings • Client Feature Stories Content Localize story or issue • Refer to local people and how issue will affect them and local businesses • Use quotes from local people about the story Craft meaningful, short messages with relevance to community Tell why it is relevant with facts/statistics; and tangible examples Tools of the Trade When and how to use the tools • Building a press list • Letter of introduction • Press release • Media advisory • Photo • Letter to the editor • Editorial/Op-Ed • Bylined article Initiating the Media Process Step by Step Finding the Right Media Outlets • NAHU has access through PR Newswire to current media lists by state and subject matter. • List should include print, television and radio reporters. Remember to also include weekly and community newspapers. • Make sure to include name, phone number, fax number, email, and address. Media Materials – What Kinds and How Do They Help? Letter of Introduction – Your credentials – Topic/issues you can address – An offer to provide a background briefing – Contact number, e-mail address Follow up by phone with every contact…just like in sales! When and How to Use the Tools Press Release -- Announces “News” • Include contact information and date of release • Include an eye-catching “headline” • Describe the “core” news message in first paragraph (who, what, when, where, why) • Expand the news story in following paragraphs • Include a quote from a recognized spokesperson in the organization • Close with a “boilerplate” paragraph about the organization announcing the news • Limit to 1 or 1 1/2 pages • Use ### or -30- at end of release When and How to Use the Tools Media Advisory -- Announces an upcoming news event or offers a resource person to address a current “hot” issue • Include an eye-catching “headline” • Distribute several days in advance of the news event • Use a “What, When, Where, Why” format • Bullet the main points • Provide contact information and date When and How to Use the Tools Photograph -- Attach a “cut-line” to the photo that identifies the person(s) in the photo and describes what is pictured • Include with appropriate news announcements (promotion, awards, partnerships) • Ask the reporter how they want the photo sent to them When and How to Use the Tools Letter to the Editor -- Responds to an article or editorial that has appeared in a publication • Make certain it relates directly to the topic • Include name of article, date, and page for reference • Be concise and brief • Share your unique perspective • Give examples • Close with your name, title and affiliation • (Advance Chapter approval required if identified) When and How to Use the Tools Op-Ed -- An “opinion piece” submitted by an individual or on behalf of an organization to a publication. • Needs to be linked to a topical issue of interest. • Offers a unique perspective. • Is brief (usually 300-600 words). • Includes name of author and affiliation. When and How to Use the Tools Bylined Article -- A lengthier article (primarily used in trade publications) authored by an organization’s staff or member on a topical issue • Offer to write an article for the publication • Do not prepare an article without discussing it with the editor When a Reporter Calls Get his/her affiliation Ask: “What story are you working on?” Ask: “What’s your deadline?” Promise to get back before (not on) deadline If TV, ask location, format, live or taped Telephone Interview Tips Buy prep time Establish “interview setting” – Clear your desk – Close the door Use notes Keep message points in front of you Telephone Interview Tips (con’t) Speak clearly and concisely – be able to explain your story in two brief sentences. Present your conclusion first. This sounds odd, but your time talking with a reporter will be limited, you need to assert the main point first and then support the statement with facts. Be honest. If you don’t know something the reporter asks, don’t guess. Tell him or her you will get back to him promptly with the correct information. Pitching Tips… And I Don’t Mean Baseball Make your pitch short. Media pitching is meant to intrigue the editor not to tell them everything you know about the health insurance industry. The pitch is to get the editor to say, "Yes, I'd like to talk to you." Know the publication and the reporter. Know the reporters coverage areas or interests. Press releases need to be of relevance and interest to their readership. “Blanket” press releases are not effective and tend to aggravate reporters. Pitching Tips… And I Don’t Mean Baseball (con’t) Reel 'em in with your subject line. If your subject line is boring or doesn't relate to anything the editor writes about, your email message is likely to end up in the "deleted items" file. Remember, it's very easy to hit that delete key. Write compelling copy. Short, succinct paragraphs are critical. You want the reader to keep reading. But if you can't say it in 4-6 short paragraphs, you need to rethink your message. Pitching Tips… And I Don’t Mean Baseball (con’t) Have something to say. Make sure your information is newsworthy. Keep in mind that publishers must provide interesting, beneficial, wanted information to their readers. Tie your pitch to a current event or trend. If you can link your release to a current event or trend, your email will be much better received. The editor must easily understand how your release can benefit their readers. Pitching Tips… And I Don’t Mean Baseball (con’t) Be honest. If you don’t know something the reporter asks, don’t guess. Tell the reporter you will get back to them promptly with the correct information. Always provide contact information. The reporter may have additional questions at a future time. You want to be the “go to” person when the reporter has a question on a health insurance related topic. Bridging Tips Some Reliable Bridges -- What’s important to remember is. . . . Before we move on to another subject, I want to add. . . . Your viewers should also remember. . . . The reality is…. There is more to the story, specifically. . . . You make a good point there, but our main consideration was. . . Let me take a step back. . . . What the public needs to understand…. I’d just like to touch on…. But may I just add…. Bridging Tips (con’t) No spinning, fudging, or skirting! Instead of “no comment,” bridge by saying: I don’t know the exact number, but I can tell you…. I don’t know; I’ll be happy to help you find out, but what’s important here is…. Flagging – Focuses attention on your message and provides emphasis. To flag one of your core messages: stop, use a gesture and wording to highlight your point: – What the audience needs to know is. . . . – What I want to be sure you understand here is. . . . – The critical point is…. – If there’s one point viewers need to understand…. Bridging Tips (con’t) Consider your Messages – Review sound bites and quotable phrases – Facts and statistics – Examples – Analogies Be ready to speak in layman’s terms — no jargon! Project Positive Energy – You’re glad to be here – You’re interested in your audience – You have knowledge you want to convey Bridging Tips The First Question Rule: Take Control You can begin your answer with a “bridge” such as: “Mike, that’s a great question. Let’s take a step back and look at some important information. I’d like to give you some history….” Then deliver your message. NEVER ANSWER A HYPOTHETICAL QUESTION! A journalist might try to get an interesting story by leading you into a “what if” scenario. Never speculate. Instead, bridge to one of your core messages with: That’s too hypothetical at this point, but…. I don’t want to speculate on that, but what I think you’re trying to get at is…. Ten Tips Use simple, direct answers Repeat messages Pause Don’t over answer: make point, stop talking Avoid jargon Listen, don’t interrupt Stay in your zone of expertise Don't get angry Never say “off the record” or “no comment” Don’t say it if you don’t want to see it Media Relations Award Winners will be recognized for media relations activities that have placed them in the forefront in all areas of media relations activities, including the following: – Media Relations committee in place – Press list of local media contacts – Sending press releases – Publication of Op-eds and other editorials – Prints and broadcast press hits – Keeping NAHU informed on press exposure – Attend “Working with the Media” webinars Appointing a Media Chair Look to members who regularly attend meetings as potential volunteers. Don’t need to have prior media relations experience, but must be willing to work with the local media. Make sure to match the right job to the right person. Share expectations with new volunteers. Make sure new recruits know what is expected of them. Responsibilities of a Media Chair Compile a list of local print and broadcast media contacts. Send press releases to media contacts responding to targeted legislative issues. Forward NAHU releases on national issues to media contacts with a local spin. Send media advisories to reporters announcing chapter events. Submit op-eds and other editorials responding to targeted legislative issues. Send NAHU media relations staff person all chapter press releases, media advisories and other communications with the media. Present NAHU’s “Working with the Media” PowerPoint presentation at chapter meetings.
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