Nedra is a social marketing consultant, author and speaker who works with nonprofits and government agencies for positive health and social change using social media, transmedia storytelling and entertainment education approaches at Weinreich Communications.Email me
These and other steps executed well locally could help your leader become recognized as an expert nationally, as well. While that might not be your goal, it certainly won't hurt your local efforts.
Got a media relations or publicity topic you'd like to know more about? Drop me a line at email@example.com and I'll try to answer it here.
Op-eds – essays that appear opposite the editorial pages of newspapers – are powerful communications tools for nonprofit organizations working to influence public policy or initiate change. But too many local nonprofits miss some of their best opportunities to inform readers through these opinionated essays.
National headline news stories give nonprofits the hook their opinion pieces need to catch an editorial page editor’s attention, but we don’t always take advantage of this because we can’t react quickly enough to write and place an essay when it’s still timely. That’s why I recommend having at least one op-ed written in advance to use when a news event brings the op-ed’s topic to the public’s attention.
Recent headlines provide examples. Last week’s comments from the director of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff, that we are “entering a period of increased risk” for terrorist attacks provided an opportunity for organizations with opinions on this topic to place op-eds about whether we are doing enough to protect Americans at home – or whether we should react to Chertoff’s “gut feeling.”
Here are 10 tips for writing effective op-eds you can update according to the news story for immediate publication:
With this approach, when your issue is suddenly making headlines, you can write an introduction that connects the news to your essay and e-mail it to the editor quickly.
Questions? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Greetings from your guest blogger. I’m Sandy Beckwith, author of Publicity for Nonprofits: Generating Media Exposure That Leads to Awareness, Growth, and Contributions (Kaplan Publishing). Nedra asked me to contribute here while she was moving to the Los Angeles wilderness because she knows that I want to help nonprofit organizations learn how to work with the media in the most productive ways possible.
Today, I’d like to talk about message development because it’s one of the essential early steps of publicity planning – one that I think is frequently overlooked. It’s important to give careful thought to exactly what you want to say to your audiences not only through the media, but in all your organization’s written and spoken communications. What is it, exactly, that you need to get across to people?
Your message could vary, depending on the situation and circumstances. In some cases, your goal might be to communicate a message related to your organization’s mission or reputation. In other situations, you might want to communicate messages related only to a project or program you’re promoting, not the entire organization. Regardless, here’s the bottom line: If you aren’t clear on your message each time you communicate with the media, your publicity efforts will be less effective. Careful attention to messages allows you to get a little more control over the unpredictable – and generally uncontrollable – publicity process. Anything you can do to exert some control is good.
Message development is essentially a six-step process:
1. Defining the issue
2. Creating draft or preliminary messages
3. Testing the draft messages
4. Refining the messages
5. Testing the final messages
6. Adjusting the final messages
Here are a few tips to help prevent some of the more common mistakes in this process:
Got a publicity question you’d like me to answer? Send a note to email@example.com and I’ll do my best to answer here.
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