Making media contacts

Stacy Jones
Stacy Jones

Stacy Jones

Gaining media attention can be a challenge. Following some simple steps can help your organization make the right media contacts and position your organization for better media exposure.

Do your research. Take the time to research local media outlets to understand who the local journalists are and the issues they cover. What do they look for when covering a story? How do they want to be contacted? What do they care about in their community? Target the journalists and the publications that already care about your cause.

Prepare your media kit and send. Send your media kits to the most appropriate journalists and offer to be a resource for them when they cover topics related to your cause. Make sure you highlight your expertise. After you make the offer, make sure you are available to speak with the media and return calls within one hour, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. A journalist trying to make a deadline will not wait days or even hours for your return call. Be prompt and prepared.

Be proactive. Don’t wait for the media to come to you. Send news releases as often as you have “newsworthy” material. Write news releases, op-eds and features and post events on the community calendar. Highlight the positives happening in your organization or around the issues you cover.

Give the media what they need. The following are important elements to consider when looking for media attention:

Is your story newsworthy and are you sending it to the most appropriate media outlet? Here are some factors to consider when judging whether something may be newsworthy or not.

  • Does this highlight an issue that affects a lot of people, or is it relevant to a large percentage of the population?
  • Is this an update or resolution to a story that has already been in the media?
  • Is the story informative or based on compelling research?
  • Is this a local angle on a national story?
  • Or is the story a compelling human interest story?

Good Sound Bites or Quotes. If you are able, include compelling quotes or sound bites to add to the overall impact of the story. Adding this to an already newsworthy item can see the story move to a more prominent part of the publication and adds to the overall quality of the piece.  

Compelling Photos or Video. In print, a story can be newsworthy on the words alone but a photo can drive home the point and make the piece move to the front of the publication. It also can increase the impact of the story. On television, video and photos are what make the story. Great footage accompanying the story can make or break whether it’s covered in the news.

Stacy Jones is a nonprofit marketing consultant based in Troy, N.Y., and a Shoestring Creative Group Network Affiliate. Stacy can be reached at or 888.835.6236.

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