Last week, I attended a conference about how to get free publicity for your nonprofit. Jeff Crilley, former Fox 4 News reporter and President/CEO of Real News PR, led the workshop. He spoke from the perspective of a news reporter, which gave all of the listening nonprofits the inside scoop! Now, there are a few tips he gave us that I want to share so you too can use this information.
- Talk to your local Rotary, Lions, and Kiwanis clubs about speaking at their meetings because they are constantly looking for new speakers. These clubs often support nonprofits, and this is a great way to introduce yourself to them. People who belong to these clubs are the influential people you want to know!
- Find the right person to contact at your local newspaper and TV station. Once you find them, build a solid relationship with this person, so they’ll want to highlight your organization. If you don’t know this person yet, go to news.google.com. From here, just enter a typical Google search about your cause. For example, if your nonprofit focuses on substance abuse, look up drug and alcohol related stories. Once you find the articles, find out who wrote them. RESEARCH this news reporter. Know what other stories they have recently written, so when you call them (yes, CALL them) you can begin the conversation with a compliment. Emails aren’t as personal, and you want to build a relationship, right? Tell them you have recently read their article about, “fill in the blank,” and you appreciate their writing style. This is how you can begin building rapport with the reporter.
- “I can’t get in contact with the right person!” If this is your situation, call the sales department. They will always answer the phone. Then, just ask them to transfer you to the reporter you need to get in contact with.
- Do you send in press releases? Press Releases have become obsolete. They are strictly used to explain the time, date, place and further details of your nonprofit; not to get you in the paper. You have to hook the reporter first and give them a tease about the story. Call them up and let them know you have a great story they might be interested in. Tell them the gist, and do so in a creative way that will get their attention. Once they are hooked, email them your press release so they will have the exact details.
- When you DO get in the paper, make sure to take advantage of this! One of the best ways to give your organization credibility is to put those articles on your website. When potential donors or volunteers visit your website to learn more about your nonprofit, they will locate this page and your credibility will soar.
- Lastly, we are about to enter the best time of year to get your stories in the news. From December 15 through January 1, nothing from the government is sent in. Schools are closed and government officials are out of the office, which means you have the perfect opportunity to get your stories publicized because reporters are desperately searching for stories. It’s a supply and demand market!
I hope this information was useful and beneficial! For more information about this conference, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more tips on how to get free publicity for your organization, check out the book, Free Publicity, by Jeff Crilley.