Communications Panel Condensed Tips for Getting Media Attention for Your Branch – Fall Meeting

DO’S AND DON’TS OF PRESS RELEASES by Karla Atkinson, Brevard Branch

DO: Allow plenty of time for sending press releases
*10 days – 2 weeks before desired publication date
*2 weeks – 2 months for a feature story (follow up with phone call)

Have the basic information up front, preferably in the first few paragraphs
*Time
*Day
*Date
*Place of event
*Ticket information
*Deadline for registration

Always include contact name and number for more information or questions.
Keep background information on events or performers fairly short.
Double space or space + half information in the press release. (It makes it easier to read.)
Include photos, slides, or on disc.

DON’T: Use folksy language that addresses the reader directly.
Use flowery language to describe your event or performer.
Type a press release in all capital letters.
Send it to the wrong person (call the paper and ask for the name of the editor of the
section where your press release would likely be printed).
Use a fax machine – cover sheets from the contact person can easily become
separated from the actual release. If you must fax, include contact and phone
number on each page of the information.

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SIMPLE TIPS TO GET MEDIA COVERAGE by Connie Gamble Ochse, Jacksonville Regional Branch

1. Hold an event or activity that is out of the norm.

2. Take pictures at the event/activity.

3. Write a brief, attention-getting caption (one paragraph at most). Name the people in the picture in the order that they appear.

4. Get permission from the people in the photo to submit to the media.

5. Hand-deliver photo and caption with a big smile on your face to your media source. Introduce yourself: “I am Suzie Smith with the American Assn. of University Women. We just held a great (name event) and here’s a picture for your paper!”

6. OR E-mail your picture and caption to a specific person in a specific department at your chosen media source. You should know her/him.

7. Repeat above for every event. The more you submit (every month, for example) the greater your chances of success.

8. Put your meeting announcement in at least one area newspaper every month.

9. News releases have not worked for us, though we have submitted many over the years. With the above formula, we have been in our local paper every other month in 2007! We were also on our local TV channel.

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MEDIA CONTACT TIPS from Donna Seymour, St. Lawrence, NY, Branch

1. Check with each paper to find out who the go-to person is for the news department.

2. Find out what file formats are preferred for print documents and photos.

3. Understand the style of article your local paper uses. Write it that way.

4. Once the editor knows you can be trusted for accurate, readable information, your material will be picked up faster.

5. Photos: Crop all photos and write captions, clearly identifying who, what, when, where in the write-up.

6. Be sure the AAUW Branch name figures prominently early in the caption.

Donna also created a most informative Communications Teleseminar entitled “AAUW Communications: Raising Awareness” that can be found at www.aauw.org . Portions of that teleseminar appear in the Communications Handbook that was given to branch representatives at the Fall Meeting, Oct. 20, in High Point.

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If you follow the link from the September/October 2007 Mission in Action, you’ll find more tips from Donna and from other branches/states around the country at www.aauw.org