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"LEADER" Online: Vol. 6, No. 1

Promotion tips

Targeting Local Media for Publicity

by Diana King
Public Relations Manager, Active Parenting Publishers

It¹s not too early to begin promoting your upcoming class schedule! To reach a greater number of parents, community leaders and educators, be sure to include your local media.

1. Create a simple news release.
See the Promotion Guide included in your program kit for examples. (The online promotion guide for Families in Action can easily be adapted to suit your needs.) To increase credibility be sure to include your professional credentials and information about the sponsoring organization.

2. Research the names of newspaper reporters who cover parenting/lifestyle issues in your community.
Also call local radio and TV stations for the names of programs that include interview segments about community issues. Ask for the name of the person who books the guests or produces the segments—this is not the program host. The guest booking coordinator or producer is the key person to reach in this case.

Also find out who compiles the Calendar of Events listing for the newspaper/radio/cable TV. In most cases this will be different from the person who writes feature stories for the newspaper or books the guests for an interview program.

3. Address and mail the news release to the appropriate reporter, guest booking coordinator or producer.
Send a separate copy to the people who handle the Calendar of Events. Do not count on your release being shared by several people in the same media organization!!

4. Follow up with a phone call to the reporter, etc...about one week later.
Don¹t let too much time elapse or the release will surely be lost! Basically, you want to confirm that he/she received your news release. This is also your opportunity to explain why parenting education is important in your community and why it should be featured in the media.

Here's a brief script with talking points:
Often it is difficult to reach these busy people and you will need to leave a voice mail message. Write down the points you want to make so your conversation or message is complete.

"(Reporter's name), this is (identify yourself). Last week I sent you a
news release about the parenting education classes I will be teaching
at (name of school, church, community center, etc.) in September.
I wanted to follow up to see if you received the news release
and if you might be interested in featuring parenting education in an upcoming
story/TV/radio program. One of the issues we are all concerned about
today is violence in our community and schools. Parenting education
teaches Moms and Dads how to improve relationships in their home
and techniques for raising responsible children who do not resort to
violence to solve problems. Since many (name of newspaper/program)
readers/viewers/listeners are interested in parenting issues, do you
think you could feature parenting education in an upcoming
(article/program)? Again, my name is (repeat your name) and you can
reach me at (phone number)."

5. If a reporter/guest coordinator/producer is interested, they may also want to interview an official with the sponsoring organization (i.e. school principal) and parents who have taken the class.
Be prepared with the names of an official and 3-4 parents who would be comfortable talking about their experience (be sure to talk to the official and parents first!). Some parents may be willing to talk on a "name withheld" basis because of sensitive family issues; be sure to indicate this to the reporter.

6. The reporter/guest coordinator/producer may ask about sitting in on a class or sending a camera crew to tape the class.
This can result in great publicity for your program. However, be sure to clear this with the sponsoring organization and tell class participants ahead of time so that parents who do not want to be identified can sit out of range of the camera, etc.

7. List your classes on the Active Parenting website.
This service is free, and you do not have to have your class details finalized to be listed. Just go to the Parents page to see examples and post your own information.

Share your successful publicity with us so we can all learn from each other! Send newspaper stories, video segments, etc., that appear in your local media to our Marketing department, or post on our Facebook page.

Reprinted from Leader magazine.
Copyright 2001 by Active Parenting Publishers, Inc.