There are a number of simple ways to raise the profile of your organisation and your activities during Inter Faith Week.
1. Build Relationships with Journalists and Editors
In many cases, the only time people deal with journalists is when they are trying to react to an event. It is far better to build long-term relationships with media staff as they are more likely to connect with people they know – get to know the journalists and reporters who are in your local area. Where feasible, invite news editors to events as guests as well as for reporting purposes.
2. Expertise at your doorstep – Take Advice
Ask around in your local community and you will be surprised how much expertise exists – people are willing to share their knowledge, especially if it is for a good cause. There are specialists from all types of media who are interested to work on voluntary projects.
3. Social Media
Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are extremely popular tools for getting your message across and can help a great deal in raising awareness of your event. It is essential to utilise these tools. They hardly cost anything and are increasingly popular. Inter Faith Week has a Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/IFWeek and its Twitter account is at www.twitter.com/IFWeek. If you are tweeting about Inter Faith Week, please use the hashtag #InterFaithWeek or send messages to us @IFWeek. The Week's Instagram account is at www.instagram.com/ifweek.
Electronic newsletters and flyers help you to get the message across with minimal costs and in less time compared to expensive direct mail campaigns. The information that is produced can further be archived in your website.
5. Getting the Message across
When writing press releases, or creating flyers and leaflets, it is important to follow some basic rules. These are:
- Write concisely and in a simple style. People are busy and do not have time to decipher information – your message needs to be understood in a matter of seconds.
- Where possible, use photographs or video links as readers tend to like visual material. However, do not send large photo files by email as they can be difficult to open. It is useful to inform the media if there is a photo opportunity or whether you can provide photos.
- Always give contact details and particularly website links in an easily accessible manner. You want people to remember your website link.
- If you are linking to an article with a very long web address, consider using a shortening service like http://bit.ly or www.tinyurl.com.
- Your material needs to be a good size and in a clear font so it is easily comprehensible. Do not cram in too much information – it is not good for the eyes and people will most likely not read it.
- Think of catchy lines that will help to get your message across.
- Journalists will want to know who they can interview and if there are any good photo opportunities and case studies. As time is of the essence, they will need the information very quickly if they contact you.
- You do not need to send your News Release at the time you are busiest with the event – you can send it earlier and embargo it so the media does not use it until the appropriate time. The news desk receive hundreds of press releases weekly, so it is essential that what you are offering is suitable and eye catching. Be creative!
- Use the same message and adapt it for different media platforms, for example, the local press will want a local angle of your story and the national press would like something that will appeal to people all across the country. In other words, you need to understand your market!
- Do not always try to aim to get your story in the national press – local coverage in a niche market can be just as effective and your chances of getting some coverage will be higher.
- Make sure your contact details are clearly visible, including a phone number. If the press decide to run your story, they may need to contact you quickly and at short notice.
- If you don’t get coverage, try the next time – do not give up! It is about building a relationship and understanding the processes.
Published 7 November 2016