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Community Marketing Kit
As a Consumer Service Organization (CSO), you are an important resource to your community. Your access to information and ability to make it available and understandable to your constituency is critical.
When you magnify your efforts through collaborative work and coalitions, you can gain heightened awareness with the media and your target audiences.
This kit was prepared for you to assist you in getting the word out about issues of interest and concern to your constituencies. Some CSO's have clear marketing programs and/or full programs and will not need many materials. Others will find part or all of the information helpful for letting the community know about their programs. You may even find some ideas for your overall program marketing.
This kit is set up so you can pick and choose which tools would work best for you. Some of the items may be more appropriate for your center than others. Feel free to pick and choose to best suit your needs.
A good way to start is to assess and evaluation the following elements:
Choose the tools that work best for you.
One line tag or mission statement…
Tell briefly about the issue or program, its origins and general goals.
Talk about whom is interested in these issues and why they are important
List Specific Information or Goals
Bullet points, clear, sharp language
Describe how your organization is influencing, helping, managing these issues or roles. Or more than one area, separate with specific sub headings.
State any research or data that supports your actions.
State how people can contact you for more information. Describe any specific offerings, if applicable.
Local community papers, community center newsletters, and church bulletins are one of the best places to let people know about the Your issues. By keeping a list of local media outlets and newsletters, you can easily let them know when you have new information or offerings by sending them a short, succinct news release. A news release template is enclosed in this kit.
The purpose of a news release is to connect with the media to help them help you -- by getting out your information.
What the media wants is … NEWS! That means the information you provide should be timely and correct. Announcing helpful educational material, new data or services in your program is information that the media would be interested in getting to their readers -- especially local newspapers.
News releases should be direct, simple and clear. They don't need fancy language or boastful claims. Releases should be double-spaced and no more than two pages. Shorter is often better!
For announcing new educational resources, you may want to send a news release accompanied by the Your Backgrounder, and a one page information sheet on your program, if available. Make sure every piece has a contact name and number on it, and send with a simple cover letter that asks them to please let their readers know about your offering.
One way to gain attention for your program is to appropriately share success stories. It is easy to forget in the day-to-day bustle that there are success stories happening all around us.
Sharing success stories with the media is only appropriate when the person profiled is 100% comfortable sharing their experiences. Once you offer a person's story to a media outlet, it is hard to maintain anonymity. Anonymous quotes, however, can sometimes be used. But it is important to remember that this is not for every person or family. Be clear that they give their permission.
Success stories can also be collected to use in your own marketing materials. A quote from a satisfied person in a brochure or a success story in a newsletter can be very powerful as it makes your news human -- warmer feeling and easier to understand.
Regardless of how you use your stories, have each person who provides you a story fill out a release form giving you permission to use their story -- even if you keep it anonymous. Give a copy of the signed and completed release for to the person and keep the original in your files.
Op-Eds are opinion pieces submitted to newspapers by members of the community. They are called "Op-Eds" because they are usually printed on the page opposite the editorial sections. They are usually longer than letters to the editors and may not always be used in smaller papers. Here are some ideas for Op-Eds.
Letters to editors are short (1-3 paragraphs) opinions sent by readers and printed by the paper. Sometimes we forget that they can be used for positive statements, as well as the usual complaints.
For most papers, it is important that the letters be relevant to something that has been in the newspaper, or a timely community event. For example, when the paper runs a story on a related issue (community members, managed care, services for low income community members, etc.) bring attention to how your program helps/supports/addresses the issue with a short letter.
If your project has one or two simple key messages, posters can be very effective. You can add a "call to action" if you have materials to disseminate, especially if they are easy to access via local or toll free phone calls.
A poster for a group of organizations should focus first on the message, second on the collaboration elements and third on the localized agency. If logos are to be used by one or all, leave plenty of space so the poster does not look cluttered.
There are two ways to use the poster template. You can hand write in local program information in the blank area designed into a template, or you can have the poster overprinted at a quick copy location. When you run short on templates, you could photocopy the entire piece for a black and white version.
Make sure you include the following information:
Newspaper, television and radio media outlets often have community calendars which are listing of upcoming time-limited (vs. ongoing) community events. You can notify the media outlets of your offerings.
Community calendar listings are usually short, including a one-sentence description of what is being offered, the time frame and a contact phone number. Here is a template for a listing, which you can customize and send to the media:
NAME OF AGENCY offering free, crystal clear information on SAY TOPIC. Call XXX-XXXX.
Calendar listings should be sent out one month in advance. Send them to the media outlet ATTENTION: Community Calendar.
Replace the items in bold for your news release.
Contact Name: CONTACT NAME
Contact Voice Number: 206 - 999 9999 YOUR NUMBER
Contact FAX: 206 - 999 8888 YOUR FAX
Contact Email: email@example.com YOUR EMAIL if YOU HAVE ONE
HEADLINE - WHAT IS THIS RELEASE ABOUT
Subhead -- short, catchy elaboration or time frame if applicable
(CITY, WA, DATE) The first paragraph of a news release should clearly, simply and cleanly state the WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE and WHY with minimal details. It should be written objectively and with minimum hucksterism.
The second paragraph should highlight the importance of the release topic with a quote or a short demonstration ("real life story") of how it benefits the media outlets readers or the community.
Following paragraphs can give more details. If the story has clear "chunks" of information, use simple sub heads to call attention to the information.
About NAME OF ORGANIZTION
Include one paragraph about your organization, mission and location. Add any relevant data if appropriate, such as leadership, etc.
If your project develops a shared logo, have it reproduced in various sizes on what is called a "slick" -- printed on coated paper for ease of layout and printing/photocopying. Or provide electronic logo art as appropriate.
Shared logos or artwork should be simple and not clash with individual organizational materials.
The best stories often lie hidden in the day-to-day operations of an organization or among those who have daily interaction with people who have stories to tell. Take a moment to jot down stories and ideas.
Your Name: _____________________________________________________
(What or who is it about? What did they accomplish? Who was helped? What changed as a result?)
Why is this story important?
(What kind of adjectives could be applied - better, greatest, biggest, strongest, longest, oldest, youngest, etc.)
Is it timely or timeless?
(When did it happen? Is it related to an issue or topic that's been in the news? Is it something that is always of interest?)
Who is the best contact in the organization to discuss this with (include contact information)?
Who is the best spokesperson for this issue (include contact information)?
Are families or children part of the story? If so, do you have a clearance or approval process to involve them in public relations activities?
Does the story have any good visuals? Places, people, pictures?
Return this lead sheet to your agency contact or communications lead.
Sample radio public service announcements (PSAs) have been provided -- all you have to do is fill in the appropriate local information. These focus primarily on current BHP open enrollment activities. You can change them for local issues as well. The format can be followed when writing additional copy for future announcements.
In ordinary chitchat, people simply respond to questions without necessarily trying to put forward an agenda. In a media interview you need to answer questions responsively while still getting your message across.
Many people in the news complain that journalists have wounded them. But the truth is most wounds are self-inflicted. With that in mind, here are 10 basic tips to better control how your media interviews go.
No amount of "spin" can turn bad news into good news, but a strong understanding of how to present information can help a spokesperson become more effective at managing encounters with the media. Here are some tips on "crisis" management:
Agency/Organization Contact Name:
Agency/Organization Contact Phone Number:
Brief overview of story:
I hereby give my permission to Agency/Organization to use my likeness and story to promote their Agency/Organization. (please note any limitations.)
(parents sign for children under the age of 18)