[ Home | Regional Leadership Conference Index Page ]
Full Circle Associates: http://www.fullcirc.com

Community Marketing Kit

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.

How to Use This Kit


Marketing Possibilities Checklist

Creating a Joint Communications Effort

Generic Fact Sheet Format

Local Community Papers and News Releases

Success Stories, Letters to the Editor & Op-Ed Suggestions

Creating and Using Poster Templates

Community Calendar Listing Template

News release Template

Project Logo - Logo Slick

Story Ideas WorkSheet

Radio public service announcements

Tips for radio public service announcements

Tips for Interacting With the Media

Tips for Managing Interviews and Media Calls

Crisis Communications

Quote Clearance Form

How to Use This Kit

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:

  • Identify and describe your target audience(s): where do they get their information, who do they trust, what are their needs?

  • Assess to understand the competing messages fighting for your target audience's attention? What environmental (i.e. political, economic, etc.) issues impacting your messages?

  • Identify your individual and collective marketing resources: build on each group's strength.

  • Assess what you are already doing to market your program and messages. Use the "Marketing Possibilities Checklist" and check off any items that you are already using to market your program. Write down any additional things you do at the end of the list. Then evaluate the remaining items and see if they would be worth your time and effort.
You can also use the Communications Audit tool found on the Full Circle Website at http://www.fullcirc.com/rlc/commaudit.htm .

Marketing Possibilities Checklist

Choose the tools that work best for you.

  • Post flyers on applicable community bulletin boards (community centers, stores, churches, schools, social service and government agencies).

  • Mention and/or feature your issues in your regular site publications, newsletters and brochures. Use consistent language determined by work group.

  • Send "Letters to the Editor" to local community papers highlighting the issues and position your program as a community resource.

  • Place classified ads in local papers (sometimes they run public service ads for free).

  • Make sure you are listed in community service directories (Crisis Line, etc.)

  • Submit Community Calendar listings to radio, and TV stations, newspapers, newsletters, church bulletins –(sample copy is enclosed in kit).

  • Localize more general (national, state) materials with an insert about your program.

  • Distribute brochures at social service and government agencies, task force meetings, and community celebrations and as local events.

  • Host community events and use as an opportunity to share your message.

  • Ask community members who take your material to take extras to pass to their friends.

  • Host or mobilize community volunteers to host an open house or community coffee on Your issues.

  • Participate in town meetings, talk show call-ins etc. when the topic is Medicare, health care for community members, insurance, etc.

  • Send a news release to your neighborhood or community newspapers announcing your educational efforts. Provide information in the announcement of where folks can get copies of your materials.

  • Solicit testimonials from current clients to share with potential clients, use in news releases and other marketing materials. (get signed release).Be sure to share these with the wider work group.

  • Keep strong relationships with key community referral sources (health care worker, community service center staff, retirement community staff, social workers, community volunteers and neighbors). Network regularly.

  • Get your message posted on Neighborhood Reader Boards. Messages should be short such as NAME OF GROUP offers free information on TITLE. Call ###-####

  • Other Ideas (share your ideas with other workgroup members)

Creating a Joint Communications Effort

  • Develop consensus on a shared vision that clearly articulates benefits to your target audience. The process of arriving at the vision can describe how the effort benefits each organization, but the vision is about the target audience/customer and why they will want/use/need/accept the information you offer them.

  • Agree on your target audience/customers. There may be more than one. Often there is the customer and gatekeepers/stakeholders who come in frequent contact with and influence your primary target audience.

  • Create a product that is better than any previous offering.

  • Ensure all members of the collaborative group can articulate the messages with passion and conviction. Everything starts at home.

  • Set a few measurable goals. Don't try and cover the world. Keep it simple.

  • Explore the possibility that the biggest barriers to success are often internal issues, generated by fear (of change, failure, success!), competition or a lack of vision. The "Pogo" Philosophy.

Generic Fact Sheet Format

One line tag or mission statement…


    Tell briefly about the issue or program, its origins and general goals.

    Target Population

    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.

    Contact Information

    State how people can contact you for more information. Describe any specific offerings, if applicable.

Local Community Papers and News Releases

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.

Success Stories, Letters to the Editor & Op-Ed Suggestions

Success Stories

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.

    • Making Sense Out of Changes in Your issues
    • What Choice and Your issues Really Mean for Community Consumers
    • Brainstorm other ideas as appropriate.

Letters to the Editor

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.

Creating and Using Poster Templates

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:

    • Program name
    • Program location
    • Contact phone number
    • Special program features, if appropriate

Community Calendar Listing Template

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.

News release Template

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: sued@bestday.com YOUR EMAIL if YOU HAVE ONE


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.


Include one paragraph about your organization, mission and location. Add any relevant data if appropriate, such as leadership, etc.


Project Logo - Logo Slick

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.

Story Ideas WorkSheet

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.

    Date: ___________________________________________________________

    Your Name: _____________________________________________________

    Phone: _________________________________________________________

    Email: _________________________________________________________

    The Story

    (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.

Radio public service announcements

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.

Tips for radio public service announcements

    • Check with stations to see if there are other lengths of spots that would work well for them.
    • Always send a letter on your center's letterhead asking for the PSA to be run. Say why the service you provide is important to the community, and that you are a non-profit agency. Include background information for those stations who don't use prepared public service announcement copy and prefer to have their on-air personalities just talk about the topic.
    • Put a desired start and end date for the PSA. If it has no time limitations (i.e. is not for a time-delimited event) you can tag it "EVERGREEN" or "TFN" (till further notice.)
    • Be sure to allow plenty of lead-time in getting the material to the station. Plan to send your information a 3-4 weeks before you want the spot to start airing.
    • It is a good idea to follow up with a phone call, a fax, or an email to make sure that your material arrived.
    • It is best to time your copy with a stopwatch. Read it out loud to see how it sounds.
    • Write 12 seconds of copy for a 15 second spot and 27 seconds of copy for a: 30 second spot. This will allow for a variation in announcers' speech patterns and make sure that all your information gets read.


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.

Tips for Managing Interviews and Media Calls

    1. Know beforehand what you want to say in the interview. If you are called unexpectedly, it is ok to ask the reason for the call, and tell them you will call them back in a few minutes while you gather the needed information. Ask if they are under deadline and how soon they need your response.
    2. Distill your communication to 3 key points. If the interview is shorter than 30 minutes, make it 2 key points.
    3. Keep your language simple.
    4. Remove jargon. Don't use acronyms. Use short, decisive words.
    5. Use facts to back up your points.
    6. Have a handout with simple to read, up-to-date statistics, research, etc. Be sure to include source information if it is someone other than yourself.
    7. Tell the truth. If you don't know the answer, tell the reporter you will research and call them back. Then follow up!
    8. Speak in short sentences.
    9. Keep your comments positive.
    10. If you are asked a negative question, or things are posed in a negative way, don't repeat the negative.
    11. Never speculate, even when pressed.
    12. Don't wait for the right questions to be asked. (See #1 –you have points to make. Interject them.)
    13. If you are called unexpectedly on a health care related matter, get the back up research information you need or recruit an expert within your organization. Don't feel pressured to answer if you don't know.
    14. Always check your sources before giving them to the media. Keep your credibility intact.

Crisis Communications

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:

  1. Define your problem: look at the issue realistically, from as many different viewpoints as possible so you can take charge.
  2. Designate a spokesperson and ensure that person has all the information they need.
  3. Ensure you protect patient confidentiality at all times.
  4. Place issues in correct public perspective: don't over or underestimate your situation.
  5. Formulate a response: articulate it, practice it, and keep it up to date.
  6. Relay information on the situation to the CHPW Marketing Communications Manager ASAP!
  7. Never lie or mislead journalists: breaking news is no place to hide.
  8. Be accessible to the media at all times: know their deadlines and staff for 24-hour coverage with beepers, cell or home phone numbers.
  9. Treat the media as professionals: they are not the enemy.
  10. Don't play favorites with the press.
  11. Keep staff informed and define their roles. If they are not to speak to the media, make sure that is known.
  12. Control the flow and timing of information: don't let an event overwhelm you; use your strategic options.
  13. Remember, it's only temporary: if you remain calm and professional and you handle the situation with integrity, you can come out with a strong image and reputation.

Quote Clearance Form



Phone Number:

Agency/Organization Name:

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)


contact us

Full Circle Associates
4616 25th Avenue NE PMB 126PMB #126
Seattle, WA 98105-5021
(206) 517-4754

© 1999 - 2005 Full Circle Associates - content
© 1999 - 2005 WWCoCo New Media - design and graphics