7 Steps to Launching a Top Media Relations ProgramWritten by Andrew A. DeMuth
7 Steps to Launching a Top Media Relations Program Newspapers need to fill real estate in form of column inches, and you need media coverage. If handled correctly, "this could be beginning of a beautiful friendship." A top-notch media relations program is essential for every business and organization. Most, however, never even bother to try launching a successful medial relations program. You would not believe how often reporters find themselves at a loss for content. In fact, many newspaper and other media outlets sometimes have to sink to cold calling police departments looking for stories, and that is an absolute fact. Of course there are other times where they have more stories then they can handle, so timing will play a part as indicated later. Before delving into things, a quick word of caution. In this piece we are strictly addressing publicizing of positive accomplishments, achieving milestones and other such events designed to reflect well on your business or organization. Handling controversy is a completely different matter and really should be farmed out to experts. Let's begin.
Establish a Policy The first step is to create a well-constructed policy on media relations. The policy should dictate who may have contact with media, what information may be released, when permission should be sought from persons or entities mentioned in press release, and other such information. Many organizations only allow one specific person to issue press releases. This is counterproductive and, often, too much work for just one person. Your policy should allow several specific employees who are familiar with policy to issue press releases.
Use Right Vehicle Press Releases should generally be issued in writing. This is a good idea for several reasons. First, it protects issuing entity from any accusation of releasing inappropriate information. Second, if there are mistakes in printed story, again, organization is protected. Third, in written press release you will strive to credit all deserving persons and organizations. If an article comes out and a deserving employee or entity is upset for not being mentioned, he or she can be given a copy of press release showing that organization did recognize his or her efforts and did credit them. Also, issuing a written press release saves a lot of time. It can simply be dropped in a fax machine or email and sent to three or four local and regional media outlets instead of having to make same phone call three or four times. Finally, actual press release can posted in office to publicly recognize company and employees for their accomplishments.
Constructing a Good Press Release The easier you make things for reporter, more likely your story will be printed. Prepare press release as if you were writing story for local paper. Most of time they will change it, but, when in a rush, article that appears in paper may look very close to your press release. DO NOT WRITE IN ALL CAPITALS. Doing so is sacrilegious in journalism world, difficult to read, and, often, pushes reader away to something else. Use paragraphs, and separate them with spaces. The only thing more annoying then all capitals is an article that just runs on in one giant blurb of non-breaking words. Always supply contact information in piece for any follow-up questions. It is also important to include quotations. The quotes should be given by people involved in particular event as well as by organization heads describing their feelings about event and offering accolades. Quotes should also be given by persons or groups who, if applicable, benefited from event.
Five Things Smart Leaders Do to Lower the Barriers to ChangeWritten by Guy Harris
Smart leaders understand that they don’t “make” a change happen. They recognize that people in their organization do work, change behaviors, and, ultimately, make change happen. They understand that their role is to make change meaningful and easier to accept. Smart leaders facilitate change.
Let’s look at five things smart leaders do to lower barriers to change.
1. They sell more than they tell
Smart leaders are comfortable selling their ideas. They understand that “telling” someone what’s going to happen is very different from “selling” them on idea. I do not suggest that smart leaders use so called “high-pressure” sales tactics. By selling, I mean that they look for ways to get people emotionally committed to change.
They paint, and re-paint, vision for people. They focus on benefits, not costs. They understand that people need time to adjust, time to accept change. They work to inspire buy-in rather than compliance.
2. They help people tune-in to WII-FM
Sales and marketing professionals talk about radio station that most people tune-in to on a daily basis. They know about WII-FM (What’s in it for me?).
If it’s true about people in marketplace, then it’s true about people in workplace. Smart leaders know how to answer question on every employee’s mind: “What’s in it for me?”
Dr. Aubrey Daniels, noted behavioral analyst and author of Bringing Out Best in People, makes two great comments regarding change acceptance:
* “People don’t resist change, they resist being changed,” and * “People don’t resist change if change provides immediate positive consequences to them.”
Smart leaders know that people are generally more willing to do things that bring personal benefit than they are to do things that benefit organization. They take a pragmatic, not a cynical or negative, view of human nature. They see people for who they are and work to adjust their strategy to go with -- not against -- natural drives of people in their organization.
3. They work through “head grapes”
Every organization has a grapevine -- an unofficial communication channel that often moves faster than official ones. You might call people who other people listen to, and therefore influence grapevine, “head grapes.”