Getting advance media coverage of your fundraising event can work wonders for your bottom line. So, what should you emphasize in your press release that will increase your chances of getting media coverage for your fundraiser?
You should always emphasize the basic elements of news coverage, aka the 5 W’s. Television broadcasting legend Tom Zalaski explains just what media outlets look for in your press release in the article below.
Television, Radio and Newspaper Publicity Begins With 5 W’s
When trying to get publicity for your product, event, organization, business endeavor, fundraiser or whatever, the first contact you will have with the media will probably be through either an email or news release. My newsroom receives hundreds of such communications every week – some well-written, others poorly-written – but that’s for another article.
Regardless of the quality of each submission, each has one thing in common. Each is meant to convey information to the news media that will convince the news organization to give coverage to whatever you are promoting.
Too often in the writer’s zeal and haste to put out that perfect news release replete with facts, figures, background information, email addresses, websites and phone numbers, the basics are forgotten. What are the basics? The 5 W’s.
The 5 W’s are the first thing the newsroom assignment manager looks for when he reads it – Who, What, When, Where and Why. No matter how information-packed your document is, the 5 W’s are really all the newsroom needs to know in making the decision on whether or not to cover the event.
Yours might present the 5 W’s in bullet-point form or in a paragraph.
- Who is organizing a charity event?
- What are you doing to raise funds?
- When is your fundraising event?
- Where will your event be held?
- Why are you raising funds?
For instance, let’s say the local Harley Owners Group (HOG) motorcycle riders will hold a charity ride to benefit Muscular Dystrophy. The paragraph form simply has to state, ‘The Green Bay Harley Owners Group (HOG) will hold a charity ride to benefit Muscular Dystrophy, Saturday, June 4, 2011 at 9am starting at the Brown County Fairgrounds.’
There you have it – the 5 W’s all in one, simple, short sentence. Yet, you would be amazed at how many we receive that are missing one or more of the 5 W’s.
I have seen some that were missing the date of the event – really, the date! Others did not indicate a time. Some will list the Where for example as simply Sidekicks Bar, leaving the media to ask what city or town Sidekicks Bar is in.
I could not count the number of those I’ve seen where the day and date did not match. They state that an event would be held on Saturday, June 4 when, in fact, June 4 is on a Sunday.
With all due respect to the writer, we in the media know how this happens. Many organizations have annual events that fall on the same weekend each year. Sometimes, the writer looks at last year’s date and puts it on this year’s mailing.
No big deal, but it does force the media to try to contact you to find out if you meant Saturday or Sunday. Then there are those that don’t give a calendar date, only stating that the event will be ‘Tuesday.’
Here’s the problem with that one – what if I receive this communication on a Tuesday? Is the event happening today? Was it last Tuesday and we missed it? Or is it next Tuesday?
Publicity and coverage for your event or activity begins with the 5 W’s. The easier you make it for the media, the more likely it is the media will cover your event.
About The Author
Television news anchorman Tom Zalaski has spent nearly 35 years behind the anchor desk and in daily news meetings where the decisions are made as to what will and what will not make it onto that evening’s newscasts. Tom’s latest book, ‘How To Manipulate The Media For Fun And Profit’ is an inside look at how to deal with the media in times of crisis and how to get them to cover your positive news.
‘How To Manipulate the Media For Fun and Profit’ is available now at http://www.tomzalaski.com and on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
More Fundraising Publicity Tips
Fundraising Event Tips – Follow the standard who, what, when, where, why, and how press release format, but focus your summary paragraph on the most compelling storyline behind your event. That storyline might be the good work your charity does for a specific cause because human interest stories are always popular. Or, it might be the local celebrities that are attending or the live entertainment that is scheduled because those people are newsworthy in themselves.
Fundraising Publicity Tips – Publicity is what increases community awareness of your fundraising need and your planned fundraiser. This article provides ten publicity tips that will boost your fundraising results. The success of your fundraiser depends on how much publicity your group can attract. Community awareness of your fundraising need and your fundraising offering will always increase your results.
Getting Media Coverage – When non-profit organizations aren’t out changing the world, they’re appealing to supporters and the public for donations. Fundraising is a constant challenge for non-profit organizations and it’s not because people don’t want to give the money – it’s because people don’t always know that there’s a need. That changes by getting media coverage.
How To Get More Media Coverage – Be The Kicker! One of the easiest ways I know of to garner positive television news coverage is to ‘be the kicker’. Logically, your first question is, “What in the world is a kicker?” The kicker, in television news parlance, is that cute, funny, heartwarming, bizarre or otherwise unusual story that is delivered right at the end of almost every local newscast.