Creating a media strategy
This advice is reproduced with kind permission of Wordways Media Training.
It is not enough to have a general idea of where to use the media in your campaign – you need a plan to guide the steps you need to take if you’re going to make the most of media opportunities.
Your media strategy will provide you with a framework to help you plan what you want to do, when you’re going to do it and how you’re going to prepare.
The following questions will help you create your own media strategy.
The five 'Ws' and an 'H'
WHAT is your objective? Think about the core message(s) you want to get across and what you ultimately want to achieve. For example, do you want to get the public to take action? Do you want to put pressure on a politician? Do you want to launch a campaign or organisation? Do you just want to familiarise the general public with your organisation or campaign?
WHY now? Are you leading up to an action in response to an imminent vote in parliament? Are you ready to launch your organisation/campaign? Are you tying in with an event? Are you ready to present a petition to a politician?
WHO is your target audience? Who are you trying to reach out to? Is it a particular age-group? The general public? Residents in a particular location?
WHERE You have identified your audience, but do you know how to reach your target audience? Do your research do find out which media outlets you should be targeting to reach your audience. The front cover of the 'Bristol Evening Post' might seem like a coup – but it might not reach the audience you’re hoping to inform.
You might want to reach out across a variety of media, and you might target different media for different stories. These could be traditional newspapers, consumer magazines, specialist magazines, professional magazines, business-to-business magazines, newsletters, online publications and blogs, TV and radio, TV and radio online, social media.
HOW What actions do you need to take to get going? Think about what sort of press stories you want to run and list them. Identify your core messages for each press story or outline what date you will do this by. Make sure your website is up and running.
What else do you need to do before you write your press releases? Do you have a media list and is it up-to-date? Do you need to contact the local media to find out about their deadlines? Have you made contact with any particular journalists? Does your story fit their format? Are you ready for broadcast interviews if you get the opportunity? Who in your organisation will be the contact for journalists? Who will be a spokesperson?
WHEN do you want to release your press stories? Set a deadline to make sure your press release is written in time. It could be a good idea to put together a timeline for deadlines. When does preparation for your stories need to be completed? What information might you need to gather? Do you want to supply images? Video clips? Make sure you have it available in time.