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3 Easy Tips for Getting Your Association Publicity - 7/30/2014 -


Friedman

3 Easy Tips for Getting Your Association Publicity

Your association can help a reporter or editor by providing quality content, and get your organizationís name in the news.

By Marsha Friedman

Last week, we received this email from a journalist:

"I have to tell you how grateful I am that you send these articles! I am down from a three-person office to just me!!! These articles help me keep the magazine looking good!"

We've been getting more and more notes like that in recent years as editorial staffs at print publications have undergone drastic cuts. It's a sad situation, one I'd rather not see, but it opens up new opportunities for any association or organization seeking publicity. If you can help a reporter or editor by providing quality content, whether it's making yourself or a colleague available as a source of information or actually writing articles, you'll find it easier today to get coverage than it was 10 years ago.

Consider: Newspapers alone have cut nearly 20,000 full-time editorial employees in recent years, according to a survey conducted by the American Society of News Editors. The true number is actually much higher because not all newspapers responded to the survey.

There are several ways you can contribute to news coverage and get valuable media exposure.Here are a few:

Sign up for alerts from Help a Reporter Out (HARO): HARO is a website that has been connecting journalists from all media with information sources since 2008.How it works: Journalists in need of someone to interview, whether it's a person who has a particular expertise or someone who has experienced a particular situation, post their requests on HARO. Three times a day, those queries are sent by email to the people who've signed up as potential sources. It's free for both parties.When you respond to a query, be sure you can provide the information the reporter is looking for. If you can't, don't try to pitch yourself on a different, even similar, topic because that can result in the reporter ignoring your future responses and can even get you kicked off the network. Keep your answers short, sweet, and to the point. Remember, this service has grown in popularity because the journalists who use it are pressed for time.

Offer to write free how-to articles for other publications that serve your industry. Trade publications often have even tighter budgets than general consumer-interest newspapers and magazines because they serve a niche audience. Some of them welcome helpful articles provided at no cost by industry insiders ó which could be your associationís own experts.To get started, do a Google search for "publications for restaurateurs" (or whatever industry you serve), or visit a website like Free Trade Magazines. Check out the online version of the magazine, if available, and see whether it includes articles written by non-staff members.What's the value to you of publishing for an audience through a competitorís magazine? Super credibility! If others in your industry are looking to you for information and enlightenment, you've got to be good. Share copies of your associationís published articles on your website and in your marketing materials.

Set up a Google Alert for breaking news relevant to your area of expertise. A great way to get coverage in traditional publications is by monitoring the news and quickly offering yourself up as a source of information when something happens that you can address.If your association services the construction industry, for instance, you might set up a Google Alert to be notified of news stories about construction industry accidents, shoddy construction, and storm damage. When news on those topics breaks, Google will send you an email with links to the coverage. Email the newspapers and radio and TV stations in that community immediately, and let them know you're available to comment.

It's a difficult time for all of the legacy media, but they're still generating the bulk of information consumed by the public. Think about how you can contribute to the news report ó and get some great exposure for your association and your in-house experts at the same time.

Marsha Friedman is the founder of pay-for-performance public relations firm EMS Incorporated.

 

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