Q. How regularly do media need to be contacted to keep an environment issue alive?
There is a fine line for groups to walk when it comes to keeping the media updated on a long‐running issue that has been – and will continue to be – in the news.
Not contacting the media often enough can see your story fade from the headlines. But if you contact specific media outlets or journalists too often, you run the risk of being tagged a serial pest and being ignored by the very media you seek to carry your story.
One easy way to decrease the chances of being labelled a serial pest is to build solid relationships with the media outlets and journalists you deal with. This will allow you to bounce ideas off journalists, to call more informally and update them on the latest news about your issue, or to ask them if they are interested in a certain story or angle.
These relationships are especially important when working with the media on a long‐term or ongoing issue – if a journalist knows you, and is familiar with your story, they are more likely to give you more of their time and a friendlier ear.
It also means you can cut down on the amount of “backgrounding” you have to give journalists, allowing you to quickly “cut to the chase” when talking with them.
One key tip: Find out when the journalists in your contact list are “on deadline”. Avoid those times when you make contact and you’ll be less likely to be given short shrift.
Q. As small community not‐for‐profit organisation in what ways can I market the broad range of services we offer? How do I develop a marketing strategy?
A marketing strategy is not something that can be whipped up at the drop of a hat. Assembling a good, solid marketing plan can take hard work, analysis, preparation and knowledge of your current standing and resources.
The first thing you should look at is your group’s current situation: its current stakeholders and partners, its current standing and performance, and the current context or environment it operates in.
From there, a SWOT analysis will build on this information and further clarify the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats which face your organisation. All this information will help your group know the issues it needs to focus its plan around, and form strategies to let you do that – for example: “We want to sign up 50 new sponsors between now and the end of the year.”
Take particular notice of your SWOT analysis – using your strengths and opportunities to best achieve your marketing aims while avoiding or fixing your weaknesses and noting the threats your group might face.
Then, work through an action plan or list of things your group must do in order to achieve its stated objective. What must you do? Who will do it? When will it be done? How much will it cost? How will you know if you’ve achieved those aims?
Finally, examine your resources – your people power, your finances and technology – as well as those resources you might need, and draw up a budget for the marketing effort. Of course, once the plan is approved, it will only succeed if there is constant monitoring, appraisal and review. Keep track of the plan’s progress and, if necessary, modify it. Devote a generous amount of time to the plan’s development to ensure the process is thorough and to increase its chances of success.
The Marketing Guru is an initiative of the Marketing, Media and Post Centre, the online resource for community organisations provided by Our Community and Australia Post. You can send your marketing and media questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.