Friday, November 14, 2008

November 12th Program: Marketing Tips and Tools Wrap Up

Our final meeting for 2008 was an engaging program featuring the Baseball Hall of Fame's Director of Communications, Craig Muder. With a decade long career in the newspaper industry and now employed by a nonprofit organization he used to cover, Craig provided invaluable insight into the media world and how nonprofits can make sense of its sometimes frustrating systems. He imparted three main points.
  • First, relationship building is the key. He discussed how you need to make the media feel like they are a part of what you are building.
  • Second, the media is an imperfect system. You cannot expect your message to be delivered as is, so self-publishing should be a focus. By using your nonprofit's website, you can control and reinforce your message.
  • Lastly, nonprofits need to understand that the media is not plotting at their desks to screw up your message. They are trying to produce a product as quickly as possible in a highly competitive environment.

Craig also offered insight into the newspaper world. He outlined how much planning goes into assembling a newspaper, especially in terms of coverage. Like any organization, the media have limited time and resources. He suggested that nonprofits should notify the media about events and issues two weeks in advance and follow up with a reminder phone call.

The 15 participants who attended the meeting continued the discussion with a number of questions. One such question was asked about how nonprofits can build relationships with the media. Craig's advice was to be honest. He also suggested identifying people in the media who seem to be committed to their jobs. There is significant turnover in media, especially among reporters.

The program ended with a discussion about negative or unwanted press coverage and the challenges in dealing with it. Craig's advice was that you have to remember the idea a reporter is pursuing for a story usually is coming from the top. The best way to respond is to not be defensive and work to give the reporter your angle on the issue. Help the reporter do their job and influence them with your perspective. Usually, you will have some success in getting your point across.

Do you have your own tips for success with the media, especially in dealing with negativity? Feel free to share them here.

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