Be Prepared When You Call
Most journalists or news directors will want to check on the coalition’s purpose, membership, funding and reliability. You should be prepared to answer questions completely on these topics when you contact the media.
After disseminating your press release and media/information kit, you will need to follow up with each journalist. During the follow-up call, be succinct and direct. Immediately state who you are, why you are calling and the reasons why the person should listen to you. If appropriate, you might suggest scheduling an informal meeting to introduce yourself and other local leaders who share the coalition’s goals. A face-to-face meeting can help build a solid working relationship, increase your chances of being called on as a frequent source of information about public transportation and may result in a favorable interview, story or editorial.
Since this may be your first contact with a journalist, use the telephone call or meeting to learn:
How To Make Contact
Good media relations involve choosing from a variety of methods. No one method is best; it depends upon the situation, the newsworthiness of your material and, most importantly, the preferences of the journalists with whom you’re working. These preferences will become apparent as you build working relationships with the media. Avoid the temptation to use all these channels at once; journalists do not want to be bombarded with multiple copies of information.
- News and broadcast deadlines
- Amount of lead time needed for stories to be researched, written and edited
- Advice on preferred formats when transmitting information
- Feedback on the newsworthiness of particular issues, proposed coalition activities and commentaries