October 31, 2014


When a press release isn’t the answer

Stacy Jones

Stacy Jones

Most nonprofits have only one weapon in their public-relations arsenal: the press release.

But sometimes the traditional release isn't always the answer and not always appropriate. There are better ways for the public to read your news.

Here are some occasions when choosing a different strategy could be more appropriate and lend you even greater coverage:

Announcing an event

Nonprofits often use a press release to announce an event such as a workshop, conference or fund raiser.

Even though you've taken the time to craft a release and send it to local media, rarely will you see these releases published. A listing on the community calendar would be more appropriate and keep your news listed until the event.

You can also utilize social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter to highlight the news of your event and motivate your network into action.

Great story

When you have a great story to tell, you may want to look beyond a press release.

Whether it's to highlight a successful community program or a longer feature story on an important donor, writing a release may give you some coverage, but there is a better way to highlight this news. 

This is the perfect opportunity to give the scoop to a local journalist to write a more in-depth story and publish your news. Not only do you begin to develop great media contacts, you end up with a great story about your organization.

Sometimes it's just not newsworthy

Some nonprofits assume they have to send a particular number of press releases each month or year in order to engage in strategic public relations. 

It's never a good strategy to send releases simply to fill a quota. Sending the media lots of non-newsworthy releases can cause journalists to stop reading your news altogether. So even when you have something truly newsworthy, you still end up with no news coverage. 

It's much better to wait until you have appropriate news and then decide if a release is really the way to go. 

There are many ways to have your news heard beyond the press release.

From utilizing social networking, community calendars listings and even pitching directly to journalists, picking the right strategy can provide better coverage and more public awareness.

Stacy Jones is a nonprofit marketing consultant based in Troy, N.Y., and a Shoestring Creative Group Network Affiliate. Stacy can be reached at affiliates@shoestringgroup.com or 1-888-835-6236.


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