Cultivate relationships with the press and the public
Determine which media outlets are a good fit and work to build relationships with them. This process will take time and effort and may not yield immediate results, but the foundation of good public relations is the relationship you establish and maintain with reporters, editors and the public. ICU Day can be an excellent opportunity to establish connections with media contacts and your community. Potential options include:
- Local newspaper editors
Depending on the size of the publication, also send to finance, business and local section editors
- Radio editors, producers and hosts
- Television news editors, producers and hosts
- Prominent bloggers and social media networks
- Trade publication editors
Never send information to "Editor" and assume it will reach the right person
Call the media outlet to learn to whom it is best to send your story. These positions can turn over quickly, so keep your contact list current.
Contact the media outlet to learn how they prefer to receive information
Email, fax and regular mail are all options.
Consider a news release to be an initial point of news contact
Phone calls and emails are viable methods of follow-up contact, but never ask whether the news person has received your press release. Make sure all contacts you attempt provide value to the news outlet, even if you're only volunteering to serve as an "expert resource" for news topics that may cross into credit union territory. Most news people will come to appreciate your honesty and respect for their role and be more inclined to respond to your queries.
Don't bombard the media with information
Wait until you have something newsworthy to say, but actively look for opportunities to tell the credit union story. News outlets, first and foremost, are concerned with stories that have the greatest value to the majority of their readers. What is news for the credit union may not be news to the media, and reporters and editors have to be satisfied first before you can hope to use their outlet as an information conduit to the general public.