Media Promotion Tips

International Credit Union Day® (ICU Day) offers an excellent opportunity to promote your credit union or financial cooperative while telling members and potential members about the worldwide impact credit unions have on people's lives. Use the following ideas to promote the credit union difference and your institution in your local market.

PR Basics

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.

News Releases

Use the sample news release about ICU Day to build a story about your credit union or league. Strong local news angles will encourage the media to cover your event. Are you giving a presentation about credit unions? Educating school children about the importance of saving? Sponsoring a local charity? Tell that story and show how it is an important example of the credit union difference as applied to the local level.

Depending upon the nature of your ICU Day festivities, you may consider sending copies of event photos and information to your media contacts after the event. Be sure to completely identify the people in your photos by name, title and affiliation.

Radio Talk Shows

Talk radio and radio programming are popular in many communities. Approach the station producer about appearing as a guest on a talk show during International Credit Union Day. Use this opportunity to point out credit union principles and philosophy and how we make a difference in our members' lives. Calling in to talk radio programs can also be a good way to get your message heard.

Letters/Op-Eds to the Editor

Consider submitting a letter or opinion-editorial piece to your local newspaper editor that discusses the benefits of credit unions and the importance of the services they provide to the community. Ideally, this letter or opinion piece is sent in response to a newsworthy event in your community.

Outline the things that differentiate credit unions from other financial services:

  • Member-owned and not-for-profit
  • Commitment to service
  • Social responsibility
  • Role in providing education
  • Cooperative nature
  • Volunteer directors
  • Democratic, one member, one vote structure
  • Part of an international system serving 222 million people worldwide

Be concise and check your newspaper's policy on submissions: four paragraphs is a typical maximum length. Be sure to include your business contact information, daytime phone number and the title you hold at your credit union.