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Public Relations & the Media

Submitting Information to the Media4

Now that you have completed your press release or op-ed, the National Council of Nonprofit Associations suggests certain principles you must follow to ensure that your message is effectively communicated:

  • Know a reporter’s and newspaper’s deadlines for submitting final stories. Reporters prefer to receive early notice for a news event so that they can plan ahead.
  • When establishing contact with reporters, ask them how they and their newspaper prefer to receive information (fax, mail or e-mail).
  • If you use e-mail, make the message and the subject line very direct.
  • Never use attachments because they are likely to be deleted in case they have viruses.
  • If possible, address the reporter individually and do not misspell his or her name.
  • Give them accurate contact information and check e-mail and voice mail daily. You never want to miss an opportunity to have your story covered because the reporter had a wrong number or you failed to meet a deadline.
  • Check a newspaper’s Web site. Often a paper’s Web site allows you to post news tips.
  • Respond to a reporter’s inquiry quickly. Often the worst time to contact reporters is after 2 p.m., as the hours afterwards are spent polishing and editing their stories. This is not a time when they typically want new information.
  • (For op-eds only) Propose a meeting with the editorial board explaining why you want your piece published.
  • After meeting a deadline, check the status of the story.
  • Follow up the submission of your story with a telephone call to the reporter or editor to make sure it was properly submitted.
  • Update the reporter with any changes to the story.

There are several companies that will distribute press releases for you. They vary in cost and can easily be found online. Examples include:

  • Bacon’s, www.bacons.com
  • PR Web, www.prweb.com
  • www.press-release-writing.com
  • www.ereleases.com
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