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Engaging the Media

Turner Broadcasting’s Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications Misty Skedgell shares some tips on effective Public Relations for nonprofits.

Get to know reporters on your beat.

“Read through the paper—the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Atlanta Business Chronicle—to see who is writing stories regularly about nonprofits and about your specific issue. That way, when you make contact with these outlets, you know who to ask for and you’re not wasting anyone’s time.”

Ask for a meeting.

“A big part of engaging with the media is about relationships. It’s a good idea to get your executive director, maybe a board member or two, and maybe someone from your on-the-ground team to take an editorial meeting. It won’t necessarily result in a story right then, but it may result in a story later on. Because they’ve learned about you, you’ll be one of the first organizations that come to mind when they’re writing on your issue.”

Make your story stand out.

"If you can show how you changed lives... that creates not just an intellectual understanding, but an emotional connection."

“A traditional press release is helpful, but understand that news outlets get many, many press releases and emails every day. The more unique you can make your message, the better chance it has of breaking through. Focus on an individual, an event, or a short-term goal, and if you’re working with a specific time-frame in mind—say, for an upcoming event—be sure to give the media plenty of lead time.”

Personalize your mission.

“You can make up a laundry list of what you do, but if you can show how you changed lives, or where you impacted legislation, or where you were able to advocate for a specific group, that creates not just an intellectual understanding, but an emotional connection. Facts and figures are important, but what resonates more is if, in addition to that, they can see one person’s story.”

Misty Skedgell, Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications at Turner Broadcasting.

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