Nonprofit Press Release

What To Do When The News Media Doesn’t Open Your Event Press Release


Many nonprofit marketers spend a lot of time following best practices and the AP Style Guide to craft the perfect news release around their special events.

When you finish, you send the release to key staff for its final editing and approval.

You’ve spent months establishing good relationships with key media.

You’ve cited your sources and found relevant statistics.

You’ve found what you think is the perfect news angle.

It’s ready and so you send it to your media contacts with a personal note to each.

And nothing happens. Or worse, bad news happens somewhere nearby and your event is not even close to being news.

While this situation drives home the need to implement strategic list-building practices year-round to grow an ideal audience for your events, it also highlights how many give up too soon. This is the perfect time to boost your advertising spend and organic marketing efforts to grow the event registrations. And remember, the press release and the event aren’t yet dead.

Is post-event marketing a part of your marketing strategy?

Much effort goes into pre-event marketing for an event because we have revenue goals, seats to fill, and tables and sponsorships to sell. But the day after an event is still an opportunity to highlight newsworthy content that can attract the attention of the media.

Here are a few tactics to add to your marketing campaign for after the event.

Event Images

Picture of event donation

Take pictures of all event highlights. (Photo courtesy of Roseville Soroptimist members presenting donation of $12000 to Courage Worldwide)

When you book your event photographer, insist that at least 5 to 10 of the best images be emailed to you either that evening or first thing in the morning. If this isn’t possible, grab your smartphone, put it on HD, and take your own pictures (this is always a better option anyway). Take candid shots of guests, speakers, exhibits and award recipients. Take photos of the event highlights and the warm and fuzzy stuff like children dancing with their parents. Get their full names and occupations or community positions if they are well known in the community.

Event Video Interviews

Grab your board members and high profile guests, and ask them if you can conduct a short interview for media and social media. If possible, give them a heads up in an email a couple of days before the event. Ask them to share about the importance of the nonprofit or the event or whatever is being promoted. Use a video editing App or a program like Screencast-O-Matic to edit the videos and even add the names and captions.

Prepare an Event Summary

Write out the details and context of the visuals. Write in bulleted form and highlight high profile names and content. Include the event results, such as how much money was raised, how many attended, and what changes will occur because of the event. Include a quote from the nonprofit CEO and/or board chair. Include a call-to-action for your reading audience. What would you have wanted them to do if they had attended the event?

Get this information to your Media Contacts

The. Very. Next. Morning.

Write personalized emails to your media contacts for newspapers, blogs, and even magazines. Feature a must-read topic in the subject line, something like “Al Jones, Board Chair writes check doubling event’s fundraising.” [Images and Video Clip included]. Grab their attention. Here’s where you need to make it very, very easy. Attach the media and written summary but also paste it right into the email. The key is to not make your reporter work for the content. They don’t have time.

Even though magazines won’t likely publish the next day, you must get this information to the media the very next day. What happened last night is still news, what happened two or three days ago isn’t.

Many of us have learned media relations the hard way. If you have a tip you can share with your nonprofit peers, please write it in the comments below. If you also include the name of your nonprofit, we will share it on our social channels and give your nonprofit a shout out!

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