The association’s relationship with the media should not be trusted by chance. Nor should we leave it to improvisation or goodwill. We must create a strategy that allows us to access them. The four basic steps to take to make it are those that we see below.
1.- Generation of Internal Resources
If the association assumes the media’s relationship as an essential task, it must be clear that things do not happen alone. You must allocate resources to this task, starting from creating a work area responsible for this work. The ideal is to have several people with exclusive dedication. Still, if the group’s size does not allow it, several of its members will take charge of external communication as a priority occupation. In addition to human resources, other necessary resources are a space where you can work and file the documentation, a telephone (preferably with fax), a computer with a printer and Internet connection and minimal knowledge of journalistic writing. Other valuable resources are, for example, the advice of communication professionals, experience in graphic design, photocopier,
2.- Study of Media and Environment
Before starting any strategy, it is necessary to know what we will act on, in this case, the environment and the media. First of all, we must see the society we are part of: its composition, how it manifests itself, what are its myths and demons, what is its structure, how are relationships established between individuals, groups and institutions, what are they? Its communication channels. Everything allows foreseeing how it can react to the messages launched by the association and establish the most appropriate way to get them through.
If the association directs its activity to specific social groups, it will have to produce its study, especially towards them. And if we are going to use the media as vehicles to get our messages across, it was evident that we must know with whom we are playing the rooms. Here are some of the most important aspects to study concerning the
It is the first thing: who are they, what type (newspapers, magazines, radios, televisions, what is their periodicity, where are they and how to get in contact with them. It does not hurt to know which are individual companies and which are part of a communication group. Sending information to a communication medium
Two are the most exciting aspects to know: the ideology of each medium and its information priorities, that is, the topics for which they have a preference.
Degree of Specialization
The universal information media are focused, and what are they specialized in (professional sectors, age groups, subject matter, etc.).
That is, their ability to influence their environment, to generate an opinion. The four variables that best guide to assess the social power of a medium are: a / the support (radio, press, television; b / the circulation (number of copies that go on sale) and the number of readers in the case of the media or the audience if it is radio or television (it is estimated that four people read each newspaper sold and that per each call to the radio there are 200 listeners); c / the territorial scope of dissemination; and d / implantation in specific social groups or decision centres.
Structure and Organization
These two aspects must be analyzed whether we refer to the medium as a company or as a communication vehicle. It is interesting to know your business objectives or your work organization, for example, to tell if economic benefit prevails over information quality. It is necessary to understand aspects such as the sections or the programming, the weight of the information on the opinion or the publicity, its design and its formats, or prepare the informative material.
It is essential to know the medium’s human team, both in the commercial and journalistic areas. It is not the same to deal with excellent and good journalists as with mediocre or sensational professionals.
3.- Strategy Planning
Before planning actions aimed at the media, we have to take into account a series of points.
Taking the initiative
The association cannot be waiting for the media to approach it. It is the association that must be present in the press proposing topics and sending information.
Establish personal relationships
It is convenient to have people of reference within the media, to know who is in charge of the issues that affect us and to establish some relationship with them. This second takes time and is usually the result of repeated contacts or complicities generated by mutual “favours”.
Appearing in the media is not easy, but you don’t have to throw in the towel. The association cannot fail to send the information it deems necessary and whenever it deems it appropriate. When you least expect it, you can find your space.
Responding to demands
If a media outlet seeks information, the association must provide it, and if it cannot, it must provide an explanation or alternative. And there are no excuses; If a media calls and does not find an answer, you can forgive it once, twice. But the third time will look for other topics or other sources that offer you more guarantees.
Homogeneity and continuity
The way of construction and presentation of the association’s messages must respond to a series of formal criteria that characterize it and create its style that facilitates its recognition. The use of letterhead with the association’s logo and data. Maintaining the same design in the presentation of press releases, spokespersons’ appointment. Or establishing more or less official information channels is not idle. It is not about creating waterproof information structures but about homogenizing the output of information to reach its destination with an identity mark that denotes seriousness. On the other hand, the relationship with the media must have continuity; it does not end when the association has introduced a note in a newspaper.
Dealing with the media must be correct, without pressure or threats that. With rare exceptions, the association is not in a position to do.
It is of little use to get angry because the information that the association has sent to the media has not come out; it is more beneficial to recognize the medium’s collaboration when it is possible to place.
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