Monday, June 11, 2007

instead of a news release

If you're a communicator--particularly one who works within an organization--it may seem as if the only thing your clients request is a news release, regardless of intended audience, media interest, likelihood of coverage or content issues. In many cases, the "news release" is wanted to reach non-media audiences, like members, trustees or supporters who can be better reached in other ways. Clever communicators, of course, know they have many tools to use in making known programs, people and products. The next time your clients push for a news release, don't get caught without our list of useful alternatives, and a discussion about which one best fits the client's needs:
- a letter to the editor
- an op-ed article
- a phone call to the reporter most likely to cover the topic
- a blog post
- an email or letter to members or constituents
- a speech before the target audience
- an advertisement or public service announcement
- a quote or soundbite, offered in relation to breaking news
- a background briefing online, on the phone, or in person
- a list of useful expert sources on the topic
- a background interview
- a website notice or update
- a media advisory or photo opportunity notice
- a note to editors to clarify a point
- sending a technical article with a cover note
Many more alternatives exist -- feel free to post your ideas in the comments -- but these offer a good start, along with no action at all. Be sure you've discussed all the possibilities, and the wisdom of whether to act, before proliferating more news releases.

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