World Marriage Day
Very few people have the experience to jump right into the issues of publicity and have no comprehension about it's complexity, or concerns about their success. That is why we have compiled this section and the resource material herein. But, before we get into details, secrets, and resources, let's break the ice with the first and most important factor in dealing with this issue of publicity:
* Knowing about the topic. . .
* Feeling comfortable with it. . .
* Having strong feelings for or about it. . .
* Being passionate about it. . .
This is the secret!
Our desire for you to incorporate publicity into your programs does not mean we want all of you to schedule yourselves as guest speakers on your local television and radio station news and community service programs. So be assured and rest easy.
There are two types of publicity that we are interested in:
1. Promotional publicity
2. Coverage publicity
You want promotional publicity so that as many people as possible can partake in the events that you will be arranging. While for-profit advertising and promotional source and service are a dime a dozen, and could overwhelm your budget if not kept in check, there are many sources that are available for minimal, or no cost. These sources should be used whenever feasible so that you can save your budget for more important issues like: the quality of the programs, events, or activities planned. Some of the free promotional sources include:
1. Local TV station community service programs.
2. Local cable TV community bulletin boards.
3. Local radio station community service programs.
4. The church bulletin for each parish in your community.
5. Local newspapers typically have community events calendars.
6. Local PTA bulletins or newsletters, etc.
And, never discount the effectiveness of "word of mouth" promotions.
Event coverage is a necessity because we are called to give witness and to share God's love and plan with others. By arranging event coverage, we are sharing with others our convictions and values, and being witness to the benefits and joys that accompany good, healthy marriages. Television, the movie industry, the news media, and commercial industry usually portray individuality, freedom and promiscuity as being the only lifestyles to be self-fulfilling and enjoyable. How nice it is for others that share the same ideals and values as us to see that whole communities exist and are accessible for support.
Whenever you want somebody else's help or assistance it is important to make sure you never forget the first rule of engagement; always make it short, simple, and concise. Avoid obstacles by making it effortless to those who are willing to help you. To help you in this pursuit, we have included instructions on how to complete a professional appearing Sample Press Releases.
Print Media News/Press Releases
Don't wait for the press to come to you, you must go to them. If possible, find out specifically to whom you should be communicating at the publication. Make a personal contact and build a relationship. (Helps in the future, too.) Invite them to attend your event(s) and activities. Perhaps someone in your community has journalistic contacts and can introduce you. Here are some other important issues:
* Find out how far in advance they will need your news/press release. Some
publications have set time limits.
* Plan releases so publisher has information well in advance of the release date. See if the release can be made prior to and then again on the date(s) of the event(s).
* Respond immediately to request for follow up data and make sure all questions are answered thoroughly. Developing a good open relationship is to your advantage.
* Design release with different focal points for secular and religious press.
* See if event coverage is available.
Following the publication, follow up with a thank you note or personal phone call. The relationship you develop today may become of use again for you or your successors.
News/Press Release Format:
* Typewritten, double-spaced on 8½" x 11" paper, preferably
World Marriage Day news release letterhead. Reference and Support Material
* Leave wide margins and begin about a third of the way down to allow the editor room to make notes.
* At the top of the beginning page include the following information:
Full Name of the Organization
Address, City, State, and Zip
Contact Person and Phone number
"For Immediate Release"
* Use a headline to summarize the story typed in caps. Try to limit the information to one page. If you need more than one page, type "More" in the middle of the bottom of the first page and "Slug" at the top of the 2nd page with the first key word of the headline.
* Signal the end of the release with "30", or "# # # #"
* Do not start a new page mid-paragraph.
* Send only originals.
* Start with local angle or eye-catching sentence.
* Identify; "who", "what", "where", and "when" early in the release.
* Keep paragraphs to one, or two sentences. Spell names accurately and identify all names with a title, address, and phone number if possible (and prudent!). Stress WMD and sponsoring organization, Worldwide Marriage Encounter, Inc.
* Clearly explain what WMD is about. Be clear and credible.
* Include direct quotes by people involved in the event and identify sources(s).
* Arrange the body of the information to keep the most important information at the beginning and only expendable information towards the end in case the article has to be shortened by the media to "fit" into the available space.
* Send the release to a specific person, or deliver it in person.
* Make additional information about WMD, WWME and Family Life Office, etc., available for immediate delivery and access if requested. A delay in providing the information could lose you the support you requested.
* Make release look professional. Try to avoid heavy amounts of whiteout, misspellings, type-overs, etc.
Electronic Media News/Press Releases
While traditionally the electronic media of interest has consisted of radio stations and television station, two new forms, or mediums have arisen that should not be overlooked. Those two new mediums include the Internet and the cable television services.
Like the television and radio industries that are required to provide a certain amount of their broadcast time for community affairs, most commonly in the format of Public Service Announcements (PSA), the cable industry has been mandated to do the same. Many have established community bulletin boards where World Marriage Day events and activities can be advertised and promoted.
If we step back from the future, TV and radio are still two of your most available and productive mediums for event promotion and coverage. Both mediums are looking for something "positive" to cover. You should take advantage of the opportunities they offer. Here are some issues and tricks:
* Plan in advance. Give yourself time to develop contacts at each source.
* Ask for help in developing a public service announcement.
* Most stations have one or more people assigned to help fulfill the community's needs and help the station comply with federal and local mandates. Most stations are looking for announcements with "local flavor".
* Ask about community calendars.
* If you or somebody within your community has an interest, inquire about participating on an interview show as a guest. Write early because these programs are usually scheduled in advance. Provide as much positive background information as possible so that the host has time to develop a comprehensive and informative program on WMD & Worldwide Marriage Encounter.
* Check with your Diocese to see what type of electronic media opportunities might exist. Some Diocese operate radio stations, or have regularly scheduled TV programs that can promote WMD.
* Ask about event coverage because most television stations try to carry one or more positive new stories during each broadcast.
* You can submit your formal news / press release in the same format as you would have for the print media.
In some areas, the local Chamber of Commerce may assist you in obtaining a comprehensive list of area merchants who regularly let non-profit organizations advertise free of charge on their electronic and/or outdoor signs and billboards.
You may choose to place an advertisement in your local paper. Churches, commercial businesses, or couples within you community may be available to sponsor this advertisement. Our recommendation is that you always maximize the free press before resorting to paid advertising. Find somebody within your community who has extensive experience in advertising before investing money into promotional advertisements.
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