- Updated: 06 May 2015
2. Plan your news.
Before you spread the word about your Unit and its unique members, dedicated community partners, fun activities, and historic milestones, develop a media plan.
An effective media plan can help your Unit reach thousands of people, including new members, prospective sponsors, local and state officials, and potential partners. Using your plan, you can generate print, broadcast, and electronic coverage of your Unit or Region, and help cultivate relationships with local TV, radio, and print reporters—all leading to ongoing interest in the WBCCI.
Specify your goals. Are you hoping to raise awareness of your Unit, publicize an event, recruit new members, or educate the public about Wally Byam and the WBCCI? The answers will help you position your message and identify the media contacts to reach out to.
Determine your resources, and set realistic expectations. Make a list, including:
Budget—Are club dollars available for media efforts?
Team—Which members have the skills, time and willingness to contribute to the publicity project? Are there individuals within the WBCCI organization that can lend a hand?
Relationships—What media contacts do you already have?
Tools—What media materials do you have access to?
Partners—Which community organizations can provide assistance, resources, or spokespeople?
Establish your main messages. If you could write all the headlines, what would they be?
Create an outreach strategy. Keeping your specific events and messages in mind, identify:
- Who will be interested in your news
- Which media outlets reach those audiences
- How you will pitch and package your story as a newsworthy event
- How the culture and activities of your Unit relate to the communities you visit
- Key messages
- Written materials that promote your Unit and/or event
- Your plan for tracking and follow-up
Develop a timeline. Compare your annual rally and caravan calendar with your local and regional community calendars to select the events and activities that will provide the best media opportunities for your Unit throughout the year. Brainstorm with other members about ways to publicize your activities. Consider the following to determine newsworthy opportunities:
- Do certain activities traditionally attract more attention than others?
- What activities or events best showcase our Unit and WBCCI strengths and contributions to the community?
- What activities are members most excited about?
- Which activities involve collaboration with other organizations, businesses, or community members?
- Which events coincide with holidays like Veteran’s Day, Flag Day, or popular local observances?
Calendar the dates for sending a press release, media alert or verbal pitch to the newspaper, TV and radio stations in each community your Unit will visit. If the rally site is in a smaller community or suburb of a metro area, reach out to contacts in the nearby area as well.