Working with the Media

You can help your event reach thousands of people by working with media contacts in your area. To help, we've assembled a number of resources to help you successfully publicize your event.

10 Tips for Successful Media Coverage

You can help your event reach thousands of people by working with media contacts in your area. Here are ten simple steps to increase your chances of receiving coverage:

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  1. Gather Your Contacts: Make lists of local media (and in surrounding areas), including newspapers, magazines, television and radio. You can use the library for reference, your local yellow pages or an online directory. Make note of the name of the editor or station manager, so you can send materials directly to that individual’s attention. Or, identify a person who may have a special interest in agriculture, like the science or food editor. In addition, you might want to develop a list of local schools or universities and alert them as well.
     

  2. Build Relationships: When it comes to getting your story covered, there’s nothing more compelling than having professional relationships with media contacts. When you send your press release, take the extra time to find the direct fax number and individual to whom you are sending information. Or better yet, deliver it in person.
     

  3. Add Professional Capability to Your Committee: Working with the media can be a time consuming process. Many event organizers have found it helpful to recruit a public relations professional for their committee. They bring a wealth of knowledge and good relationships to put to work for you.
     

  4. Provide Relevant Materials: If you are targeting a publication, it’s appropriate to send a press release. If you are contacting a radio station or television station, you might also send a public service announcement to encourage coverage. Logos and ad slicks are available online, so you can distribute them to print publications.
     

  5. Be Detailed: When "crunch time" comes, media outlets will run information that is most complete (without having to contact you for additional details). To capitalize on this, be sure to include all the details needed to run the story (who, what, when, where, why and how). Also consider including a quote from the event organizer within the release.
     

  6. Time Your Distribution: When sending out information prior to your event, it’s important not to send it too early; it may be discarded or "filed." Similarly, it’s also critical not to send it too late; it might be "old news." Consider whether the publication is daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly. For daily papers, send information 4-5 days prior; weekly publications, 8-10 days in advance. Contact monthly or quarterly publications regarding their deadlines.
     

  7. Be Flexible: Media representatives work on tight timelines. If you receive a call back, it’s important to respond promptly to provide whatever additional information is needed so you can ensure your story is featured.
     

  8. Be Creative: A committee that holds a food-tasting event has had considerable success getting mentioned on radio talk shows. Their secret: freshly prepared samples delivered to on-air personalities a few days prior to the event.
     

  9. Follow Up: If you’ve sent your press release and haven’t heard back within a day or two, make a follow-up call. This can help set your information apart from the wealth of other "stories" received every day.
     

  10. Acknowledge Coverage: If you receive coverage, be sure to send a quick thank you note to the person running the story. This will begin building goodwill and encourage media coverage in the future.

ADVICE FROM THE FIELD

"Last year the Wisconsin Ag in the Classroom Program promoted Pop in to Read. We encourage our volunteers and teachers to read our current book of the year, Popcorn, to students in classrooms and libraries." Darlene Arneson, Wisconsin Ag in the Classroom

“USDA’s made-in-America research gives us new technology that creates business opportunities and private sector jobs in both agriculture and other sectors,” Perdue said. “Studies show that every dollar invested in agricultural research returns $20 to our economy. Just like the crops that come up out of our soil, these inventions and innovations were made in America.”  - U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, July 20, 2017

Tips for Event Photography

You may increase the likelihood of coverage if you have strong photos from your event. Usually, publications prefer black and white photos.

 

Here are some tips for taking good pictures.

  • Choose one photographer instead of having multiple people taking photographs. By assigning one individual, you avoid confusing and/or distracting the person(s) being photographed.

  • Move in close to capture the facial expression and emotion of participants most effectively.

  • Find out names of every individual who may appear in your photos and provide this information to publications when submitting your photos.

  • If you have "celebrity" guests who are well-recognized in the community, try to include them in photos with event organizers.

  • Make multiple prints, so you don’t have to worry about copies getting lost or misplaced.

National Ag Day is organized by the Agriculture Council of America (ACA). ACA is a nonprofit organization composed of leaders in the agricultural, food and fiber community, dedicating its efforts to increasing the public's awareness of agriculture's role in modern society.

 

Agriculture Council of America, 11020 King Street, Suite 205, Overland Park, KS 66210  |  Tel: (913) 491-1895, Fax: (913) 491-6502, email: info@agday.org

 

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