About the Author

Who is Robyn
Robyn Braley is committed to helping Rotarians grow their clubs to become better equipped to help people who need help. He has led two club teams that were awarded RI PR Awards and served as the District 5360 PR Chair. He has been a Rotarian since 1999.

Rotary Speaker
Robyn draws from his experience as a Rotarian and as a Communications Professional to share ways to more effectively tell the Rotary story to your community. He starts by asking the questions, "Is your club ready to grow, and why does it matter?" The ultimate focus is on attracting new members.

He is available to speak at District Conferences and Rotary leadership training institutes. Content also applies to other not-for-profit organizations.

Free Content for #Rotary and NFP Use
Please use any posts for Rotary District or club Newsletters. Include the profile at the bottom of each article, Robyn's headshot and a link to this blogsite. Let him know and he'll promote it to his social media followers.

Contact him at robyn@unimarkcreative.com

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Why Media Kits Play a Key Role in Engaging Media. Tips

Media Kits help generate news
 Written by Robyn T. Braley

This post is part of a series about how to develop a media program for service clubs and other not-for-profit organizations. The series answers the question, “How can we generate media stories about our cause?”

Why a Media Kit
Why do you need a media kit? To answer this question, let me ask another. “How do you tell the story of Rotary on single page?” The short answer is, you can’t.

The story is complex and has many layers. If you try to tell it in a single multipage document crammed with information, readers will become frustrated and confused. In the end, few will read any of it.

A media kit separates key information into digestible chunks that can be scanned in a few seconds. When developing content about a cause, always keep in mind 3 questions;
·         Why is this story important?
·         What difference will this action make?
·         What difference will it make if we don’t take action?

Focused Media Release

The key document is a news release. As I shared in my last post, a release must be focused on one central idea. In developing it, you must ensure that the main thing remains the main thing.

A release starts with a single paragraph that answers the lead questions of who, what, where, when and why. Each supporting paragraph must be brief, relevant and included only if it strengthens the main story idea. The most effective news releases are 1 to 1 ½ pages in length.

Media Kit Purpose

Simply put, the role of a media kit is to back up or break out your release. The purpose is to; 
·         To provide backgrounder information
·         To provide easy-to-understand relevant facts or data that is persuasive.
·         To provide links to resource sites like www.rotary.org for still photos, video “B” roll, etc.
Online format
Media Kit Formats
There are 3 media kit formats with no single one topping the others. As a media professional, I often develop all three if the story has national or international interest. I’ll tell you why in a future post.  

Ø  Hard Copy – documents are placed in a 2 pocket presentation folder
Ø  Email – documents are linked together into a single PDF that can be attached to an introductory email
Ø  Online Newsroom – PDFs of individual documents are uploaded to a dedicated page within your clubs website.

The Murky Underside

There is another, subtler reason for developing a media kit. Professional reporters will verify any information provided. 

However, they are incredibly overloaded. If they can do a 15 second scan of a media kit filled with relevant information, they will get a sense of how “easy” it would be to develop your story.

We are in the midst of a communication revolution due to the convergence of traditional and social media. This has resulted in reduced staff and resources.

If you present yourself as a credible source they can trust, the media will often take the path of least resistance when considering your story. Relevant information presented in a professional way will give your story greater appeal. It will stand out from the hundreds of story ideas they are bombarded with every day.

Providing more content may increase the length of your newspaper or blog story radio feature. I've had it happen. Sometimes it will even result in more than one story.

Teaching the Teachable

Media strategies will vary depending on whether your community is 1,000, 10,000, 100,000 or 1,000,000.

In a small town, there may be a single media like a weekly newspaper. The publisher (owner) may even belong to your club. In that scenario, pitching a story may happen informally through a conversation during networking time before a meeting.

Even there, the publisher/editor may not be the one writing the story. It may be assigned to an associate or intern. Background information will stimulate greater interest and help the writer learn about Rotary and your cause.

In larger centres, a producer or editor will pass the media kit to a reporter. For talk radio or community events programs, the content will make it easy for the host to prep.

Even seasoned journalists may know little about Rotary. If 10 stories have been done about your club during the past year by a single media outlet, there may have been 10 different reporters who were assigned to each one. 

Normal staff turnover may also be an issue. Providing quick answers to key questions eliminates barriers to doing the story.

Click for Rotary International News Room

Elevator Pitch

Where do you start building your kit? Having a short, concise Elevator Speach will provide a launching pad to further conversation. A sort blurb about your club will save time and can be repurposed for a number of other documents.

Profile Sheet Format

A profile sheet is designed to – get this – profile different topics. It is sometimes called a one sheet or a data, fact or sales sheet. 

Profile Sheet
Each sheet must have consistent formatting for easy identification should it be separated from the kit. Each should have your club or the Rotary International logo on the top left hand side to provide instant credibility and recognition.

Centre the title of each profile sheet in the masthead or align it on the right hand side. Use an easy to read font like ariel and a large point size.

Include basic contact information like an email address or phone number in the footer of every sheet for the reasons given above. Never place media in a position of having to search for your contact info. That simple detail can be a deal breaker if they are working against a tight deadline.

Individual Topics

Start each topic sheet with one of two short paragraphs. Where possible, use point form to expand on introductory information. If more than one list is included, mix up the use of bullet points, arrows, numbers and symbols to make each set stand out.  

Do not, under any circumstance, yield to the temptation of including separate topics on a single sheet even if there is room. Each sheet must focus the readers’ attention on a single idea. Leaving white space is always a good idea.

Suggested Profile Titles

The extent you go in develping your kit will depend on how big the story potential is and how big your media market is. You may only need 2-3 documents in addition to your news release.
  • Cover letter - Introduces or reminds your contact who you are, what your organization is, highlights key action items, outlines interview availabilities, etc.
  • News Release
  • Story/Project Backgrounder
  • Collaborative partner quick scan
  • Data/Fact sheet
  • Resource sheet with key contact information
  • Club Profile
    • Elevator speech at the top
    • Where you meet
    • How many members
    • Projects you have supported, even if not well known.
    • Quick scan of past, present and current up projects
  • Head shot and bio if promoting a speaker
  • Profile of Rotary International.

Robyn Braley is a marketing specialist, keynote speaker and writer. He is also a Rotarian who is passionate about Building the Rotary Brand. He has led two teams that received the Rotary International PR Award. He has also served as the PR Chair for District 5360. Robyn has placed hundreds of traditional and new media stories about Rotary and other organizations. 

Contact Robyn

Email: robyn@robyntbraley.com   Connect on LinkedIn Follow on Twitter: @rtbraley_rotary 

Relevant Posts in this Series

How Do I Explain My Rotary Clubs' Brand?

Media is All About Stories and Rotary Has Them

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