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

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Six Types of Media Exposure you Need to Know About

Story coverage takes thought and planning.

Media is inundated by requests from worthwhile not-for-profit organizations which all need - and deserve - publicity. 

Each one comes requesting news coverage, sponsorship, and "free" advertising.

But, successful media campaigns don't just happen. They are well planned and executed. Excellent Public Relations resources are downloadable from the Rotary International website. 

In this post, I provide further background to information published there. I have outlined 6 ways to receive media exposure
Media convergence' old and new!

Let Me Be Clear

But, first, a clarification. When I use the term “media,” I include both social and traditional. In the age of media convergence, one is totally integrated with the other.

How does it work? If radio, TV or newspapers run a story about your project or event, it is usually posted online. It is then promoted through the their social media channels.

Radio interviews are packaged as podcasts; TV clips are uploaded to Vimeo or YouTube. Many daily newspapers send a videographer to an event and then upload videos to their websites. With TV and newspaper, a quick field edit can have the story online before they get back to the office.

The entire content of each newspaper edition is usually posted on their website and available to readers long before the print version arrives on their doorstep. Most do online updates as soon as they are written.

Building Loyalty

Media audience loyalty is strengthened through online conversations. On every media website, you will find social media icons prompting readers, viewers or listeners to engage. 

You can also instantly send story links through your personal social networks. You can often make pro or con comments before the story goes to air or print using traditional channels.

In this post, I explain the 6 different way that media may profile your story. The goal is to create synergy and energy around your media event by placing it with 2, 3, 4, 5 or 100 different media!             

Media 101 – The Audience is the Thing

A successful campaign begins with an understanding of media needs. Hence, media 101.

Commercial radio, television, and newspapers are in the business of delivering an audience to advertisers. The operative word here is “business.” 

Audiences, or numbers of readers, are increased through providing timely news and information. The bigger the audience, the more they can charge for advertising. Simple business formula.

On the other hand, while public broadcasters in Canada (CBC), Great Britain (BBC), the USA (NPR) (PBS), Australia (ABC) and other countries are also interested in the size of their audience, they have an equal interest in story depth and background. Most are funded by government or a hybrid of public support and some form of advertising.

It’s all in About Story

Rotary, along with Kiwanis, Lions, Optimist and other service clubs have amazing stories about local and international projects. Each story tells about making some kind of difference in people’s lives and in the community.

However, the media receives literally hundreds and even thousands of “good news” stories every day. Understanding how to package your story and present it to the media will increase the possibility of coverage. Check these earlier posts.

Six Options

Depending on your market size, there are six distinct ways to generate profile. In larger markets, each area may be operated as a separate department.  With others, these functions may flow through one office.
  1. Editorial story coverage
  2. Station, newspaper or magazine sponsorship
  3. Community event announcements
  4. Paid Advertising
  5. Photography
  6. Media social channels

How Media Stories Work

People respond to news. When a story works - it really works! Media exposure provides credibility as people believe what they hear and read in the news. People actively seek news and are absorbed into it which increases retention levels.  

Through the years I have placed Rotary stories with all forms of media and in a variety of topical sections. For example, more than once we hired a professional photographer to take photos at fund raising galas for newspaper society pages. 

The professionally shot photos often meant 2 full pages were dedicated to our events. On one occasion, two competing publications featured an event on the same weekend. 

With several other stories, we hit a sweet spot and they were picked up nationally. Some went global.

Karl with Everest summiter Byron Smith

Rotary Everest Trek 2012

One of our Calgary West Rotary club members, Karl Herzog, led 38 Rotarians and friends to the base camp at Mt. Everest. Part of the project included raising funds for a school project for poverty-stricken Sherpa children.

"Media coverage played a key role in raising $145,000 for kids who needed it."

It began when we placed the story with The Calgary Herald. Two days later Karl received a call from his brother in Ottawa telling him he had seen his picture and story that morning in the Ottawa Citizen. After investigating, I discovered the story had developed “legs” and ran in newspapers across Canada.
Brent Barootes

One of Canada’s national newspapers, The Globe & Mail, also did a story. Another fellow Rotarian, sponsorship specialist Brent Barootes, was on business in Halifax, almost 5,000 km across the country.

The day the Globe story was published Brent was doing a make-up at a Halifax club. A Rotarian had read it that morning and members of his club found it quite intriguing that, live and in person, was a guy from the club profiled in the story.

A decision was made right then and there and Brent returned with a cheque from Halifax Rotarians for the Nepal project. 

A Great Photo

Annddd…. Karl is at it again. He has organized a new Rotary Everest Trek for 2017. The Calgary Herald, NEWSTALK 770 and Metro News covered one of the organizational meetings held in March 2016. 

2012 Rotary Everest Trekker Holly Milne-Ives

Note that accompanying the Metro story is a photo of 2012 Treker Holly Milne-Ives who pretends to touch the top of a Himalayan peak. The photo was supplied by Karl Herzog. A future blog post will discuss taking quality photos that tell stories for media and club use.  

If you are interested in funding or joining, contact me. I'll pass your info on to Karl.

News Coverage


In television, your story may be aired on evening or late night newscasts which have the biggest audiences. Many stations also have morning and noon news shows. On a good day, a story may cycle through all of those programs. 

TV Talk Shows are a great way to tell your story.

Although not as common as they once were, many TV stations also produce a community variety show which features a range of topics. As these shows are usually live or taped in their entirety, your story will often receive more time and not be subject to editing.


Most music or specialty program stations broadcast hourly news, although some have eliminated their news departments.

Talk radio and publically funded stations usually have hourly news programs with extended versions at 8:00 am, 12:00 pm, 6:00 pm and 10:00 or 11:00 pm. Many broadcast short reports every half hour and some every 15 minutes.

Talk, all-news and public radio are always looking for quality content for information programming outside of news editions. Often interviews are repackaged and rebroadcast the same day.

When I do radio interviews about various marketing topics, the clip is often run throughout the day and sometimes rotated through weekends.


Most community based stories are published in the local news or city section. With larger daily newspapers, there is often an editor of various sections like world news, environment, health, lifestyle, education, entertainment, business, sports and others.

"Never ignore the power of local or weekly newspapers. In some communities, they have a larger and more loyal readership than area dailies.


The trick with magazines is to realize that most have an editorial lead time of 1-3 months unless they are a weekly news feature. Magazines shy away from time sensitive stories and look for background, opinion or informational pieces.  

Media Sponsorship

Here is the thing! Media need to promote themselves to their audiences. What is one way of doing that? To be seen supporting worthwhile community events that their audience cares about.

Media sponsorships are a Win-Win relatinship

Why? The marketing philosophy is this;

"If people feel good about good things that happen in the community, they will feel good about the people who help make those good things possible." 

They may not like Opera, Country Music or Jazz, but generally think each music genre enriches the community. They don't have to like it to appreciate the value. If the see a newspaper, TV, radio or online banner add listing media as a sponsor along with various other companies, it gives them a "warm" feeling.

Give Them What They Want

The key to attracting sponsorship is to have an event that meets the media’s needs. Number one, it should attract a sizable and/or notable crowd.

The media part of a sponsorship relationship usually starts with ads on air and online. They may look or sound like a paid ad, but are slightly different. 

Sometimes the package will include a news story but not always. News coverage decisions are always made by the editorial side.

Provide Value

In return, media will ask for recognition on all posters, websites and at your event. Sometimes they will ask to park a community cruiser in front of the venue and have banners set up in the foyer or around your event.  

If your event is open to the public or even an exclusive audience, set aside a number of tickets for the media to give away as prizes. The additional mentions add to the exposure of your event.

Run sponsor acknowledgements in a powerpoint show. The more value you can give, the greater the possibility of future sponsorship.

If the event requires an M.C., ask if a personality would be available. That will make you look good by having a "star" on the premises. It makes the media look good by aligning itself with a worthwhile cause.

Community Announcements

One way to get the word out is through community events announcements. They usually give only the basic facts of who, what, where, when and why. 

They are usually 7 - 10 seconds long in broadcasting, or listed in a Coming Events section in newspapers. Announcements are usually listed on the media’s website as well.


I include Public Service Announcements (PSA) within this category. PSA’s are 30 second TV or Radio ads that run at no charge throughout programming wherever there is room.

As they only run when there are empty avails, PSA's are often useful only for long term image building. They are only available to not-for-profit organizations. 

What is an avail? The simple explanation is this. Radio and TV ads are scheduled in software managed clusters. 

If the station is not sold out, there are gaps in some clusters. That is where PSA’s are places.

Paid Advertising

There are no guarantees with news, sponsorships or community events announcements. Paid advertising may be the option if you have a tight time line and need to turn out a crowd.

Even here, there are options for a NFP. First, most media give a discount. Some will give one ad for every one you buy.

My club received a $2,500 marketing grant from a foundation. That was leveraged into $5,000 worth of radio ads with our NFP bonus. 

We wrote and produced this ad to promote our annual Calgary West Rotary Club Strawberry Shortcakes campaign. It sounds like. Click to listen


Remember the power of a photo? Sometimes the media are not interested in a major story. However, if there is the potential for an interesting photo, they may just send a photographer. In newspaper, the basics of your event will be included in the cutline below the photo.

TV may send a videographer to shoot footage around an event. On air, a news anchor or program host will read the first paragraph of your news release as the clip is shown. This serves as a reminder about why the lead paragraph of a news release must be well crafted.   

Past President Chris Davis does TV interview.

My club has supported Habitat for Humanity for many years. During one house build, we created major media coverage by three TV stations, several radio stations and two newspapers. 

One of the local newspapers is connected to the National Post, a national daily in Canada. The Post ran a color photo of our President, Chris Davis, pounding a nail into a wall frame while wearing a white hard hat displaying a Rotary logo. Since that time I always include photo editors in media distributions, whether for Rotary or my company's clients. 

Media Social Channels

As outlined above, media use their social media channels to promote stories. However, some offer community events announcement coverage even if the event isn’t given formal news coverage.

Viewers can read the story anywhere.

I’ll end with this story. I wrote an opinion piece about a political issue for our local newspaper. They published it online an hour after I submitted it.

Within minutes, I received an email from a former Rotarian that I hadn't seen for many years. He had read the article, but the newspaper had spelled my name wrong.

I contacted the paper which immediately corrected the mistake. Fixed!

Leading Questions

What have you done to attract media coverage for your service project or club? Was there anything unique that you did to make your event standout? Please comment and retweet.

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

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

Media is All About Stories and Rotary Has Them

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