Monday, April 2, 2012

11 Tips for Association PR professionals AND CEOs

Before becoming an association professional, I worked as an Associated Press (AP) reporter and a college public relations director. It was great training for my career in association management!

One lesson I never forgot came as a result of my role as a sports information director for a Division III college in Michigan. One Friday afternoon, a sports reporter from the Detroit Free Press called and asked if I would be attending the football game at another Michigan school about two hours away. “Yes,” I said. “Would you call me with the results of the game,” he asked. “Well, I can, but the home team is responsible for calling in the scores and highlights,” I said. His response stunned me and offered a lifelong lesson for PR professionals. “I know,” he said, “but they never call if they lose.” No wonder our opponent didn’t get much positive coverage in the media!

Tip 1. Share the good and bad with the news media and you will build credibility that will help your association in the long-run.

Media relations (publicity)
One of my college PR director friend loved to say “Our job is to reflect in and project out.” He, obviously, felt public relations professionals should spend as much time listening as they do “promoting.”

When it comes to projecting out, your goal becomes m
aking some news.

Over the last couple of years, HARO 
(Help a Reporter Out) has become a new platform helping PR folks connect with news reporters. Are you following HARO’s three daily media requests? I have and as a result, have been quoted in media from USA Today to blogs.

Tip 2. From HARO.
“A PRWeb news release is easy to create and gets you a ton of attention on search engines. If you're not sure where to start, download their guide to DIY news release ideas. It shows you 14 ways to create a news story, including a survey, a promotion, a special offer or even a list of expert tips. Big publicity awaits - create a free account and download the guide!”

News release as content marketing strategy
In Chapter 7 of the New Rules of Marketing & PR, David Meerman Scott talks about the extended role for news (press) releases.

“Millions of people read press releases directly, unfiltered by the media. You need to be speaking directly to them. Today’s savvy PR professionals use news releases to reach buyers (members) directly. Your primary audience is no longer just a handful of journalists.”

Here are eight tips on how your association can use news releases:
Tip 3. Find good reasons to send news releases “all the time.”
Tip 4. Create news releases that appeal directly to your buyers (members/prospects).
Tip 5. Write releases filled with keyword-rich language of your buyers (members/prospects).
Tip 6. Include offers that “compel” consumers (members/prospects) to respond to your release in some way.
Tip 7. Place links in releases to deliver potential customers (members/prospects) to landing pages on your website.
Tip 8. Optimize news release delivery for searching and browsing.
Tip 9. Add social media tags for Technorati, DIGG and
Tip 10. Drive people to the sales (membership) process.

Bloggers: a new force in media
At a November meeting of the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance, I listened as a panel of six “mommy bloggers” shared their stories, background and readership. I was stunned at my ignorance of the consumer blogging community. And, I realized these bloggers have “replaced” the traditional food editors of U.S. newspapers and magazines.

What about your industry/profession? Have you discovered and cultivated the bloggers reaching your members and prospects?

A quick Google search will help you locate bloggers in your industry or profession:
For example, here are a couple of blogger lists I uncovered in 5 minutes:

Tip 11. Determine the top bloggers in your industry or profession and cultivate them as you would a reporter or broadcaster in traditional media. By the way, you can find multiple lists at Also, you may want to follow news about blogging at

If you are managing association PR or a CEO wondering about public relations for your association, here are some other links related to association public relations & communications:
Don’t Eat the Toner: 7 Tips for Association Communicators
In “Content Fried” World, Associations Content Curation Can Benefit Members
When does an Unanswered Lie become the Truth?
“Antennas Up!” Are you casting a wide net in your listening?
5 Association/Nonprofit PR Tips: Are you a Codfish or a Hen?
What’s Your Crisis Communications Plan

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