Monday, July 9, 2012

Is Your Association Prepared for Your Etch-a-Sketch Moment?

A 5-step Association Newsjacking PR Strategy

During the Republican primary season, a Mitt Romney aide told CNN when fall comes, “everything changes. It's almost like an Etch A Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and we start all over again."

While the comment embarrassed Romney and his campaign, it created a wonderful opportunity for the Ohio Art Company ... IF ... they responded quickly.

What about your association or nonprofit organization?  A “major news event” in your profession or industry becomes your “Etch-a-Sketch” moment.
Today, thanks to folks such as David Meerman Scott, many organizations are focused on “Real Time PR.”  Scott says “social media are tools. Real-Time is a mindset.”

As an “old journalist/PR guy,” I’m biased about opportunities such as this. I love them!

RealTime PR is extremely important for associations operating in today’s 24/7 environment. Yet, many associations seem to be unaware of the opportunities or unable to work through their bureaucracy to jump on them in time.

Newsjacking and RealTime PR offers three benefits for associations and nonprofits:
  1. Build awareness of your association and its mission.
  2. Energize and Engage your members, donors and prospects.
  3. Positively advocate for your professor or industry.
A couple of “definitions:”
  • Newsjacking: “The process by which you inject your ideas or angles into breaking news, in real-time, in order to generate media coverage for yourself or your business.”
  • RealTime PR: “Real-time means news breaks over minutes, not days. It means ideas percolate, then suddenly and unpredictably go viral to a global audience. It’s when companies develop (or refine) products or services instantly, based on feedback from customers or events in the marketplace. And it’s when businesses see an opportunity and are the first to act on it.”
Questions for Associations & Nonprofits:
  1. Is your association internally focused or externally/consumer focused?
  2. If – like many associations -- you support your industry or profession, have you refined your approaches to fit the 24/7 news cycle?
  3. If – like many associations -- do you have a “thought leadership” goal for your organization? 
  4. Have you developed – with your Board and Senior Management, the decision processes designed for RealTime response?
  5. And, do you have a staff/leadership structure in place to monitor and respond?
4-Steps for Associations to Benefit from RealTime PR:
  1. Recognize the power of RealTime PR and develop a RealTime mindset.
  2. Use Advance Planning to get pre-approval (from your board and your senior management) for instant response with a minimum of “approval red tape.”
  3. Develop monitoring tools and staffing to constantly seek out newsjacking opportunities for your association and its profession/industry.
  4. When a story or issue pops, implement your RealTime response.

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