Thursday, August 14, 2014

Timing Is Everything When It Comes to Association Public Relations

No matter how well you plan a major announcement for your association, news events can get in the way and keep you from getting the news coverage you desired!
Sometimes your best PR plans get displaced by major news events.

Back in graduate journalism school, we studied a Wilbur Shramm book titled One Day in the World’s Press: Fourteen Great Newspapers on a Day of Crisis, November 2, 1956. 

On November 2, 1956, troops and tanks from the USSR invaded Hungary and at nearly the same time planes from Britain and France bombed the Suez Canal.

The news media then and now have room for only one lead story. Only one front page headline. Only one story leading off the tv news reports. When we have many more news outlets today, media face the same issue:  only one story can lead the news stories.

The authors studied front pages of newspapers around the world in November 1956 to see which story was the “headline.” 
[Note in photo above, the paper's editors deemed the Suez Canal story more important than the Hungary invasion.]

I can think of similar situations since Shramm’s book:

  1. July 20, 1969. On this day Neil Armstrong & Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon and Senator Ted Kennedy drove off the Chappaquiddick bridge killing Mary Joe Kopechne.
  2. July 19, 2014. A missile from Russian separatists shoots down Malayasian Air 17 at about the same time as Israel launched a ground/air/sea attack on terrorists in Gaza.

If you have been watching the news over the last three weeks, you’ll note that the media is still juggling coverage of these two events as well as the immigration issues along the southern U.S. border.

So, what can you do if your association PR gets derailed by world news events.
  1. Hold your news conference ... and video tape it yourself so that you can email it to your members (and other target groups) as well as post it to your associations’s YouTube channel.
  2. Communicate your news via multiple outlets ... tweet the url link to the YouTube video; blog about the news; post links to the blog via Twitter, FaceBook, LinkedIn and other association social media outlets.
  3. Consider emailing your members directly.
  4. If your news involved a “call to action,” consider texting members who have signed up for your legislative alert texting system.
What else have your used when communicating major issues on behalf of your association? Please share in the comment box.

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