Friday, October 30, 2009

Best practices in Media Relations: The Canadian Convenience Stores Association

In late September, Action Strategies was engaged by the Canadian Convenience Stores Association (CCSA) to assist them in a Quebec-wide awareness campaign to lower the taxes on legitimate cigarettes to combat the sale of contraband tobacco in the hands of youth. Concerned by studies that upwards of 30% of the tobacco in the hands of minors was originating from illegal sources, I undertook a campaign of identifying journalists in the Outaouais region who would be interested in covering the story.

To be most effective and ensure CCSA received the value they deserved, the following tactics were undertaken:

  1. Lists of very targeted journalists were developed: Good media relations requires good lists! Before sending out a press release, I make certain to qualify a list for the right contact information and to ensure the list or coming release is appropriately targeted to the identified journalist interest.

  2. A specialized email tracking system is used to distribute communiques: I believe in going one step further than simply sending out via email or fax a news release. Too often, it is far too easy for a communique to be lost in the morass of email/ mass communications an average media outlet receives in a day. To be most effective, Action Strategies uses our specialized distribution system. Once a communique is sent, I know exactly which journalists have received and opened my message. When I conduct my follow up calls, I know as well which links they have clicked upon and as a result, I can gage their interest.

  3. Follow up, Follow Up, and more Follow up! Journalists are a busy bunch. Merely leaving a message or relying on an email message is no guarantee the media has received your invite. It is certainly not enough for me to ally the concerns of my clients that the media will take interest. In as much as it is possible, I endeavor to connect personally with each and every contact on my list conveying the importance of the story or the "pitch" as we say. In delivering this pitch, I use the principles I addressed in a blog posting from one year ago: "Pitching by Phone"

Undertaking these tactics for the CCSA, Action Strategies successfully organized a press conference and radio interviews that secured interviews on:

  • Le Droit

  • TAG Radio FM

  • Revue de Gatineau

  • TVA (television)

  • We can do the same for your organization as well! Contact us now for a quote on our media relations services to non-profits and associations.
    Mark Buzan is Principal and Chief Magnifier in Action Strategies, a full service Strategic Communications, Public Relations and Public Affairs Consultancy for non-profits and associations. Make sure to contact him for advice on reaching audiences you may or may not have yet considered in your marketing communications and PR campaigns. Drop him a line if you are looking for help in developing a public relations campaign. You can view his website at www.actionstrategies.ca.

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