Good press is vital to the mission of any CRA. Without positive media coverage, a CRA may find it difficult to gain the support it needs to complete redevelopment initiatives and projects. Having good media relations will help the public see the value in CRA activities. So, what can you do to maximize your CRA’s positive exposure?
If you want to spread the word about upcoming redevelopment projects, ribbon cuttings or other happenings, one of the best ways is to send press releases to local and national media sources, including business, financial and construction media, as well as digital media and bloggers. A press release is a concise document providing all of the necessary information about a story that the media can use to write articles or talk about during broadcasts. When writing a press release, try to keep it short and sweet. Combine the vital elements of your pitch into something that resembles a story a news outlet would want to tell. If you’re promoting an event, be sure to include the date, time, venue and what to expect at the event. If you are announcing a new redevelopment project, mention the address or location, explain what the area or building used to be and your CRA’s plans for the future. Always be sure to mention that you or another member of your CRA is available for comments or interviews; journalists love getting information directly from the source.
Build Positive Media Relationships
While it is important to gain media coverage, it is imperative to build relationships with media outlets and reporters. First, identify the media that most often reports on redevelopment projects or related issues. Most TV stations and newspapers assign specific reporters to a topic or feature. You will want to build a professional relationship with these reporters. Thereafter, you can easily contact them for stories or events and they will turn to you for information. Building relationships with a few key reporters will ensure positive media coverage and help diffuse any potential negative press.
Connect on Social Media
In order to ensure that your relationship with the press is as close as possible, you’ll want to follow all the news outlets in town on all social media platforms. If your CRA isn’t on social media yet, please refer to this blog post on how to get started. Once you follow them, be sure to support their activities with likes, shares, retweets, etc. This will increase your chances of them following you back. Then, when you post information about local redevelopment, there’s a good chance that they’ll share it with their followers or feature it on the news.
Hosting events and meetings is a great way to build a relationship between your CRA and the local press. Events let you meet face-to-face and give you a chance tell your story directly. When planning an event, send out a press release and invite journalists and TV anchors via email lists. If your event is planned well, you can expect members of the press to attend and get the scoop. Not sure how to plan? Read our CRA event planning guide.
For help developing a positive relationship with the local media or sending a press release, please contact Jessie Johnson, FRA’s account executive at RB Oppenheim Associates. RB Oppenheim Associates is an integrated marketing and communications firm located in Tallahassee, Florida. RB Oppenheim Associates can provide numerous services for your CRA such as advertising, social media management, web development and more. Public relations counseling and advice is included in your FRA Membership. You can also ask a question on MyFRA to get quick answers to specific problems from your peers.