Wednesday, January 28, 2015

An Ode to Media Deadline Management: A How-To with Lynn Johnson!

Media planning is the art and science of ensuring that the adverts our clients want, appear in the right place at the right time to ensure they reach the best and widest audience. I love this definition. RIGHT TIME AT RIGHT PLACE. 

So, listen to this hypothetical scenario.  Boss comes in and says she has booked an internationally acclaimed Dance Choreographer to come in and do master classes with our dancers with disabilities and we’ll be doing a final performance open to the public.  Questions that should already be going through your head are:  When, Where, Who, What, Why (my last input is cost?).  At that point, you maybe have no answers except that he’s coming within the next two months.  SO:  Important piece of information here.  Know your media deadlines for your city, i.e. appropriate magazines, TV, Radio, PBS stations, local newspapers, and online calendars.  Media deadlines are timeframes set by each media organization as to when you must have your information to them to enable them to post to their readers and listeners.
Important Step:  You should already have a media list comprised of emails, websites, and phone numbers of who to contact to find out their media deadline schedule. 
Hard at work!

When I started out researching a media list of contacts for VSA Texas, I looked at the existing media list for Austin and then looked up all the publications, TV Stations, Radio Stations, on line Community Calendars. After, I expanded my research to include other cities where VSA Texas has events, workshops and classes.
Saying that this doesn’t take a little work is not exactly truthful.  You must be diligent in gleaning information from each of the media outlets you are interested in.  If you can't find deadlines for a certain organization online, call them! Mention you're a nonprofit and see how they can help you promote your event.
Next Step:  Make yourself a non-complicated spreadsheet (can be in Excel or if you're more comfortable, on paper with a ruler and pencil) with a timeline guide so you can plot out the deadlines for your Press Release, PSA and any other form of communication you want listed for your hypothetical choreographer.
To sum up:  A checklist
1.       Include contact information on every press release or PSA you send out. This means name of person, phone number and email. . Do not give multiple contacts as it only confuses people.

2.       Provide in the first paragraph  the details: who, what, when, where, why , and what the costs may be

3.       In your press release, write a personable paragraph or two about event- Don't be afraid to be creative! Be clear in what you want to say and engage your audience.

4.       Don’t forget your sponsors information (if you have a sponsor). That includes website, facebook information, etc.

5.       Always include the correct address of the event.-You’d be surprised how obvious details often get forgotten! The year is also especially important, especially for annual events.

6.       Proof read, proof read, proof read.

NOW- if you find you haven’t been supplied all of the above, or you are getting conflicting information, I remind everybody they have a specific timeframe! I usually stretch the truth about their deadline to give me some breathing room to meet the publications deadline.
It comes down to getting your information, making your deadline chart and keep reminding everyone who is planning the event how excited people will be when they learn of the great dance opportunity (or whatever your own event is!).  Think of it like your own “The Field of Dreams-” if you build it, they will come-but if they don’t know about it, they won’t. 
Thanks for your time today everyone! I hope my tips are helpful in your own planning, media-related or otherwise!

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