Outreach Magazine Editors
Public relations is one of the most accessible and inexpensive promotional tools available to your church. Simply designate a volunteer or paid staff member with some decent writing and organizational skills as your media relations contact. Have him or her create an e-mail list of the religion, community and news editors of your local newspapers, shoppers, weeklies, radio and cable stations, and you’re ready to go.
Make initial contact with each media outlet to determine that you have the right contact information and to know how editors prefer to receive information.
Send brief press releases to the media regularly (weekly/monthly), letting them know about your upcoming activities and events. Here are some simple steps for writing an effective release.
* Newsworthy. Information that is important to your church may not be perceived as valuable to the community. Make sure you ask yourself, “Why should someone in the community care?” Then answer that question in your release.
* 5 W’s. The “lead,” or opening sentence of your release should include the 5 W’s: who, what, when, where and why. Keeping the facts up front will prevent pertinent details from being cut in editing.
* Pyramid Style. Write in the “inverted pyramid” style, starting with your most important information and ending with the least important.
* Keep it Brief. Your media release should be no more than two pages, be double-spaced and have identifying information on each page. If more information is required, the editor can contact you.
* Contact. Make sure your contact information, e-mail address and phone number are clearly stated at the top of the release.
* Follow-Up. While “pestering” calls are not appreciated, a follow-up e-mail to key media, or calling their attention to your release can generate more results than an e-mailed release alone. Build a relationship with your local media, and they will soon come to see you as a valuable source of news, quotes, story ideas and key information in your community.
The above article, “PR 101,” was retrieved from pg 8 of “Keep the Change, Outreach on a Shoestring,” which is featured in the Outreach magazine. The material was written by the Outreach magazine editors in 2006.
The material is most likely copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.
This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes, “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”