Using Free Publicity
Using Free Publicity to Grow Your Non-Profit
By Sam Santiago
Many clubs & non-profits struggle with the problem of how to get new members. I was able to help a non-profit club that had a need to raise membership by capitalizing on free publicity.
In this article, I will share three keys on how to gain not only new members, but also gain media/press coverage for your worth-while charitable causes, services, and events. This free publicity will lead to more community awareness of your organizationâ€™s activities and can lead to more donations, volunteers, and increased membership.
Key #1 â€?Media/Pressâ€™s Weaknesses
The press (i.e. newspapers and magazines) and media (i.e. TV and radio) are constantly getting requests for coverage. In order to improve your odds of coverage, there are two time periods to keep in mind: Hot Times and Cold Times.
The first period is known as Hot Times. This is when the press/media are covering a juicy story and will print or air anything even remotely associated with the topic. For example, during the Michael Jackson case, any lawyer could have called into a talk radio show and asked to give their two-cents on the trial. At the end of the commentary the attorney could have mentioned his/her name, firm, and phone number. The benefit was not only attracting new clients, but that he/she could then put on their marketing materials â€śAs featured on X showâ€?for added credibility.
An example of linking a product or service to a hot topic is the story of a restaurant in Texas. At the time, Bill â€śBig Tunaâ€?Parcells was announced to be the upcoming coach of the Dallas Cowboys. The creative restaurant changed the name of their entrĂ©e to â€śThe Big Tunaâ€? They sent out a few press releases, made a few phone calls, and got literally tens of thousands of dollars worth of free publicity.
Another example was when I noticed that a contestant on Donald Trumpâ€™s The Apprentice was fired for poor presentation skills. I then sent out a press release that read â€śDonâ€™t Get Fired for Poor Presentation Skills, Join Toastmastersâ€?
The second period is known as Cold Times. This time frame begins Thanksgiving and ends January 2nd. The reason why this period is called Cold Times is because the press/media lose approximately 25% of their resources since big business and the government goes on winter vacation. That means that they have more blank pages to fill between advertisements. Why not use your story to fill those pages?