Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Getting the (Mainstream Niche and Ethnic) Media to Listen (Rochelle Lefkowitz and Kelly Chunn)

1. Who cares? (developing target audience)
2. Who does it impact?
2. How do you make it entertaining?
3. How do you sell this story to (an almost always male) editor?
4. What else is going on? E.g. right now can you integrate an economic spin into your story? Peg what you're trying to communicate to a main story (also called a sidebar: e.g. philanthropic organizations impacted by the Madoff Ponzi scheme)

Case Study - "Sisters Together: Move More, Eat Better"
Media relations is part of an integrated marketing campaign. (Now we're talking my language...) Rather than communicating a message to the media that you hope they will get it right, by using the net you can communicate your story directly to your target audience.

Issue was obesity and how it relates to African American community. Diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and cancer are potential negative health outcomes of obesity. One of the strategies was prevention and the pilot area was Roxbury / Dorchester, ages 18-35, low-moderate income women.

The campaign name came from focus groups. They basically gave us our tagline. Notice that there's no mention of obesity or negative consequences. By developing the strategy through focus groups, you meet people where they are rather than speaking from afar and judging them.

Marketing materials were developed with tagline and logo. Media campaign was developed around partnerships: partnered with WILD radio, spokeswoman was Olivia Fox, a radio personality with similar issues. Nutrition experts were featured on her radio show, along with cooking editor of Essence magazine, and did community-based events. Wellness Fair was sponsored in Roxbury. Boston Globe did a feature in their community beat section on Olivia Fox. Community cable show on cooking was also developed.

Because of the health disparities public policy issue, it helped us generate national coverage: Wall Street Journal, CNN did a story on Stop & Shop supermarket in minority community on healthy eating, community ethnic newspaper stories were written by us with pictures.

Community and ethnic media is often short-staffed. They're looking for people with writing skills and are looking for articles to fill their space. Build relationships with editors of those publications. This is an area of media relations - not a way to get paid for articles.


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