Upcoming Benchmark media relations training session

Are you nervous, scared or unprepared for media interviews?

Are you thrown off guard by either tough questions or hostile reporters?

Are you looking for more effective ways to get your organization’s message out?

Then make plans to attend our upcoming media relations training session on Nov. 7, 2017, at the Travelodge Hotel & Conference Centre Regina (4177 Albert Street S.). The session runs from 8:30 a.m. to Noon and costs $100 plus GST per person.

Participants will learn what the news media expects from you: how to develop a plan for when a reporter calls; how to face reporters with confidence and make the most of your media encounters; how to handle ambush interviews and take control of out-of-control interviews; how to develop key messages and deliver an effective quote; how to avoid common interview pitfalls; and how to dress for interviews and use body language and tone effectively.

If you’re interested in registering, please click on the PayPal button below. For more information, email info@benchmarkpr.ca.

Making a pitch perfect media list

When you’re looking to generate media coverage for your organization, there are two major steps involved.

The first involves planning your media event/campaign and carefully crafting the key message(s) you’re hoping to deliver. But the second, and often overlooked aspect, is informing the media of your event/campaign and getting them to dedicate resources toward covering it.

There’s a misconception among some organizations that if you host a media conference or have an important cause, the media will automatically show up. You need to learn how to effectively communicate with the media to ensure you get media coverage. And one of the best ways to do so is having a detailed media distribution list and understanding how to target selected audiences.

Step #1 – Create your media list: You’ll want to create a list of all the possible media contacts in the area that you are located in. The amount of contacts on your list will largely depend on the scope of your organization (whether your services affect people in one city or an entire province). For each media outlet you add to your list, be sure to include their name, a general email address (typically for the newsroom), a mailing address (if you plan on sending out more formal invitations), a key contact (usually an editor) and a website URL link to the contact/staff/masthead page (for updating staff contact info in the future – more on that later).

Step #2 – Organize your media list: Most media lists can get cluttered very quickly if they’re not organized. The fastest way to do so is by category: daily newspapers, community newspapers, TV stations, radio outlets, Indigenous media and magazines/specialty publications. Furthermore, you should organize your contacts in a program such as Microsoft Excel. Avoid creating contact lists through your email browser, because it is usually very time consuming to manage and difficult to navigate. Using Excel will also make it easier to update your contact list in the future

Step #3 – Consult your list before each mass distribution: Once you’ve created an extensive media list, it can be tempting to include all of these contacts on every media release distribution you make. This is a mistake. Say you have contacts from all over Saskatchewan but are hosting an event in Regina. It wouldn’t make sense to send the media release to contacts not in Regina or surrounding areas. Media outlets don’t like to be overwhelmed by unnecessary emails and may wish to unsubscribe. Along with the geographic area, strongly consider the subject. If you’re promoting a technology conference, for example, you can check through your list to see if any publications have beat writers focused on that area. By contacting them directly, there’s a chance they might then sell their editor on the story.

Step #4 – Strongly consider specialty publications: Mentioned earlier in this article, specially publications range from magazines to industry publications to community newsletters. These are valuable publications because their focus is much narrower than traditional media. They may have room to run larger stories on your subject. After you have sent out a media release, go through your list and highlight some of the specialty publications in your area that align with your topic. Personally follow through with them and see if they require help setting up interviews or need any more information.

Step #5 – Update, update, update: This can’t be stressed enough. Even the most well-put-together and organized media list will be ineffective if it isn’t updated. The great thing is, it’s normally not too difficult to know when it’s time to update. If you ever send out an email and receive an undeliverable reply: make a note of the address, see what organization it’s affiliated with and then visit their website to find the new contact information. It may turn out the publication has ceased to publish. By using a program like excel, you can easily add, erase and edit contact information.

If you feel overwhelmed at the idea of putting together and managing a media list, there are other options. Benchmark Public Relations publishes the Saskatchewan Media Directory and Manitoba Media Directory on an annual basis. These directories contain hundreds of provincial contacts, organized into categories. They are rigorously updated to ensure you have the newest contacts at your fingertips.

Beyond our media directories, Benchmark also maintains extensive media lists and offers media release distribution services. We specialize in sending out your media release to the right audience and targeting specialty publications. The end result is that you receive a large amount of media coverage.

Helping promote ATV safety

We’re proud to help organize the Saskatchewan All Terrain Vehicle Association’s (SATVA) safety campaign this summer.

SATVA has received funding from the Canadian Off-Highway Vehicle Distributors Council to reduce the number of injuries in Saskatchewan from ATVs by raising safety issues within the community’s target audiences. SATVA is asking ATVers to Ride Safe. Ride Smart and follow important safety practices like wearing a helmet and avoiding dangerous driving.

We created a poster that has been distributed to motor sports shops and provincial associations like the Saskatchewan Brain Injury Association.

To kick off ATV Safety Week, we helped SATVA put together a media event outside Regina. The media had the chance to try and ATV and learn more about operating the vehicle safely. There was some great press coverage generated:

CTV Regina: https://t.co/naA6J1SvKP

Regina Leader-Post: http://bit.ly/2rM3agh

Global Regina: http://bit.ly/2rLZQ4L

CBC Saskatchewan: http://bit.ly/2rtJ5uH

During ATV Safety Week, and throughout the summer, we will also be creating sponsored social media posts for SATVA and distributing themed safety articles for publication in Saskatchewan.

We’re happy to be working on a campaign that promotes ATV safety and will result in fewer accidents on the roadways.

Helping organize the World Partnership Walk was an eye-opening experience

By Pat Rediger

For the past number of months, together with my team at Benchmark Public Relations, I have had the great privilege of working with volunteers from Saskatchewan’s Muslim community to help organize the World Partnership Walk – Canada’s largest public movement to fight global poverty. This is an initiative of the Aga Khan Foundation that supports programs that help million of people in Africa and Asia.

There are many reasons why I was happy to play a role in this event. Probably the biggest reason is that it allowed me the opportunity to work with a community that was new to me. It’s no secret that our province’s demographics are changing. Just take your children or grandchildren to a playground in Harbour Landing where we hear dozens of different languages being spoken and children from numerous cultures and ethnicities are playing together.

I was happy to be involved with this project because I believe meeting new people and learning about other cultures is fun and personally fulfilling. But as an entrepreneur, I also know a business case can be made for increasing cultural understanding and broadening your circles of friends and acquaintances to include New Canadians. Over the years I’ve learned that the best way to grow a business is by working on personal relationships. Getting to know people. Face-to-face. One customer. One referral at a time.

We got great support from the Muslim community for this annual event. Our goal for the future is to create greater linkages with the broader community. Creating connections to communities that don’t know each other very well can be difficult. It requires time, a commitment to open communications and a willingness to step outside your comfort zone. If you want to meet people who care passionately about creating a better world for our future generations, consider getting involved in this great event next year, as a sponsor or walk participant.

People in Saskatchewan have helped raise more than $70,000 already for the World Partnership Walk. If you would like to make a donation you can do so until the end of June at worldpartnershipwalk.com. If you’d like to talk to me about getting involved as a sponsor and marketing your products and services to this growing community through this event, contact me at prediger@benchmarkpr.ca