Local PR is Effective PR Guidebook

Disturb the Peace...Get Some Attention

Giving the Media Something to Talk About

Over the course of the year you will be planning and executing activities or events that will be newsworthy and will offer an opportunity for media coverage. Keep in mind that people love to get free stuff when they go to an event, so you can use AARC products - check out our AARC store - as promotional giveaways.

Events and Other Activities

  1. Special events, especially Respiratory Care Week, Lung Health Day, World COPD Day, and Asthma Awareness Day
  2. Open House events at RC facilities
  3. Award presentations
  4. Free early screenings
  5. 10K runs, tennis, or golf tournaments and other sporting events
  6. Surveys, particularly local surveys or local information from a national survey
  7. Seminars
  8. Speaking engagements, lectures and briefings when one of the state society members has the opportunity to speak before a local or regional group on a RC topic
  9. PSAs
  10. City/State Proclamations
  11. Advocacy events, town hall meetings

Event Planning

You don't have an unlimited amount of time, so first look at piggy-backing an RC component onto an event someone else has already organized. A great example is adding an RC booth at a hospital health or job fair. Since they are probably already planning to promote the fair, you simply need to request that they include whatever you are going to do in the press release. When people come to the fair, you should have on-hand AARC materials and products that promote RC.

Another option is to approach the promotions or community relations directors at your local television and radio stations. You organize the event and they become the media sponsor for the event (translation: they get to put their banner(s) up at the event and have their logo in any ads you get produced) in exchange for promoting the event. With radio stations, that could get you on the air with their DJs, more radio spots than you would normally get and their physical presence at your event (a DJs personal appearance or their promotions crew hanging out in a van with their giveaway items). Whatever you want to get out of a partner, always negotiate all the details up-front and have the agreement in writing.

When planning a local event you should:

  1. Determine what you want to accomplish.
  2. Review the opportunities.
  3. Determine the news value.
  4. Determine costs, staffing/committee/volunteer workers, timing and location.
  5. Develop a detailed schedule and task list of responsibilities.
  6. Appoint someone to handle publicity.
  7. Prepare news release/media alert.
  8. Make follow-up calls to media.
  9. Provide the media not attending with any post-event information, photos.

Vent 5K Event

Blueprint for Successful COPD Early Detection Programs

Two-in-One: City/State Proclamations and PSAs

Proclamations and PSAs can be information-based, for example "Respiratory Care Day in honor of the city's new smog alert system," or a PSA encouraging people to find out more about COPD. The latter is RC publicity that stands alone while the former is an event that you could possibly get press coverage on. These two can also be used as publicity tools to promote an event, for example a "Respiratory Care Day" proclamation or PSAs in honor of a city-wide or state-wide early detection program event that you've helped organize.

Proclamation and Public Service Announcements (PSAs)

Putting Words to Paper: Press Releases, Media Alerts, Pitch Letters, and OpEds

Press releases give reporters everything they need to know to write a short news item. Media Alerts tell reporters about events and photo opportunities that are happening within the next 24 to 36 hours. A pitch letter introduces the press to a compelling person or fact and lets them know you are willing and able to help the press tell that story.

Op-Eds or bylined articles are the editorials or opinion articles you find in the main section of your local newspaper. When you have an opinion on something that affects respiratory care, you can send it to your paper's editorial board for consideration. If they believe your article is well thought-out, organized and your opinions are backed up by facts or logical conclusions, they may print it. Oftentimes, your paper will have guidelines for editorials, so check with them before you begin.

The AARC Web site has press releases and media alerts already written that you can customize with your local information and send out. When you use the releases, include the contact already listed and a local contact as well. E-mail your press release to the AARC contact, so that we will know what you've up to if and when the reporter calls the national office. There is also a generic media alert and pitch letter on the site that you can use as a starting point. General interest articles from the AARC Times can be reprinted and sent to local editors and reporters, but contact the AARC first.

Another option is to get your event partner to do the press release and you would simply give them the AARC message points (For example, letting the hospital PR person do the press release about a free early detection program that they're hosting that is organized by the local state society.) If none of these works for you and you want to start from scratch, keep these points in mind:

  1. Remember, you are selling your story to the media.
  2. You must grab their attention and make them believe that what you are doing is news, whether it is straight news or a unique event.
  3. Always give contact information, the Five Ws (who, what, when, where and why) and submit releases that are typed on letterhead.

AARC Press Releases
How to Write Your Own Press Release, Media Alert and Pitch Letter