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There are dozens of special events or fundraisers in your community or region each week. You'd like to get the word out and would love a little publicity but how do you get it?

Competition is stiff. There are dozens of worthy causes vying for attention. To get a better shot at getting noticed, follow these steps:

1) Plan Your Event Weeks or Even Months Ahead of Time.

2) Target newspapers, radio or television stations that might be able to help.

3) Ask those media outlets if they offer free "community calendar" listings. Most do; TV stations might not mention it on their newscast, but they might put it on their website.

4) Type up and send out a "news release" announcing the event a couple of weeks ahead of time..keeping it to one page if possible. Make sure you give the exact date, time, place and a map and tell WHY it's important. Use statistics to prove your point if necessary and LOCALIZE it. Tell how it impacts your community and provide contact numbers for questions or additional information purposes. If the media person reading your release is interested, chances are they think someone in their audience will be too.

5)Follow up on your news release in the days leading up to the event with a phone call. Don't drop in unannounced..news professionals are busy people..but if you request a very brief appointment, they may be willing to spend time with you! Remember, though, the "community relations" department and the "news" department are two DIFFERENT parts of each media outlet. Send your release and make your calls to a person in each department. Again, provide a unique angle on the story and ask if it might be possible to promote it ahead of time with a brief mention. News outlets love feature stories that tug at the heart. If you have someone that fits that description involved in your event, offer to set up an interview with that person as a preview to the event!

6) Be persistent, but not pushy. News people hate being told what to think or what's important to their readers or audience. They'll make up their own minds. It's YOUR job to convince them in a polite fashion.

7) Offer interesting photo opportunities at your event. Newspapers and TV stations are built around images. Great pictures are of great value to them and your chances of getting coverage this year AND NEXT are enhanced!