Wheeling Walks Training Manual

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Chapter 4:
Working with the Media:
Essential Campaign Tools (continued)
Specific Media Ideas for the 8-Weed Media Blitz
National Attention
Nurturing Your Relationship with the Media

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Essential Campaign Tools (cont'd)

Negotiating a 2-for-1 ad buy

After establishing a rapport with your media contact, negotiate a 2 (or 3) for 1 ad buy. Ask the following question: When we buy an ad, will the outlet run a second (or third) ad, somewhat like a public service announcement, free?

The ad buyers are aware of the availability of free ads and free gross rating points. However, personally showing interest in the free ads may prove beneficial. For example, WHEELING WALKS received a free ad during the NBA playoffs. The TV station did not sell all their local ads and considered our cause and our business to be significant enough to be placed in the time slot. This ad, if purchased, would cost $2000 in our small market. This free ad reached one of our primary demographics - sedentary males. This is the reason why knowing your local media is so important.

Note: The free ad may not receive a prime time placement like the paid ad, but the goal is to get your radio, TV, and print ads heard and seen as often as possible.

Serving as a Campaign Spokesperson

Your campaign spokesperson can be a powerful advocate and garner campaign media coverage. WHEELING WALKS found that the ?local expert? campaign spokesperson or the ?guest? spokesperson approach works best. The local expert/guest is a person who has outstanding credentials and lives out of town. He/She visits the community for a day and is pre-scheduled (by you) to visit each media outlet, attend events, and sing the praises of both the campaign and walking. This approach has proved beneficial.

We had great success using: Mark Fenton, the former editor of Walking Magazine; Dr. Adrian Bauman, an extraordinary public health resource with excellent media skills; Rob Sweetgall, President and CEO of Creative Walking.

Managing event coverage

Since your events are designed for the media, the coverage of campaign should evolve smoothly. Here are some tips on welcoming the media to your events.

  • Be sure that you are present when the media arrives and welcome them as a guest.

  • It is important to have a special press packages or a copy of the press release for each event available.

  • Before an interview, introduce the media person to the interviewee as a friend of the campaign.

  • Be sure the person(s) being interviewed shares the same regard for the people in the media as you do.

  • Thank the camera and sound crew. They are often overlooked.


Specific Media Ideas for the 8-Weed Media Blitz

For Television

  • Ask a local weatherman to wear sneakers and call attention to them when he does a newscast. The anchors can have some fun with this throughout the newscast.

  • Ask the weatherman to be a spokesperson during the campaign. He can give walking weather nightly for various areas. He might even have walkers call in to report walking conditions in different areas of the community. See if he will let you ?plant? the callers.

  • Arrange for the special event staff to shoot special segments that will run during the news. Shoot a series of walking segment with a celebrity or expert that can run each week at noon and 11:00 pm during the campaign.

  • The TV cameras love kids. Be sure to have some kids around at events.

  • Talk to the station about placement. Ask the reporter if your campaign information can lead the newscast. Ask the station to use campaign footage as a tease for the noon or 5:00 pm news. You may not get the placement you want, but once you have built a relationship, you are more likely to get the help you need. You may be amazed at the opportunities that arise. Capitalize on all of them.

For the Newspaper

  • Ask the newspaper to run a regular column in the Sunday paper about the campaign. The columns can be written in advance and submitted with photos for publication. (See Chapter 13 sampling of Dr. Bill Reger?s weekly articles.)

  • Talk to the newspaper about placement. Ask for front page. Ask for the front page above the fold. Ask for front page of the Region Section. You may not always receive the placement you request, but once you have built rapport, you are more likely to be given the help you need.

For the Radio

  • Arrange to be a regular guest on the local talk shows of various stations. Be willing and prepared to take callers. Always stay positive and on message.

  • Visit local DJ?s and ask them to participate, with their listeners, in walking challenges. If the station has a mascot, encourage a Walk with the Mascot and DJ Day. Encourage the DJ to talk, at least weekly, about his/her own walking woes and successes.

  • Hold a ?walk around town? with a live remote from a local radio station. Stop at the local walking venues and talk to some of the people. Plan ahead and be sure to have the enthusiastic walkers for the radio DJ?s to talk with.

Note: This may be used in conjunction with the Mayor or local Chamber of Commerce promoting a Walkable City. If done in conjunction with commerce and city development, the radio station and community may become more interested in walking.


National Attention

All of the hard work does pay off. The WHEELING WALKS Campaign gained national recognition when it was featured in the Thursday May 3, 2001 edition of the USA Today. (See end of Appendix 4-a).

Our campaign was recognized because of Mark Fenton, former Editor of Walking Magazine. Fenton acted as an advisor and resources person to our campaign. He recommended our campaign to USA Today reporter, Nanci Helliich. We were then able to convince her of the newsworthiness of our efforts.


Nurturing Your Relationship with the Media

It is important to keep in contact with the media throughout your campaign.

  • Write thank yous. The media is probably one of the least thanked entities in our communities. They are both surprised and pleased to know that someone appreciates the work they do and the professionalism and attention they bring to work every day. We actually had media outlets tell us it was not necessary to write, call, and email our thanks. Of course, we never stopped. (See sample Thank You in Appendix 4-e).

  • Visit the media outlets with personal thanks, balloons, and flowers.

Note: Be sure to budget for these special thank yous.

  • Periodically, lunches are important to brainstorm ideas, solicit support, and say thank you. Be appreciative, respectful and professional, as well as warm and personable. Be sure to ask the selling experts how they think you might best communicate the walking message. Many times the media have great ideas to help sell your message.

Note: Be sure to budget for these meeting costs.

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