Promoting Cooperatives Through Your
There are a number of options for continual promotion of your cooporative.
Follow the News
If you see or hear coverage of related issues or stories, call the reporter who did the story and inform him or her about your cooperative. Suggest a follow-up story on your cooperative, community members who are involved, the collective power of cooperatives in the area, etc. Make sure to include a "local angle"—facts that make your co-op relevant to the readers in your area. It's vital to be aggressive: follow-up the same day.
Meet with reporters or columnists
Start building a working relationship with a financial beat reporter or a financial or community columnist. You don’t need an event. Invite the journalist to coffee or lunch. Inform him or her about your organization's future events as well as background history. View this as an opportunity to introduce your cooperative to the journalist. Consider this meeting a chance to exchange information and learn more about what type of stories the reporter/ his or her outlet is interested in covering. Important Note: Make sure to let the journalist pay for any meals. Reporters consider it a conflict of interest to accept gifts from sources.
Letters to the Editor
Submit a letter to the editor of your local paper on the benefits of co-ops to members and the importance of their services to the community. Use the message points in this packet to guide the content of the letter. Forward your letter two weeks before the ideal publication date. Be concise: the shorter the letter, the higher the likelihood of publication. Check your paper's Web Site for its submission policy, but letters should not exceed 350 words. Include your contact information, with daytime phone number and any title you hold with your co-op.
Radio talk shows
Talk radio is widely listened to in most communities. Approach the producer of your local radio talk show about appearing as a guest during Cooperative Month. Use the message points to highlight the important role co-ops play in the community. If you aren't successful in booking yourself as a guest, call-in during "open phones." And remember, don't be discouraged if callers disagree: people at home are shaking their heads YES.
Release a media alert
Media alerts are, in essence, "save the date" announcements for journalists. They tell reporters, editors and producers that an important event will take place in the near future. They give brief details about the event, with specific details about location, time and participants. There is a sample in your Co-op Month packet. They should arrive with the journalists about a week before the event, either by FAX, mail or E-mail. You should place a follow-up phone call to ensure the journalist received it and to "talk up" the event.
Issue Press Releases
News releases tell the press that an important event is happening. Don't let journalists miss Cooperative Month. You will receive a sample general news release for Co-op Month. In the meantime, you might distribute a news release if a local government body issues a proclamation recognizing cooperatives or Co-op Month. When you issue your news release, make sure to do so early in the day and follow-up with phone calls to key reporters.
Download this sample file, which is drafted for a generic event. Use this format while making your alert as specific as possible.
When issuing Media Alerts or News Releases make sure the distribution list includes:
- Daily Newspaper
- Community or Weekly Newspapers
- Associated Press bureau (nearest one, if one isn't based in your town)
- Trade publications
- Radio station news departments
- Producers or hosts of key radio programs
- Assignment editors of TV affiliates
- Producers or hosts of community TV programs