Ways to get Media Attention …Tim’s Top Tip

To help you we interviewed Tim Maddren from Got Ya Back Productions in Port Macquarie who through his many theatre and musical productions and performances has extensive experience with all forms of media. We asked Tim for his Top Tips of what to do if he was a local community group wanting to get more people along to dance.

Tim’s Top Tip Number 1. The Best Ways to get the Media’s Attention

Competition for editorial space and Radio/Television air time is very fierce. In order to capture the editor’s interest you should provide a story that is newsworthy, i.e. look for angles of interest to the general public or unique selling points. Where possible, provide a relevant, high quality and captioned photographic image. Make sure you have permission to use the image, from the photographer and anyone in the photo and always acknowledge the photographer.


If you want to share a story, don’t judge it; just share it. Let the media organisation decide if your story is of interest to the general public. If you find you are not getting any interest for your stories, then try getting creative within your own club/organisation. It’s not only great for a media story but it will also prove beneficial for your club.

Here are some ideas to get you started..

  • Perform your dances. Perform for your local nursing homes, perform at the local art gallery, weekend markets.
  • Run unique classes like a Grandparents vs Grandchildren class or a Men’s only class.
  • Align yourself with a prominent charity within the community and raise money for a cause.
  • Organise a dance festival or a dancethon
  • Have a cake competition – who doesn’t like cake?
  • Organise a free night with a guest DJ and sell lots of cake.
  • Music mash up – does rock’n roll music work for your line dancing routine? Does Guy Sebastian’s new single work with your Lindy Hop routine?

Tim’s Top Tip Number 2. Radio & Television

Acquiring Radio/Television airtime and keeping within the budget of most Dance Clubs/Organisations can be tough so use any marketing budget you may have


This is a great alternative and given the similar demographics of community radio listeners’ and dance club attendees throughout the region, it could even target more specifically the people you want to join your club. Community Radio works differently from Commercial Radio in a number of ways, as a general rule community stations will tend to act in the best interests of their community. If you have a story/message that is viewed by your local station to be beneficial to their community, you can be pretty certain they will broadcast it for you.  NOTE: it is worth contacting your local station – the mere existence of your Dance Club within your community will generally be viewed as a Community-Supporting Organisation.


Sponsoring your local community radio station can be an effective way to raise awareness about your Dance Club and support the community. NOTE: Community Radio stations do not advertise – they share sponsorship messages. Each station can only broadcast up to 5 minutes of sponsorship messages per hour. They will also tag each sponsorship message with an acknowledgement of the financial and/or in-kind support received by the sponsor.


If you have a story or message to share, doing it through an on-air interview can be a fun and effective way to share it. Interviews on community stations often tend to be longer than on commercial stations enabling you to share more of your message/story.


  • Align your Dance Club with other sections of the community. This is another way to have greater access to Community Radio.
  • Align with a relevant radio show/presenter at the station. Are you a rock ’n roll club and there is an presenter that plays mostly rock ’n roll on their radio show?
  • Become an active member of the station itself; even become a presenter at the station yourself.


2AIR FM 107.9 – Coffs Harbour – 24 Glenreagh St – General – 6652 1071

2CHY 104.1 – Coffs Harbour – 30 Orlando St – Youth Radio – 6651 1104

2NVR 105.9 – Nambucca Heads – 834 Rodeo Drive Tewinga – General – 6564 7777

2TLP 103.3 – Taree – NGARRALINYI – 182 Victoria St -Indigenous radio – 6551 3131

2WAYFM 103.9 – Port Macquarie – 5 Cameron Street Wauchope – General – 6566 2233

Loving Life FM 103.1 – Grafton – Christian/Country – 6642 5097

Radio Dungog 107.9– Dungog – 12 Brown Street – General – 6652 1071

RHEMA 99.9 – Port Macquarie – 198 Hastings River Drive PM – Christian – 6584 1246

TANK FM (2WETFM) 103.1 – Kempsey – 59 Elbow St West Kempsey – General – 1300 826 536

NOTE: None of the stations list contact persons as the committees of the stations change quite frequently.

It is worth noting that both AIRFM in Coffs and 2WAYFM appear to be the major stations in the region.

List compiled with the assistance of John Shearer (2WAY FM).

Tim’s Top Tip Number 3. What Makes a Good Media Release?


The headline of a media release should summarise the subject matter in a way that is interesting and bold. It is designed to engage the reader and encourage them to keep reading. Be creative and keep it short.


Toes twinkling bright 100 years on!


The lead paragraph follows the headline and it is essential it succinctly conveys the story. Check it includes:

  • WHO did it?
  • WHAT did they do?
  • WHERE did they do it?
  • WHEN did they do it? WHY did they do it?
  • And, of course, HOW did they do it?


John Collins (who), turns 100 (what) next Tuesday (when) and, when he does, he plans to do nothing different. Every Tuesday night Mr Collins takes part in classes at Mid North Dance (where/what) and that’s where he wants to be when he grooves into his second century. John feels this is the most fitting way to celebrate, because be believes he wouldn’t be celebrating at all if it wasn’t for his dance (how).


Following paragraphs expand the subject matter of the lead and it is where you start telling the story with key messages and hard facts. This is the body of the media release and it is critical to prioritise messages from important to the least important.


John is certain attending dance class has been the key to his longevity. “Dance has kept me, strong, social, fit, co-ordinated and above all; happy.”

This wasn’t the case twenty years ago when Mr Collins suffered from depression. He believes this was brought about by a sense of loneliness. After attending his first class at Mid North Dance Mr Collins remembers feeling better about things as soon as the music began. “It’s not just about the dancing, it’s the tea and cake afterwards.” Mr Collins believes the social connections he’s made from dance class have carried on long after the music has stopped.

The principal teacher of Mid North Dance, Ruby Howard assures us “There will be no adjustment to the weekly class next week. Except for an abundance of birthday cake at the class’s conclusion.”

Further Suggestions

  • Write in the third person using active language in short sentences. Short paragraphs also assist the reader to quickly digest the content.
  • Quotes are another important part of writing a media release
  • Remember to attribute quotes to someone because the media are unable to use newsworthy quotes unless they are sourced and often they will not call to check.
  • When writing a quote you don’t necessarily have to capture what someone has said word-for-word, In fact, it’s usually better if you take the spirit of what they would have said if they had the opportunity to write their own quote.


The last paragraph is the least important information and can include background information or a final summary of the essential details about the organisation, activity or person that is the subject of the media release.


Mr Collins wants to share his achievement of reaching 100 years to encourage more seniors into dance.


Remember that media releases need to stay focused on their subject. Sometimes a project will provide opportunities to write a number of media releases highlighting various messages, outcomes or milestones.

Information that is relevant but that you can afford to lose should be very last.

Always finish the release with the following so the reader knows it has finished and does not continue on more pages:


Make sure to include the contact details for the person liaising with the media.


For more information, images or interviews please contact:Mid North Dance Principal, Ruby Howard E: info@midnorthdance.com.au P: 02 6512 345


Tim’s Top Tips Number 4. And Don’t Forget


The HERO IMAGE is the most relevant image to the information you are wanting to share alongside the story.

If you do attach your one HERO IMAGE to the release, make sure the image is more than 1MB – any less and the image could appear grainy or pixilated. But no more than 1.5MB – any more and the image will take too long for the journalist to load.

If your hero image is landscape, attaching a relevant portrait image can be useful as it gives the editor another option of how to format your story in their publication.


When asked to share more information, having a relevant fact available that can be shared will always add weight to your story.


A study by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine showed that dancing correlated with a 76% reduced risk of dementia among its test subjects.

REFERENCE: Verghese J, Lipton R, Katz M, Hall C, Derby C, Kuslansky G, Ambrose A, Sliwinski M, Buschke H. 2003. Leisure Activities and the Risk of Dementia in the Elderly. The New England Journal of Medicine [Internet]. [2003 Jun 19, cited 2015 Apr 1] 348:2508-2516. Available from: http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa022252#t=article.


It is important to respect that journalists are often very busy. However, if it is possible to meet in person with the journalist, do so. Sharing your story face to face always helps with the translation of your story and builds up a relationship with the journalist and the media outlet.

Marketing Basics for Events Organisers

The Language of Marketing

The terms marketing, promotion, advertising and public relations are commonly used as if they are interchangeable – there are however some very basic differences.

Promotion and advertising are, in fact, tools of marketing. They are communication methods for getting messages out to your target audiences.

Public relations relate to activities, usually free, designed and conducted to ensure that a strong positive public image is projected. They are often conducted through the media via media releases, interviews, articles or through hosting sponsor and media representatives at event launches or opening night functions.

Let’s put it another way:

“… the circus is coming to town and you paint a sign saying ‘Circus Coming to the Fairground Saturday’, that’s advertising. If you put the sign on the back of an elephant and walk it into town, that’s promotion. If the elephant walks through the mayor’s flower bed, that’s publicity. And if you get the mayor to laugh about it, that’s public relations. If the town’s citizens go to the circus, you show them the many entertainment booths, explain how much fun they’ll have spending money at the booths, answer their questions and ultimately, they spend a lot at the circus, that’s sales.”

- Attributed: M Booth and Associates, Public Relations Council www.mbooth.com

Know Your Audience

Think about who you would like to attend your event. Identify those who are most likely to come – perhaps those who have attended previous events, special interest groups, people who go to other similar events or attend the event venue for other reasons. This can make it easier to promote the event to them in an appropriate way.

Consider how people get to know about events in the area? What do they read? Where do they shop or socialise? Remember you can’t hope to appeal to and attract everybody.

Marketing Plans

To develop a strategic marketing plan and avoid wasting time, money and energy, it is essential to:

  • Identify who has overall responsibility for marketing and authority for speaking on behalf of the event

  • Determine the available budget

  • Have a strategic marketing plan

  • Include a Digital Marketing strategy within your overall strategic marketing plan

  • Evaluate the marketing plan post event to learn what does or doesn’t work

A community organisation presenting an event will more than likely have a high level strategic business plan, especially if the organisation is in receipt of public funding as it is usually a requirement of the funding body.

Such a plan includes the vision, philosophy and values, goals or objectives of the organisation. It should also include implementation strategies over a defined period designed to achieve the goals.

In turn, a strategic marketing plan should translate the organisation’s goals into marketing goals and identify the strategies by which the marketing goals can be achieved, along with budget allocation, timeframes and the person/s or groups who are responsible for implementing the strategies.

While the nature of the “product” – the arts activity – will vary, there are some basic components of a marketing plan, regardless of the type, size or scope of the activity. The plan will need to clearly identify what many call the “P’s” approach:

  • Product – what you are planning to “sell” and why

  • Price – cost of admission

  • Place – where is it being staged

  • People – the target markets

  • Promotion – how you are going to communicate with your market (see more on Digital Marketing here

Unless you have a clear objective you won’t communicate the right message to the right people in the right way at the right time i.e. you won’t be able to make effective use of marketing and your resources.

Evaluating your Marketing Plan

Evaluation of your marketing plan and its implementation is a valuable learning process.  Gathering evidence before, during and after a project can assist you to make judgments about what happened, which in turn will help you to improve what you are doing both during the process and in planning for what you do next time.

Evaluation takes time and resources and your approach (how formal and detailed or informal and flexible) will depend on the nature of the event. The following questions may assist you in this regard:

  • Will the evaluation be external or in-house?

  • Who will be involved from the organisation?

  • What level of resourcing can be allocated?

  • What level of reporting/measuring/written feedback is required?

  • How will the results be used?

Summary Checklist

Have you:

  • Identified who has overall responsibility for marketing and authority for speaking on behalf of the event?

  • Determined your marketing budget?

  • Identified your target audience?

  • Decided on appropriate promotional tools – costing and free of charge?

  • Prepared a marketing plan?

  • Included a process of evaluation?

Marketing Tools

Once you have identified the target market you need to consider the most appropriate marketing tools to get your message across to them.

The available budget will influence the communication methods selected and the timing and frequency of the implementation you choose to adopt.  As in the example above, some will be one-off and strategic; others will be ongoing, such as your relationship with your regional newspapers.

The most common methods used by the not-for-profit community sector are:

  • Digital & Social Media Marketing

  • Print media and radio advertising

  • Leaflets and posters – (remember to check whether flyer posting is legal in your area)

  • Banners

  • Direct mail

  • Cooperative marketing with other like minded organisations or the event venues

There are usually costs involved with producing publicity materials. Be realistic about what you can afford and closely monitor expenditure. Whilst you may have negotiated sponsorship or contra deals for some of the promotional activity, don’t forget to also look for other opportunities for free advertising and publicity, such as:

  • Event calendars

  • Social Media

  • Community newsletters

  • Media releases/interviews

  • Word of mouth

  • email newsletters

  • web listings

Working with the Media

Competition for editorial space or radio/TV air time is very fierce. In order to capture the editor’s interest you should provide a story that is newsworthy, i.e. look for angles of interest to the general public or unique selling points. Where possible, provide a relevant, high quality and captioned photographic image. Make sure you have permission of the photographer and anyone in the photo to use the image. Always acknowledge the photographer.

Ideally, a media release:

  • should be limited to one page – if the news outlet wants more they will ask;

  • has 1.5 or double-spaced typed copy on one side of A4 headed notepaper identifying the name of the organisation;

  • has short concise paragraphs – think in terms of who, what, where, when, why, how – with facts;

  • sets out information in descending order of importance – if used, the copy may be edited and is usually cut from the bottom up;

  • should provide a contact name, telephone number and date at the end of the release;

  • should attach additional background information, e.g. biographies of performers; and

  • makes sure that any funding is acknowledged. The funding body will provide the correct wording and logos to use.

Remember when preparing written material:

  • be clear, concise and accurate

  • always check the source of all material, and

  • don’t rely on the computer spell-check!

Media contacts

You should develop a list of relevant local media contacts and keep their email addresses in a file where you can make contact with them as a group when you need to.  Where possible get to know key people in the industry and invite them to events or create an event especially for them to brief them about your project. Check deadlines and make sure that your release reaches the journalist or broadcaster in time.

Arts Mid North Coast thanks Artslink Queensland for this information


Marketing Development

The Australia Council has a very good online resource about marketing in on its website at
http://marketdevelopmentskills.australiacouncil.gov.au Although focused on national and international markets the material is still applicable to those who want a good overview of marketing and the Arts. The resource is divided in 7 chapters:

  1. What is market development?
  2. Key elements of a market development plan
  3. Matching product to priority markets
  4. Distribution models
  5. Why this tour?
  6. Pricing and competitor analysis
  7. Final Thoughts

There are slides,vox pops and templates for those who want to get hands-on and interactive with their planning. The material has a performing arts focus, but many of the tips are transferrable to others art forms, such as music, visual arts and literature.

Market Research

Arts Victoria has produced two very good guides to help artists and performers learn more about their markets. Visitor Research Made Easy is a step-by-step guide to visitor research to help museums, galleries and exhibition spaces better understand their visitors. From informal observation to focus groups and questionnaires, the guide explores creative ways to manage this essential marketing activity. It will provide you with the tools to do effective research and then apply your findings in day-to-day marketing and promotion. http://www.arts.vic.gov.au/Research_Resources/Resources/Visitor_Research_Made_Easy

The area of audience research has consistently been nominated by Arts organisations as a priority for support. In response, Arts Victoria initiated a pilot investigation to look at the research needs of seven small-to-medium sized organisations and produce an easy to follow guide. The resulting report and questionnaire formed the basis for Audience Research Made Easy. This is a practical guide demonstrating how performing Arts organisations can carry out cost-effective audience research.

The guide was written to provide arts organisations with guidance and advice on how to conduct effective audience research and better understand their audiences. From informal observation to focus groups and questionnaires, it explores ways to manage this essential marketing activity. The guide covers how to plan an audience research campaign from inception through to analysis and implementation.