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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.
ANGLES Of INTEREST/UNIQUE SELLING POINTS
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
USE THE LOCAL COMMUNITY RADIO STATION
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.
USE ON-AIR INTERVIEWS
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.
HERE IS A LIST OF COMMUNITY STATIONS ON THE MID NORTH COAST.
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?
A GOOD HEADLINE
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.”
- 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: firstname.lastname@example.org P: 02 6512 345
Tim’s Top Tips Number 4. And Don’t Forget
A PICTURE SAVES A 1000 WORDS
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.
AND DID YOU KNOW?
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.
MAKE YOURSELF AVAILABLE FOR AN INTERVIEW
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.