In Part one of this series I discussed how you can use the internet to submit news stories to the media. The goal of your news releases is to gain the interest of newspapers, magazines, television and radio stations so that they publish a story about your group. In this article I’ll explore how to set up your organizaton’s website to provide opportunities for publicity.
Press Release Website Referrals
Press releases always contain contact information such as a name, telephone number and address. They should also contain your organization’s website address. So whether you publish your news releases online or send to the local media there is a place to get more information about your cause and events.
A special page or section of pages related to your event will help inform and interest visitors in attending. Provide all of the necessary information online such as dates, sponsorship information, and downloadable forms.
Frequently update these pages during the weeks leading up to your event to build excitement about the event. Is a celebrity attending? Have you added a new band to the concert? Keep your event pages constantly updated with new information and you’ll be more likely to attract publicity for the event.
As new information is published online you can let your supporters and your media contacts know about this new information with email notifications or through your usual email newsletter. (Be sure to follow proper email etiquette when emailing your lists.)
Organizations that have annual events may also want to create an events section of the website. This provides a permanent page to place links to the featured events sections.
One good example of this is the Arthritis Foundation website where in the Events and Programs tab you’ll find information about their annual events such as the Jingle Bell Run and gala events.
In addition to publishing your news stories online with press release databases and sending them to local media outlets you should also publish stories on your organization’s website. For example, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society website has a Press Room section with a variety of news stories.
Every website should have a news section as part of its main navigation. This section should contain either press releases or news stories written in a article style strictly about your organization and its activities. The main news page should contain links to all of your news stories and perhaps a brief 3-5 line summary. Articles should be listed with most recent first.
Publicity is also an ongoing endeavor and information online continues to promote your cause long after an event is over. Leave old news releases online, never delete them just because the event is over. These stories help to inform visitors about your group’s past activities and give them a better understanding of what your group is about. These stories may also become listed in search engines like Google which will be found by web searchers, bringing more traffic to your website.
The internet is increasingly important in getting information out about non profit causes and fundraising events. A website should not only be an online brochure, but a continually updated resource which can provide information to media outlets, donors and the public.