Title: The Mercifully Brief Real Word Guide to…Attracting the Attention Your Cause Deserves
Author: Joseph Barbato's
Reviewer: Joanne Fritz
Publisher: Emerson & Church Publishers
The Mercifully Brief Real Word Guide to…Attracting the Attention Your Cause Deserves, Joseph Barbato. Emerson & Church, ISBN 1-889102-06-7, $24.95 U.S.
So many nonprofits do a lousy job of publicizing their work. In fact, the news media are a bit leery when a nonprofit calls because they have been buzzed so often with weak story pitches and badly written news releases.
Even if your organization is struggling, and there are so many more important priorities than hiring a good pitch man or woman, there is help in Joseph Barbato's easy-to-read and practical Attracting the Attention Your Cause Deserves.
Barbato has been a journalist and a pitch man for nonprofits. As a consultant, he now works with several prominent nonprofit organizations to help hone their messages and direct them intelligently.
Barbato's book is simple and to the point. No fancy PR language or communications theory here...just quick, practical advice that anyone on your staff, even if they are not trained in PR, can follow.
For example, Barbato provides these tips for an effective pitch to a reporter:
Keep your pitch tight, bright, and to the point.
Make your first sentence count. The reporter may not read the second.
Have your facts straight.
Don't call several reporters at one media outlet to pitch the same story. If your key contact isn't interested, ask who else you might call. If you do pitch another reporter at the same place, let each know you have pitched the other.
Be confident. You're doing a newsperson a favor by offering a story that readers or viewers will want.
Just as important as what you should do with the media, are the things you should'nt do. Here are a few of Barbato's pet peeves:
Don't call a reporter when you know he is on deadline. It will annoy him.
Don't call to ask whether a reporter received your press release. Better to simply pitch your story and while doing so remind him of the release.
Don't tell a reporter he's making a big mistake by not covering your event.
Don't treat a journalist like a good buddy. Never call him to say hi and chat.
Don't make an unnewsworthy announcement because a board member has urged you to do so.
Instead, use the occasion to educate your board member (ever so diplomatically) on the meaning of news and the importance of acting like a professional with the media.
Barbato includes an appendix that contains a sample pitch letter and several useful checklists.
Attracting the Attention Your Cause Deserve is part of Emerson and Church's line of delightfully handy guides called, The Mercifully Brief Real World Guide to.... This guide is only ninety-four pages long plus a short appendix, and the text is surrounded by lots of space for your notes which you will want to make as you read.
Such a light book is perfect for throwing into your bag and reading at the bus stop or on your coffee break. By now you may already have started a collection of these Real World Guides, so make this one your next.