Step 2 - Write it Down
Once you've carefully thought through your situation, put your plan in writing. An idea that seems good in theory may not hold together when you put it down on paper. Always consult a calendar to be sure your media schedule takes into account events such as holidays, vacations and other pre-scheduled activities, of your allies and related organizations or agencies. Also be aware of the opposition's activities and how they might conflict with yours - or play into your hands.
If other organizations are planning similar events, see if you can work together. It is important to remember that just because your organization doesn't have a conflicting event, there may be other reports, events, or activities planned at the same time.
Start your written plan by working backwards from the day of your event. Be sure to note all external constraints. There's nothing more frustrating than missing a key media outlet because you overlooked a deadline. A written plan will help you avoid such setbacks.
In addition to your calendar, keep a written record of all your contacts with the media during your campaign to help you remember who may be providing coverage and when. It will also remind you of your commitments to make follow-up phone calls or send background information.
A written schedule or calendar may seem too formal for you. But it will help keep you on top of what must be done each day. Writing it down serves as a visible prod to force you to stick to your timetable.
Remember, if you don't make media deadlines, you may be missing an opportunity to further your cause. Worse, you run the risk that your side of the story won't be included - and the opposition's will.
Check out some sample plans:
Or download this printable sample plan. This sample plan is in Acrobat format and you will need an Acrobat Reader which you can download for free from Adobe's website. The sample plan is relatively large (600k) and will take awhile to download if you have a slow dial-up connection.
On to Step 3.