Public Relations

 Frequently, you will get better coverage in a local publication or broadcast by providing a reporter or editor with a story idea, than you will by writing an article yourself.

Use story ideas as part of your overall approach to letting people know that NARFE is in town and what it does.

Story ideas are just that, the basic concept for an article, with enough information to get the reporter going and the names and contact information of people to meet or talk to.

To start the process, sit down and start making a list, or even better, get your fellow chapter members involved and ask some questions, such as:

What is the chapter doing to help federal retirees and their spouses? How can someone receive this service?

How many federal retirees are in the local area? How many NARFE members?

Are the chapter or individual members doing something as a community service?

What is NARFE and why is it important for chapters and members to be active in the local area?

What issues do you see as important for local federal retirees?

Is the NARFE chapter or chapter members involved with other organizations in the community on shared projects or events?

Does one of your members have a unique (for your town) hobby or avocation? Do they provide a special service?

Is there a reporter in town who writes about local organizations? If you were to have an article written by them, how would you present your chapter?

Write the answers down.

Keep it simple.

Ask yourself if, as a reader or listener, you would be interested in reading or hearing about it?

Look at the contact list of the newspaper staff. Do they have someone who works on local community organizations, on senior issues? Stretch your concepts. For example, one local newspaper has sections on the environment, on health, on personal finance, technology, sports, entertainment, science and on politics. Can you come up with story ideas about NARFE, your chapter or your members that would fall in each of those categories? The newspaper also covers special themes during the year related to holidays, seasons, and community activities. Use these themes to start your thinking.

Once you have the general concept developed and have built your list of internal resources and contacts, talk to the reporter or editor in question. Discuss the ideas with them, and be willing to modify them as appropriate. Be ready to work with them on times, people (your experts) and resources.

Be sure to do your homework before the reporter comes out. See what NARFE has to say on the item in question. Make sure the people involved in the story can be available for interviews or photos. Think about where you might have a photograph taken and what your people might be doing.

If a story idea doesn't seem suitable at a particular time, don't give up on it. It might be covered at a later date, as part of a related story, by a different publication, or a different reporter. Or, try a different story idea altogether from your list of ideas.

The story might result in a long or short article, or part of a series. It might be just a photograph with a cutline. But it helps the community to understand who you are and what you do.