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Publishing toolkit - Factsheet 4

How to promote your resource

This fact sheet is designed to assist you to promote your plain language resource.

Who is the intended audience for your resource?

As part of the planning process you will already have thought about who your resource is aimed at. However, the promotion stage is a good time to revisit this.
There may be a number of key audiences. For example, if you are producing a resource on a refugee issue, your audiences might include refugees, government departments, MPs, organisations assisting refugees, migrant groups, pro bono law firms, academics working in the area and community legal centres.
  • Make a list of people and organisations that could be interested in your resource.
  • Prioritise them according to importance.

How will you reach them?

Different audiences require different communication strategies, so you need to identify the best ways to reach them.

Think about how your target audience finds information. For instance, the "influencers" or "information gatherers" may be different in different communities, e.g. in one community the teenagers may pass information on to their parents whereas in another community older adults may be considered more authoritative sources of information.

Consider promoting your resource to organisations that your target audience has regular contact with, e.g. youth centres, mental health services, homeless services. Try to get your information to your target audience at their point of need. For example real estate agents must give all new tenants a copy of the Renting guide.

Local Councils often have community plans which describe the local community, issues facing particular groups within it and strategies to address them. This information may assist you in disseminating your resource.

Promotional channels
  • newsletters and journals
  • radio announcements and newspapers
  • face to face meetings/word of mouth
  • leaflets in community places, e.g. public libraries, neighbourhood centres
  • launches
  • mail / email
  • posters
  • through your website
Your message will need to be adapted to best use each of these channels.

Media relations

One of the most effective ways of reaching your target audiences, influencing policy and practice and adding to public opinion is to make use of the media in a planned way.

By working with the media, you can raise your profile which can help to promote your organisation and its activities. The public profile media coverage provides can establish you as a key source of information on your activity or with your target group, which policymakers may follow up.

The following points are useful to keep in mind when devising a media strategy:
  • Key messages: Ensure your media work carries key messages relating to your overall objectives. These can be altered depending on your audience, e.g. you may have a different message for a community you are targeting — where you are addressing a specific need for information — than you would have for a service provider — where your priority is to bring a specific issue to prominence.
  • Key media: Ensure you target appropriate local, regional, national, ethnic minority media and specialist outlets, e.g. if a resource is specifically about women, some women's media might be interested, or the publications/websites of women's lobbying/activist organisations.
  • The communication methods required: Ensure you consider different approaches, e.g. placing stories with different outlets, creating photo opportunities, drafting news releases and briefing journalists.
  • Resources/planning: Ensure you make the most of your resources. Consider budgets and staff availability, timescales and deadlines, e.g. ensure you have a contact available on a mobile number for media enquiries (including after hours) and issue your media release at the optimum time for your targeted media outlet (this is more important for weekly publications).

A launch

To attract media attention you can have an event to launch your product. Having a noteworthy person to officially launch it can help in getting media attention, particularly in local papers if you invite the mayor, or a local politician. These offices have media staff who may help you with publicising the launch. Or you may be able to identify a prominent person who has expressed a specific interest or empathy with your core activity.

Two things to remember: you need to make your approach with as much notice as possible, and some 'celebrities' charge for services, or at the very least can expect you to pay for travel and/or other out of pocket expenses.

A media launch is an event to attract media — so should be in a suitable location. Most local media are very under resourced and rarely attend launch events unless there is a big local story angle — hence the growing use of 'celebrities' to provide a hook for print or picture coverage. You can help them by issuing a well-written media release with electronic photo attachment for print media and samples of audio products for radio.

You can also attempt to build a relationship with a specific magazine/journal or journalist with an expressed interest. Approach these with plenty of prior notice, especially if it is a monthly or less regular publication.

A few hints
  • Ask if you can promote your resource through internal newsletters
  • Identify relevant media, for example, local, regional, national and ethnic media (radio, TV, print, online)
  • Send out marketing information with other organisational communications
  • If you obtain Cataloguing in publication details from the National Library of Australia your publication will automatically be included in the national bibliographic database. Library suppliers also use this information to source new publications.
  • Send a copy of the resource to journals for review. Contact the Foundation for contact details of relevant journals in your area.

Media releases
  • A media release should preferably be no more than a single page and should answer
    • What
    • Who
    • Where
    • Why
    • When
    • How.
  • Give it a good heading that can attract attention — it could be a rhetorical question, a quote from a report, or a description of the event/activity — but try to limit to two lines (approx. 20 words of large type).
  • Tell what has happened, where, when, who did it (organisation or individual) and include at least one quote. The quote can be from an official spokesperson, or the noteworthy person who launched the activity.

Media alert/Diary Note
  • A week before any launch event or other activity that you are hoping will attract media coverage, you will need to issue a Diary Note to provide advance notice of your activity. Editors can put in the diary for the specific day. A Diary Note needs to tell at quick glance — What, Who, Where, Why, When, How.
  • In the simplest of terms say what is happening, where, at what time and by whom (if someone noteworthy is to launch it). Give contact details — preferably a mobile number that can be reached out of office hours.

The Law and Justice Foundation as a grant partner
  • The Foundation can assist you to
    • identify avenues to reach your target audience
    • draft press releases
    • work with the media
    • promote your resource through our publications
    • compile lists of other relevant publications through which to promote your resource.
  • Please supply a 100–200 word abstract about your project for reproduction in LJF promotional materials, e.g. annual report, website.
  • The Foundation will supply a short acknowledgement paragraph and our logo if you are planning to acknowledge our involvement in any promotional material.