By Ken Garfield
What is the best way to tell the story of your church? In other words, how can you get the local newspaper, TV or radio station to run your releases and share your news?
In public relations as in life, it comes down to relationships. Before you send the first news release, the battle has already been won or lost. If you have built a friendship with the editor or reporter based on trust and honesty, your pitch will get a fair hearing.
If you have never taken the time to develop a relationship — or if you have exaggerated the truth or pitched too hard in the past — your church may never get a fair hearing.
As director of communications at Myers Park United Methodist Church, a 5,000-member congregation in Charlotte, N.C. I know how hard it is to get the attention of an overworked writer or broadcaster whose paper or station is probably downsizing. However, I spent a dozen years before that as religion writer/editor at The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer, learning which church communicators I could — and couldn’t — trust.
Having lived on both sides of the street, let me offer 10 practical commandments for sharing your news.
— Garfield is director of communications, Myers Park United Methodist Church, Charlotte, N.C. He is glad to talk about church communications or to consult with church staff. Contact him at (704) 295-4819 or ken-at-mpumc-dot-org.