You’ve created a newsworthy special event (see Part One of Getting Publicity for Your Special Event). Now you need to tell the media and press about it so they can publicize your event to the rest of the world. The first tool you need to accomplish your task is called a publicity media file.

A publicity media file is a list of people who can provide publicity for your events using broadcast, print, or electronic media.

Broadcast media produces news that you hear and/or see, including:

● Radio

● Television

● Podcasts

● U-tube


Print media creates news articles that you read:

● Newspaper

● Magazines

● Signs and Billboards

● Posters

● Newsletters

● Blogs


Electronic media has multiple options for publicity such as:

● Community calendars

● Social media (Facebook, Twitter etc.)

● E-mail

● Texting

● Blogs

● U-tube


Note that blogs and U-tube videos show up under both broadcast and electronic media. This is a relatively new development as the continuing decline of traditional print media is eclipsed by the rise of electronic media. This shift is easily seen in that most newspapers now have an on-line version as well as a physical version.

Media files are tedious to create and are built over time. The easiest way to begin is to get a media file from someone else. Call you local Chamber of Commerce and ask if they can provide you with their copy. Most Chambers will either e-mail you a list or direct you to an on-line list. This one phone call can save you hours of work. Other places to look for media files are nonprofit organizations. Is there one group you always hear about? Call and ask them for their media file, they must have a good one. Ideally, you want to combine two or three media files from different organizations in your area.

After you have several lists to work from, you will want to combine them to create an easily usable media file for yourself. I personally like Excel spreadsheets. Some people prefer a Word or Google document. People who prefer to do things old school use a 3x5 index card for each contact. The format of your document is important only that it is easy for you to use.

Group the contacts by the type of notification they prefer. For example: Radio stations like Public Service Announcements, Newspapers and Television prefer Press Releases. Most electronic media needs electronic submissions in varying formats. The goal in grouping the contacts is to make it easy for you to send the correct notifications in the least amount of time. Here’s a list of the groups I use:

● Public Service Announcements

            â–ª printed and mailed USPS

            â–ª e-mailed from my e-mail account

            â–ª e-mailed through the contacts web site

● Press Releases

            â–ª printed and mailed USPS

            â–ª e-mailed from my e-mail account

            â–ª e-mailed through the contacts web site

● Special Format Submissions

            â–ª printed and mailed USPS

            â–ª e-mailed from my e-mail account

            â–ª e-mailed through the contacts web site

            â–ª any remaining special formats


For each contact I list (examples are in parenthesis):


            ● Name of the company (For Example: The New York Times)

            ● Type of media (print – newspaper)

            ● Contacts Name (John Smith)

            ● Contacts phone number (the number that goes directly to John Smiths desk)

            ● USPS mailing address (how to get a letter to John Smiths desk)

            ● E-mail (John Smiths business e-mail address)

            ● preferred method of submission (e-mail, USPS mail, or e-mailed through web site)

            ● deadlines for submission (6 weeks prior to the event)

            ● notes


I use the notes section to keep track of special instructions for submitting news, recording publicity that was given for my past events, and suggestions for what I need to do better next time.

Some companies will have more than one place for publicity and more than one contact, such as a newspaper with a community calendar and a column for featured community events. Often newspapers with both electronic and print versions will require individual submissions. I use a separate line for each contact because they will have different submission guideline and methods.

Your publicity media file will constantly be growing and changing. Continue to look for new avenues of publicity in your area. When you find a new contact, add them to your list. Each time you use your media file you will receive notifications of address and personnel changes. Be sure to keep your list updated and accurate to get the most out of your publicity efforts.

Lastly, be generous, if your media file is larger than the file an organization sent you send them a copy of yours. Share your file with other groups and teach them how to use it. Let’s all work together to make our communities better places to live!

Part Three of this series will cover how to submit your event to the media using press releases and public service announcements. If you want more information, I recommend Streetwise Complete Publicity Plans: How to Create Publicity That Will Spark Media Exposure and Excitement. This book is a step by step manual that is easy to understand and covers pretty much everything you need to know about Getting Publicty for Your Special Event.

Have you used publicity media files? Leave a comment to share your stories – we can all use the encouragement.