Ask, decide, and take action: Tips for visualizing expanded media engagement

By Michelle Collins, Director of Communication and Discipleship (Florida-Bahamas Synod, ELCA)

Jacqueline Fuller (photo by George Conklin)

In her workshop, Jacqueline Fuller, RCC Board member and host and executive producer of the TV Show “Interfaith Connections” in Washington, D.C., gave participants practical steps for visualizing an expanded media engagement on a limited budget. The purpose of the “Visualizing Your 15 Minutes of Fame” workshop was to strengthen the competency and confidence participants felt when wanting to increase the visibility and connection between their organization and the media.

Participants in the workshop represented a variety of faith communities, from Episcopal to 7th Day Adventist, from Buddhist to Lutheran, as well as some independent communicators and consultants. They began by sharing their goals for the workshop – most identifying a goal having to do with strengthening the connection between their organization and the media and expanding visibility and publicity.

Ms. Fuller began by covering the overview of the Creative Visualization Process (see it, believe it, achieve it). The process of visualizing a desired destination begins with the pre-production phase where content is being created, and extends through the methods used to tell the story or address the roadblocks to broader PR reach.

With this overview, participants were given time to identify four specific goals they had for their organization, being encouraged to articulate those goals in ways that were Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-specific (S.M.A.R.T.). In addition to those four professional goals, participants also identified three personal/professional development goals that might be a result or extension of the professional goals. After some sharing of these goals, Ms. Fuller went on to share three steps to putting these goals into action:

  • ASK additional questions about impact, vision, motivation, and resources related to accomplishing the goal. Questions might include: “Why is it important for the press to tell this story?” Or “What is the result I’m hoping for?” Or “What makes my story stand out?”
  • DECIDE how you will use your vision. Through tools like storyboards or vision boards, an abstract vision begins taking concrete shape and resulting in clarity about where the roadblocks, challenges and opportunities are related to your goal.
  • TAKE ACTION and make your vision a reality by developing a plan, breaking tasks into step-by-step action plans, and expanding relationship networks.

Some concrete suggestions that were made about strengthening relationship with reporters and other media outlets included:

  • Use digital networks like LinkedIn to work on marketing/media outreach
  • Join a media professional organization
  • Use social media platforms to broadcast (Facebook Live or YouTube)
  • Use tools like Google for Nonprofits, Mediabistro, and other free and low-cost resources
  • Train all your employees to become brand advocates/ambassadors

The workshop ended with a discussion of additional resources and tips for expanding communication without expanding the budget.

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