Working with a regional health organization recently, I suggested that some printed material that was being prepared was the “same old message that had been used for years”. The Executive Director agreed. But, he said he had to use it for two reasons. Number one was because that’s what the national association wants. Number two was that he thought since the public is accustomed to that message, they will understand it better. This regional association gets no funding from the national one. Therefore reason number-one doesn’t hold water. There is also no basis for reason number-two. When looking to grab the media’s attention, the complete opposite would be true. Journalists are looking for news. News, by it’s very nature, is new information. When something comes across their desk that they have already seen time and time again, it goes to the bottom of the pile – or worse. Both these forms of reasoning are common in non-profit organizations.
If all the other organizations, regarding your cause, are doing something one way, then set yourself apart by having a better idea. Unless, of course, the way they are all doing it is a resounding success.
Stand back and look at your cause objectively. What does the public know about it? What would be news to them? Then, make certain your facts are perfectly accurate.
The information we were preparing, in this case, was not for the media. But all information that is put in the pubic domain has the potential to reach the media. The media is an organization’s best link to the public. The same old message won’t catch the media’s attention. That’s because they know it won’t catch their reader’s attention. The same old news doesn’t sell.