Published: 28 January 2014

The essential media toolkit

Ryan Hyde. Creative Commons

A journalist contacts you. They’re from a national daily. They’re interested in running a feature on your latest campaign in the weekend edition.

It’s a great opportunity for coverage, but they need photos, background information, case studies, biographies and more to make the piece work - and they’re on deadline, so they need it now.

If you don’t have a ‘media toolkit’ ready to go, you will either be scrabbling around to provide what they need – or they’ll find another story to fill that space in the paper.

You’ll not only miss out on a very valuable opportunity to promote your charity, you’ll also damage your relationship with that journalist, so you’ll miss out on future opportunities as well.

Creating your media toolkit may be an investment in time and effort, but it will make your life much easier as you’ll be able to re-use the content again and again. If your charity has a range of services and campaigns, you’ll probably need to create different content for each one.

What should a media toolkit include?

  1. The history of the charity, including successes and key milestones
  2. Fact sheets about the issues you cover and about each campaign and the events you run
  3. Biographies of key players such as the founders, patrons and CEOs
  4. Case studies of those you help, including success stories
  5. Photos of key players and events to illustrate your services and the issues you cover. As far as possible, these should be professionally shot and not just head shots
  6. Confident spokespeople who are happy to give interviews with journalists, who have been trained to give interesting, engaging interviews which deliver your key messages. This should include the senior team, plus experts in specific fields and some of those who have been helped by the charity
  7. Celebrity supporters who are happy to be interviewed or quoted
  8. A promotional video to showcase what you do, plus some ‘stock shots’

Once this is all in place, it will be far easier to respond quickly to media requests – which will reduce your stress levels and should boost the amount of coverage you receive.

Ann Wright, director, Rough House Media

Ann runs Rough House Media, which provides expert media relations consultancy to the charitable, not for profit and public sector. Its services include strategic media advice, media and presentation training courses, video production and regular public relations support. Ann is a trained journalist who spent 25 years as a print reporter and TV producer, working at the BBC for 14 years.