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Planning an event that media will cover by Mind Map: Planning an
event that
media will
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Planning an event that media will cover

Historical perspective

Learn from the master: PT Barnum


What is it?

Freakshow, History Channel video


New York Times

Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon





Section Editor

Beat Reporter

Calendar Editor

General news tips


Beat reporter

Assignment Editor


Print, Westword ROCKS!, Weeklies and community newspapers, Magazines, newspapers, professional journals

Web, Your organization's Web site, Other Web news opportunities

What do you want?

Short term PR goals

Attendance or participation?

Ticket sales?

Sales or donations?

Long term goals


Ongoing support, Funding, Votes

Less tangible changes, Behavioral, Attitude

Call to Action

Get out your wallet

Do something




Who are they?



Where are they?

Work?, Large employers, Paycheck envelopes, Fliers/posters, Internal newsletters and Intranet, Event hosting, sponsors, partners, Small employers, Office complexes, Unions, professional associations and other networking, Industry, Professional associations, Special interests, Newsletters, Web sites

Home?, What kind of home?, Apartments, Townhomes/condos, Single family/neighborhoods, Community, Community centers, Posters/Fliers, Event space, Recreation centers, Posters/Fliers, Event hosting, People doing specific activities, Libraries, Posters/Fliers, Event hosting, Bookmarks, People doing specific activities, Quiet, Itellectual, Schools, Parent organizations, Teacher organizations, Backpacks, Newsletters, Print and Web, Cheap advertising, Fliers and mailers, Stories and calendar items, Real estate agents, Regular mailing, Newsletters, Mailing lists, Neighborhood resource, Local businesses, Restaurants, Fliers, Sponsors/partners, Coupons, Stores and service providers, Fliers, Sponsors/partners, Coupons, Local government, Web sites and newsletters, Partners/sponsors, Neighborhood resources

What media do they use?

Traditional, Newspaper, Sponsorship, Calendar, News story, Society or other column, TV, Anchor involvement?, Community Relations or Public Affairs, News, Radio, Live broadcast, DJ mention, News

Alternative, Comcast, Weeklies, Never forget Westword!, Social Media, Facebook/MySpace, Twitter, Meetup, Second Life & other virtual worlds

What do they do?

Hobbies, Art, crafts, Cars, motorcycles, Home improvement, Movies, entertainment

Sports, Kids' soccer, hockey, baseball, etc., Golf, Tennis, Basketball, Pro sports teams, Never underestimate the power of local, Never underestimate local fans, Running or biking

Social activities, Eating out, Movies, Clubs, bars, Dogs, pets, Bowling or whatever!

What is your message?

Be specific!

Identify individual messages, Separate combo messages, Create talking points, Choose words carefully

Know your message exactly!

Pick the right message

Be brief!

Boil it down and make it simple

Consider your audience, Use language that is clear to your audience, Include or avoid jargon, Don't go over their heads, but don't condescend either, Tailor message for different audiences, Keep asking yourself: What's in it for me?, Principles of news and newsworthiness are helpful in understanding audience needs and desires

Be honest with yourself!

Do you believe your message?

Can you promote it?

Can you keep it straight?

Get everyone on board!

Everyone in the organization needs to know the message

Everyone in the organization needs the exact words and talking points

Principles of News (for perspective on information and messages)

What is news?

Traditional criteria still apply

Prominence, Plane crashes involving Kennedy family in Boston are more interesting than plane crashes involving the Andersons in Pocatello, Argue this point all you want. Prominent people become prominent because they are interesting.

Importance, Some things are important and you need to know them., Totally unsexy, but important things: economy, government, infrastructure...

Proximity, Plane crashes in New York are more interesting than plane crashes in Turkey, Think closer to home

Identification, Stuff that you notice because you identify with it, Personality profiles, Features that hit close to home: school kids, families, warm and fuzzy stuff, tug at your heartstrings stuff.

Oddities (Freakshow), Bus Full of Nuns Holding Babies, Blind golfer

Relevance, What's in it for me?, Why should I care?

Plan your strategy

Messages identified

Audience defined

Communication channels chosen

Now what?

What the media wants, Pictures, Sound, Action, Experts, A story that fits into the criteria for news

What does your event offer?, Visuals?, Experts?, Photo ops?, Celebrities?, Human drama, conflict, emotion, freakshow, etc.?, Relevance

Promotional materials, News release or advisory, New node, e-mail, e-mail, e-mail!, Post on your organization's Web site

What not to do, Don't stage anything...ever!, Don't expect media to be on time., If you publicize a scheduled time, stick to it., Don't embellish your offering

Contact lists assembled