Ready, Set, Pitch: Media Relations Opportunities to Start 2012

The New Year is a season of renewal, and for media relations pros, it is a time to examine outreach plans for the start of the year. Whether it’s commercial real estate, the residential building or financial services industries, 2012 will be a competitive year for those seeking column inches from their favorite reporters.

The general media environment for credit unions will be mostly positive, and unless something unexpected surfaces, the press release most anticipated by reporters will contain details about solid membership gains made during the fourth quarter of 2012. For those credit unions that made substantial membership gains, it will be low-hanging fruit ripe for picking. Credit unions that didn’t log significant gains, meanwhile, can look for other areas of increases, like credit card balance transfers, new account openings or auto loans.

“Because the NCUA usually doesn’t release aggregate data until six-to-eight weeks after the end of the quarter, a credit union could conceivably release its membership data in January and then re-release it, along with an update on the current quarter’s membership activity, when the NCUA releases their [information],” Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA) Director of Public Relations David Bennett said. “It takes some planning and coordination, but if it adds a dimension to a reporter’s story and gets a credit union in the news, mission accomplished.”

According to Bennett, gaining credibility as a preferred reporter resource—both as a credit union institution and a PR pro—can be as simple as making yourself available for color quotes, or as complicated as providing financial data and analysis.

Take advantage of the beginning of the year to schedule visits or “one-on-ones” with beat reporters who cover credit unions, finance and consumer news. In most cases, the informal meeting will be an opportunity to get to know the reporter and find out what he or she will be working on in the coming months. It will also be a time to pitch a few ideas of your own. Inform the reporter that your credit union’s membership appreciation event will be a timely photo opportunity, for example, and that it just so happens to be scheduled around the time the NCUA is set to release Q4-2011 membership data.

Being that preferred resource doesn’t mean you have to know everything about credit unions, either. But you should know where to find just about everything—or know who to ask.

For credit unions in the Northwest, the easiest and most trusted place to turn for accurate credit union data and information is the NWCUA. Trusted by reporters and credit unions, we’re staffed with six professional communicators of varying disciplines ready to assist members with proactive and reactive media relations. If you are working on a story with a reporter and need some additional data or a quote, contact us and we’ll do everything we can to assist.

For media “outreachers” who enjoy the hunt for the information and have the time to do it, consider utilizing a variety of resources from only the most trusted organizations. A few other credit union-specific resources include:

Credit unions have made significant gains in their already established credibility over the past few months. Take advantage of it, and remember that there is an entire community of credit unions rooting for your success. Because it’s easier to collaborate to get press attention than it is to compete for it, have an open dialogue with your fellow credit union communicators. There is strength in numbers. And when two or more credit unions come knocking on a reporter’s door, it’s hard to not listen.


Questions or Concerns? Contact Matt Halvorson, Anthem Editor:

Posted in Around the NW, NCUA, NWCUA.