Reporters are always looking for sources that can help shape their stories and lend expertise or human perspective to the facts. By developing a list of local spokespersons from your SCORE chapter, you can provide these sources while serving as a valuable resource for your local media and generating awareness of SCORE.
There are two types of people reporters generally want to hear from: subject matter experts and real people or “characters.” What does this mean?
- Subject Matter Experts: Within your local chapter, good subject matter experts include mentors, volunteers and chapter leadership that can speak on particular topics of interest.
- Real People/Characters: These are your SCORE clients – the small business owners in your community who are impacted by real life issues related to entrepreneurship that can share personal experiences that lend color to the story.
To begin developing your list of chapter spokespersons, ask these questions:
1. Who has expertise? Who are the chapter leaders or volunteers that consistently act as credible, articulate thought leaders in their subject area of expertise?
2. Who are your top SCORE advocates? Are there volunteers within your chapter who are passionate about SCORE and spreading the word about the free mentoring and educational resources SCORE offers to America’s small businesses?
3. Who has media or public speaking experience? Look for volunteers who have a background in journalism, public relations, advertising or communications, or that are great public speakers or writers in their careers/for other organizations.
4. What SCORE clients have a compelling story to share? Think of any great local business success stories that have come out of your chapter or clients with a compelling story. How can their unique perspective lend insight into what is in the news?
5. Who’s interested? If you are looking for media spokespeople for your chapter, it doesn’t hurt to just ask! Send an email or create a social media post with an invitation to sign up or learn more.
- EXAMPLE: Are you a SCORE mentor or volunteer with subject matter expertise? Or a SCORE client with a great success story? Join our SCORE (insert your local chapter) spokesperson corps and become a source for reporters! Reach out to (insert your name and contact info) for more information!
6. Once you have developed a solid list of names and contact information, begin outreach to get to know your potential spokesperson candidates. Speak with these volunteers directly to vet them; this will help you gauge who would be a great fit for various opportunities and for different outlets – local newspapers, radio, podcast or TV – depending on their abilities and interest.
7. In addition, anyone that you are adding to the list needs to be responsive and willing to get back to a reporter in a timely manner since most reporters are working on deadlines. A quick response is a great way to build a strong media relationship.
8. Help prepare your spokespersons by checking out our media training resources in the support center, starting with Media Training 101.
Congratulations – you have now curated a strong list of volunteers and clients to speak to the press on behalf of your SCORE chapter. Now you are ready to put it to use! Share the list with your chapter leadership, marketing chair or other key volunteers and begin identifying ways to connect these spokespeople to your local media. Learn more about what makes a good story and how to pitch.
At least once a year, check in and update your contact list of chapter spokespersons to ensure information is current and that these individuals still want to participate in being a spokesperson.
Finally, consider sharing your strong local sources with HQ to serve as national media spokespersons (email firstname.lastname@example.org). We are always looking to expand our national spokesperson list!
Our public relations team (email@example.com) is here to provide additional guidance as needed. Thank you for sharing your chapter’s success and accomplishments!