Publicity 101: Pandemic and Beyond – classes set for May 19 & 26

Free webinars to address unprecedented COVID-19 challenges communicators face


Publicity 101: Pandemic and Beyond, a free, one-hour webinar on effective nonprofit publicity strategies will be offered twice – 9 a.m. on May 19, and noon on May 26 – through Momentum Nonprofit Partners.

Momentum, a resource-and-professional-development hub for nonprofits, regularly offers in-person, fee-based publicity classes to its members, but because of unique COVID-19 challenges nonprofits are facing, organizers decided to offer the classes as free webinars. Both sessions are independent, but class instructor Marvin Stockwell said different issues and tactics will likely be discussed.

“I’ll keep the class lean on lecture so there’s plenty of time to answer questions and talk through current challenges people are facing,” said Stockwell, who previously taught the class through the University of Memphis. “In the week between our two sessions, the context of the pandemic will likely change, and being attuned to the current context is so important to communicating effectively.”

The condensed format class will serve as a crash course in how to publicize a nonprofit’s mission and work through the news media, social/digital media, grassroots marketing, effective branding and other tools. While ideal for nonprofits, Stockwell said civic groups, clubs and congregational groups can also benefit.

Participants will learn how to build rapport with journalists, pitch story ideas, book TV and radio interviews and follow through for maximum coverage. In addition to the class instruction and Q&A, participants will receive a starter media database of local journalists, as well as advice on approaching reporters at top-tier national, international and trade media outlets.

“We’re all trying to get the right messages to the right people, and nonprofits are facing unique pressures, Stockwell said. “I’ll cover evergreen publicity tactics people can use anytime, but I wanted to be responsive to what’s on everyone’s mind.”

Currently the director of media relations at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Stockwell said he’ll not only draw on his current experience at St. Jude, but also will draw on his experience at Church Health during Memphis’ Hurricane Katrina response, and from his volunteer experience on various nonprofit boards and committees.

“Church Health provided direct services for people fleeing Katrina, so their mission and fundraising messages aligned with the crisis, but fundraising was harder for nonprofits not involved in direct service to those affected,” Stockwell said. “Everyone wants to help people affected and make their messages relevant if they can, but regardless of your mission, we have a job to do as communicators. We’re all learning so much, so fast, as we pivot and shift priorities, and I look forward to what I’ll learn from our class discussion.”

To sign up or for more information on these classes or other Momentum Nonprofit Partner offerings, visit momentumnonprofitpartners.org.

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