Getting Free Coverage
When new people come into your neighborhood and look for a church, chances are they will do it on the Internet. Make sure they find you. Dig through the internet to find the directories that cover your area by Googling terms like, “church [yourtown],” “community [yourtown],” “resources, [yourtown]” and make sure that you are listed, that your web address and contact information are there and correct, and that you add additional information such as service times or a brief description, whenever possible. See if your outreach programs can have a separate listing, too.
Paid ads in the press and a vibrant web site are important and valuable. So too is a positive story in the local paper about your church and its activities. If you want your local media to pay attention when you believe you have a story that might interest them, or to listen to your side of a story when you are already part of it, it pays to start developing relationships now. This does not mean bombarding journalists with stuff they’ll never use — that will only annoy them. But if you first do a little homework, a gentle approach to those journalists whom you have first identified as likely to be interested (ask yourself what have they written about before) and an offer of help with their stories whenever they need it may begin a relationship that will be valuable later.
And do not forget that the diocesan communications department is available to provide advice on working with the press whenever you need it.