Tips on using local media to spread the Auxiliary’s message

American Legion Auxiliary members work the mission every day across the country in different ways: ranging from assisting veterans, to park cleanups, to providing scholarships, to local youth. 

Our members excel at helping our nation’s veterans, military, and their families. But many people outside the Auxiliary still don’t know who we are, what we do, and why we matter. Sure, there are newspaper articles published, radio spots utilized, and television newscasts streamed, but not enough compared to all the great work being done. The Auxiliary is making a difference across the country, but many people still don’t know who we are. It’s time to share! 

Benefits of working with media

Sometimes, local media outlets are able to come to your event. But many times, they are strapped for staff and resources and can’t make it to everything going on in your small town or large city. That’s OK! Lucky for you, they often rely on reader/viewer/listener-submitted content to help fill the gaps in coverage. 

Use this opportunity of submitting content to build a relationship with your local media personnel so they turn to you as a resource for veteran-related events and news. They will appreciate you taking the time to send your information and photos so their audience still learns about your unit and/or event, even when the media outlet wasn’t able to send their own crew. 

Be ALA branded 

Always be sure to be branded in ALA attire for photo/video opportunities. Show your pride for the organization! Being branded can include a range of items such as shirts, hats, table banners, car decals, jewelry, and more. Be creative — think outside the box on how you can use branding to advertise the American Legion Auxiliary. Be sure to check out American Legion Flag & Emblem Sales for branded items, which keeps the proceeds within The American Legion Family. 

Being branded will come in handy for visual elements that are necessary to include with media outreach. It will make your story more appealing and more likely to be used. Remember: Space is often limited, whether it’s a print or a TV story, so everyone participating should be decked out in ALA emblems. Only one photo may be used, so you want to make sure that whatever photo it is, the Auxiliary is clearly represented. This goes for video footage as well. 

Adapting to the times 

If events aren’t able to happen in person, you can still work the ALA mission in different and unique ways and still submit that story to media in order to build that brand loyalty as the go-to veterans support organization for information. 

Ideas include making face masks, dropping off groceries for those who aren’t able to leave their homes, volunteering to complete yardwork for seniors, and more. Working the mission is a bit different in times of the COVID-19 pandemic, but you can still let the public know about the Auxiliary and all the positive work we do in our nation’s communities.  

Help is a click away

Did you host a recent event or simply want to share general information about your Auxiliary unit with the media, but you’re not sure what they are looking for? Visit www.ALAforVeterans.org and download the Public Relations Toolkit

Whether you’re trying to obtain media coverage for a big event, announce a special occasion, recruit new volunteers, or promote our cause, it’s important to have the right tools for the job and to know how to use them. The toolkit does just that by providing a wide range of sources, including sample news releases and media alerts. 

This will help you get started working with your local media and develop that relationship so you can get the word out about the American Legion Auxiliary and all that we do.  

This article was originally published in the August 2020 Auxiliary magazine. 

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