Credit Union of New Jersey CEO Andy Jaeger

Take your story on tour

‘Internet media tour’ concept makes it easy to bring credit union stories to the media.

May 2, 2023

Your credit union has a story to tell.

Maybe you improved members’ financial well-being or saved a business with a Paycheck Protection Program loan. Perhaps you found a special way to serve military members.

There’s a story there, but how do you share it? How do you get the media to care?

Cooperative Credit Union Association (CCUA) Chief Communications Officer Walter Laskos suggests what he’s calling an “internet media tour.” The concept brings credit union leaders with shareable stories to a desirable setting where they can virtually bring media members in for consecutive one-on-one interviews.

“Essentially, you're going to be the spokesperson,” says Laskos. “We want you to connect with a TV station in Oregon, New York City, and Miami. We're going to put a camera on you and connect with reporters in each of those cities. Each reporter will get 10 minutes in a one-on-one interview.”

CCUA has done it before, joining with the CrossState Credit Union Association in September 2022 to set up a virtual video uplink from Credit Union House and Capitol Hill. That enabled credit union leaders to tape live, one-on-one interviews with several members of the media.

The media members joined the link one after another, giving credit unions free media exposure by delivering a professional live video and audio feed to any reporter with internet connectivity.

Walter Laskos

‘There are some big stories that credit unions could tell.’

Walter Laskos

“It helps journalists conduct an interview from the comfort of their desk,” Laskos says. “The more we can serve up our credit union story on a silver platter to the news media, the more we improve our chances of attracting an editor’s interest and landing the story.”

It starts with a headline-worthy story and a credit union willing to tell it. But Laskos says the key to a successful internet media tour is pitching it to media members: “We have this guy and a senator. They're going to be on camera. You could do a one-on-one interview with them. Here's what the topic is. You can book a 10-minute spot. Here's the link,” Laskos says. “We record the whole bit and you get a copy of the recording. It makes it nice and easy.”

He says the key elements of an internet media tour are:

  • Having a story that impacts the audience.
  • Having the right spokespeople.
  • Crafting the key message.
  • Pitching the news media.
  • Lining up interviews and identifying places to conduct them.

It’s also about having the technology and equipment necessary to provide media members with high-quality audio and video.

“You want to be professional in what that composition is going to be—the resolution of the picture and the sound quality,” Laskos says. “Delivering at a professional level is key for the image that the credit union industry wants to give. I provide the technology. You provide the content, the messaging, the whole bit, and we'll see if we can do it on our own and save a lot of money.”

That leaves it up to credit unions to find a story. Laskos suggests an internet media tour will be successful if the story is impactful, going beyond the opening of new branch or updating members on auto loans.

“It’s important to train and educate the communicators and the marketing people at credit unions about what makes a story,” Laskos says. “There are some big stories that credit unions could tell. A tool like this helps us improve the way we get the message out there to the press.”