• Rain Bennett

The Storytelling Lab - Ep19: Nonprofit Media Relations with Antionette Kerr

Updated: Apr 27, 2020

We’re moving back into the nonprofit world this week with Antionette Kerr, a local nonprofit leader, media correspondent, author, and owner of Bold & Bright publishing company. Rain and Antionette discuss the intricacies of non profit media relations and publishing, how to conduct a successful interview, and tips to make your audience care. We circle back to one of our more popular themes, listening with empathy & allowing others opportunity to share!



Last April, I was scrolling through Facebook and saw an ad for the Create Good Conference - a conference for “nonprofit communicators.”

Coincidentally, I had just started my company, Six Second Stories, that helps nonprofits and purpose-driven companies use emotional short form video storytelling!

Was it coincidence… or just an algorithm?

Either way, it was happening one mile from my house, so I bought tickets immediately.

My goal was simply to go and learn. I wanted to soak in as much information as possible, learn more about the world of nonprofits, study the speakers and their presentations, and, if I was lucky, meet some people that could possibly become clients.

I did learn a lot.

I felt privileged to see the presentations of Michele Moore of the ACLU, Jess Mack of Global Health Corps, and Noah Scalin, the artist behind Skull-A-Day.

But when I walked out of a session for a snack break, I saw a woman set up at a booth selling her book, Modern Media Relations for Nonprofits: Creating an Effective PR Strategy for Today’s World. She was who I connected with most deeply at the conference.

Her name was Antionette Kerr and she had a journalistic background, so she was already a storyteller! I told her what I was up to and her face lit up.

“We should have you on our show when we launch!” she said.

“And I should have you on mine!” I replied.

We talked for a few minutes about how nonprofits could use storytelling better in their strategies and why we were so passionate about helping them learn.

Ultimately, we both love how we can use stories to connect and inspire people to support causes that we care about.

Then, she told me that she was part owner of a publishing company in Charlotte! She mentioned that if I ever thought about writing a book in this arena, she’d be interested in publishing it (“Funny,” I thought out loud, “I just so happen to be writing a book!”).

She laughed.

We stayed in touch after the conference and finally a year later, I got her on the podcast.

We discussed the intricacies of non profit media relations and publishing, how to conduct a successful interview, and tips to make your audience care.

The conversation circled back to one of our more popular themes: listening with empathy & allowing others opportunity to share.

If you’re a nonprofit communicator, this is clearly the episode for you. But anyone who wants to use storytelling and journalistic technique in their PR strategy should listen!

Sidenote: I had another goal at last year’s Create Good Conference. I wanted to make a relationship with the founders, Dawn and Brian Crawford, and hopefully present at the conference in the future.

And guess what?! I will be this year! (Hopefully I’ll see my friend Antionette again).

Some highlights of our conversation:

  • Inclusive (or person-centered) language: how can we be better about using language that makes everyone feel welcome?

  • Putting subtitles on all videos (a good way to start being more inclusive!)

  • The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

  • The “gap” in nonprofit publishing: there are a lot of people that want to publish academic content and a lot of others self publishing (low quality), but what about publishing non-academic content at a high quality?

  • Before publishing think, who am I writing this book for?

  • One of the biggest challenges for nonprofits: journalism

  • How to get messaging across in a short amount of time. TIPS INCLUDE: speaking in sentences, pausing between thoughts, and allowing interviewees to gather their thoughts before answering a question

  • Getting quotes should be about adding a human story, not another statistic -while stats are important, they don’t resonate with the audience as much as human experience

  • Making sure your organization’s media strategy coincides with news media and current events

  • G.R.E.A.T. - Goal Oriented, Responsive, Empowered, Appealing, and Targeted

  • How nonprofits can partner with podcasts

  • How to target your media relations. PRO TIP: do your research

  • How we can be better about setting goals: start with a team of people & set goals together

  • How we can target audiences better: It goes back to goals and requires an inclusive conversation about the goals of your organization

  • Remembering to ask ourselves: Why should we care about this today? And then applying the answer to our media strategy.

  • Making sure your earned (traditional journalism), payed (advertising), and owned (company based) media coordinate

  • Understanding that part of our job, in the nonprofit world, is to show people how to talk about and describe members of our community in more inclusive, heartfelt manner

  • Considering who you’re talking to and their background

  • Allowing others the space and flexibility they need to express their thoughts

  • Focusing the stories you tell on the people you serve. Give your audience “characters” to remember and a reason to care

And, listening!

As Antionette says...

We could probably change the world, if we did a little more of that!

As always, I hope you enjoy the episode!

Peace and Love,



Follow Antionette on twitter @thewritefolks

Read her book Modern Media Relations for Nonprofits: Creating an Effective PR Strategy for Today’s World

For more storytelling tips and tricks,

Follow us on Instagram @sixsecondstories

Visit our website

Hosted by Rain Bennett (@rainbennett | Twitter) (

#podcast #thestorytellinglab #storytelling #valuesfirst


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