Turn your Association into a Media Powerhouse

Thursday, January 26, 2023 • Washington, D.C.
12:30-4:45 p.m. ET

What have you done for me lately?

That’s the question members often ask of their associations. They appreciate having a strong organization representing their interests, but they are also impatient and demanding. Driving home the value of membership is a daily task for association communicators.

So, what have you done for your members lately?

One way to answer that question is to position your association as the best source of truth for all things in your industry or profession. That means delivering timely news, identifying trends before anyone else, providing insights and analysis, offering thought leadership, and ideally, serving as the ultimate connector for your members.

It means making your members smarter whether they’re at a business breakfast, in a conference room, on a Zoom call or talking with colleagues. It means supplying them with the facts and analyses they need to make important decisions.

How do you deliver on those promises? That’s what this workshop is all about. Join us from 12:30 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. ET on Thursday, January 26, at the historic National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

We designed this workshop specifically for association communicators, who serve a built-in audience with high expectations but must also appeal to prospective members, media and trade press, policymakers and other influencers.

Where does all that happen today? Inside your website newsroom. On social. With email newsletters. Through better media pitching. And, more than anything else, with great content.

In this workshop, Ragan Consulting Group instructors Jim Ylisela, Tom Corfman and Nick Lanyi will show you how to:

  • Organize your communications team into a working newsroom.
  • Align your content with your association’s mission and goals.
  • Be a better reporter on your industry.
  • Break news.
  • Improve how you pitch stories and other content.
  • Transform your online newsroom into a branded content hub.
  • Develop an e-newsletter to deliver your news to subscribers.
  • Revamp your social media strategy to deliver your best content.

SPECIAL OFFER: Register for this workshop and get our complimentary one-page evaluation of your current online content. We’ll give you the high-level version of our full content assessment – just for signing up!

Turn your Association into a Media Powerhouse Certificate

Get Recognized!

Each registration comes with a personalized "Turn your Association into a Media Powerhouse" Certificate of Completion for attending.



Pre-workshop homework!

Once you register, we’ll ask you to send us your three most important topics or story ideas ― those that are top of mind for your association.

12:30 to 12:45 p.m.

Arrive at the National Press Club, meet your colleagues and get comfy. If you haven’t done your homework, you still have time to turn in your topics and story ideas.

12:45 p.m. to 1:45 p.m.
Beyond the Press Release

Associations pump out press releases, just like their corporate brethren. But the value of that effort has declined precipitously, as news organizations lose staff and can no longer cover all the news, even as the volume of content released on the web expands faster than the universe itself. Instead of writing releases and hoping for media coverage, association communicators must go direct to their many audiences, including prospective members, lawmakers and advocacy groups, and the movers and shakers in their industry. We call that Brand Journalism. In our opening session, we’ll take you through the fundamentals of brand journalism and how you can apply these techniques to your organization. We’ll show you how to:

  • Engage in recurring member and marketplace research to tap into the latest trends and member challenges.
  • Turn your communications team into a high-functioning newsroom.
  • Build an editorial process that allows you to gather, deliberate and assign stories while focusing on the most creative way to tell them.
  • Develop an editorial calendar.
  • Focus on the top 5 brand journalism stories: News, Special Access, Human Interest, Data and Opinion.
  • Build your news hub and connect it to social media and your pitching strategy.
1:45 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Interactive Exercise

Working in small groups, take your story ideas and topics and turn them into a content plan: news, features, video, photography, infographics and social media.

2:30 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.
Networking Break
2:45 to 3:30 p.m.
Thought leadership: Op-eds, blogs and LinkedIn posts

Associations represent their members’ interests in many ways, and expressing a point of view on the issues of the day is near the top of the list. In this session, we’ll walk you through what makes a good op-ed, personal essay, letter to the editor and LinkedIn post, including how to:

  • Get ahead of the curve by identifying newsworthy topics that are time-sensitive.
  • Organize your opinion piece.
  • Work with your leaders and subject matter experts to craft opinion pieces.
  • Pitch an op-ed to relevant news and trade media.
  • Establish a regular cadence for your leaders publishing on LinkedIn.

Exercise: Everyone needs to walk out of this workshop with at least one thought leadership idea and a good start on how to execute it. Take a few minutes to jot down your ideas and be ready to discuss!

3:30 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.
What makes a good pitch?
  • Shifting the message: It’s not about you; it’s about news
  • The 6 best pitching categories
  • The elements of a good pitch: content, headlines, timeliness, expertise
  • Pitching paths: direct, e-newsletter, social media

Working in teams, you’ll craft pitches based on the morning’s discussion and tips and techniques offered. Each team will:

  • Choose a story idea for the group
  • Brainstorm the story approach and angle
  • Choose format(s)
  • Write a headline and teaser
  • Craft a pitch
4:15 to 4:45 p.m.
Pitch Tank!

This is the communicator’s version of Shark Tank. In this final session, teams will pitch their stories to RCG instructors, who will provide feedback on your pitch and suggestions on how to improve.

4:45 p.m.
Cocktails and conversation

We’re heading around the corner for a drink and further discussion. First round is on us!

Jim Ylisela

Co-Founder and Senior PartnerRCG

Jim Ylisela is co-founder and senior partner of RCG. He is an award-winning veteran Chicago journalist and a former publisher of Ragan.com. He brings more than 30 years of experience in writing, editing, communications research and consulting. Ylisela has designed and organized newsrooms for many companies and organizations, including Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, where he served as a faculty member and co-director of Medill News Service from 1988 to 2001. He works with communicators to create brand journalism news sites, organize and train writers and editors and restore reporting (and creative storytelling) to internal and external communications.

Tom Corfman

Senior Consultant, ESG ExpertRagan Consulting Group

Tom Corfman is a senior consultant with 30+ years of experience in journalism, media relations and the law. He began his career as a civil rights litigator and criminal defense lawyer specializing in white-collar cases. He then became managing editor at The Chicago Reporter, an investigative monthly on race and poverty. Later, he was a reporter and editor at the Chicago Tribune and Crain’s Chicago Business, where he wrote or edited many high-pressure investigative stories on defense contractors, pharmaceutical executives, real estate developers and Medicaid providers. Before joining RCG in 2021, he served for four years as director of communications for Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas.

Nick Lanyi

Media Relations and Crisis Communications ExpertRCG

Nick Lanyi is a media relations and crisis communications expert with RCG. He led the public affairs practice in the Washington, D.C., office of global public relations agency Porter Novelli from 2013 to 2015, and served as managing director at public affairs boutique LMG Inc. Lanyi spent 15 years as an award-winning reporter, financial journalist and freelance writer.

Manuel Roig-Franzia

Reporter & AuthorThe Washington Post

Manuel Roig-Franzia has been a reporter at The Washington Post for 22 years. He roamed the Southeastern United States as the paper’s Miami bureau chief and later traveled throughout Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean as the paper’s Mexico City bureau chief. He’s now based in Washington, DC, where he writes long-form profiles and in-depth investigative and feature articles on a wide-range of topics of national interest for the features section, front page and Sunday magazine. He’s reported on countless momentous events - everything from Hurricane Katrina and the 2010 Port-au-Prince earthquake - to major courtroom sagas. His profile subjects have included significant figures in the arts, including acclaimed novelists E.L. Doctorow and Carlos Ruiz Zafon, and in the dark arts — Roger Stone.

He travels widely in the U.S. and abroad, and has written profiles, features and biographical pieces on a variety of sinners and saints, and on candidates in every presidential campaign since 2004 He’s also a frequent contributor of fiction and non-fiction book reviews. Roig-Franzia is the author of the critically acclaimed biography of Sen. Marco Rubio, “The Rise of Marco Rubio,” published by Simon and Schuster.



Join us for the Turn your Association into a Media Powerhouse workshop.
Early Bird Rates Regular Rates
Registration $749 $849
Ragan Insider Registration $649 $749
Nonprofit Registration $599 $699

Phone registrations and group pricing: For group orders please contact our customer service team at 800-878-5331 or cservice@ragan.com

For questions, please contact customer service at

CService@Ragan.com or by calling 800-878-5331.

Cancellation Policy: Fees are non-refundable. Substitutions will be accepted up to 7 days prior to the event for another virtual event of equal value.




For questions related to event registrations, please contact:
Shallon Blackburn
Customer Service & Sales Manager



Want to become a sponsor? Get in touch with our team to discuss sponsorship opportunities. Let's Partner!



For information on programming and speakers, please contact:
Joyceann Garippa
Director of Content & Programming