Working with press and media
The media, embracing newspapers, radio and television, offers a variety of extremely powerful communication methods, each capable of reaching a mass audience.
There are many benefits to working with the press and media.
They can help you:
build public support for your group or project
gain access to new audiences
reach large audiences on a local and national level
publicise what you are doing
attract new supporters and volunteers
Promoting your groups aims, achievements, projects and events through a well planned publicity campaign will ensure you get the best and most relevant media coverage.
For both local and national press there are a few simple guidelines to follow, to ensure your story gets into the media:
familiarise yourself with your local newspapers, radio and/or television channel(s) and the kind of stories they are interested in
build relationships - get to know reporters and photographers who work with the local press. Assess how much prominence they are likely to give to community groups and community activities and what sort of people make up their readership or audience
take the time to find individual journalists who may be interested in your group and find out who is responsible for editing news or features - write to them personally, enclosing a brief synopsis of your story, and follow this up with a phone call and an invitation to visit your project or group
make it easy for journalists to get hold of you - always include your group's contact details in any approaches you make to the media
tell your story from a human interest point of view as it is more likely to be used
if you are running a national campaign tweak your press release for different areas, using local stories to illustrate the campaign will generate more interest from local media
provide pictures – these will help the journalists to tell your story more effectively
Who to contact
Knowing who to contact in the media can be very difficult, but researching newspapers, TV and radio can help you build a media list to keep a record of contacts and the type of stories they cover. All media agencies will have editorial or a press desk that you can send your information to - add these to your media list, including a note of deadlines and ‘lead times’.
A ‘lead time’ is the period between you submitting a story and it actually going out to the public. Some newspapers, radio and TV channels will give you an idea of this to enable you to plan your publicity schedule.
You can also send your press release to the Press Association Scotland and other agencies who offer a syndicated service. There is likely to be a charge for this service.
If the media want to interview you - do some preparation. Make sure you are informed of all relevant facts and details and be clear about the message you want to put across. The interviewer will have decided on what questions they want to ask. Some will give you an idea of these beforehand, but others will not. Try and answer their questions by steering them back to the main points that you want to convey.