How to do it in five easy steps
1. Know your media
- Think about which papers, radio stations or TV news channels your learners or potential learners read or watch. These are the ones to target!
- Google their contact details, and call them up. Ask to speak to the news desk about your story, and make sure to get a contact name and email for the journalist you talk to.
2. Know what you want
The media could do lots of different things to help you, so be clear about what you want! Here are some of our ideas:
- They could run an article about an event you’re having.
- You could invite them to come along to an event so they can cover the story.
- You could tell them about a great piece of news, or a great learner’s story and ask them to run it as a story.
3. Build your story
Before you make that phone call or write that press release, think about what your story is and be prepared to ‘sell’ it to the journalist!
- Think about what’s happening, why what you’re doing is so important for the local community, and why you think the journalist should cover it.
- Have all the details of your story clear in your head – including the basics of What, Why, Where, When and How.
- Make sure you’ve got some exciting things to offer the journalist as part of the story. It could be an interview with a VIP or learner or a great photo opportunity.
4. Get writing
The best way to send stories to journalists is in a press release.
- Think of a snappy headline – something that does what it says on the tin but grabs the journalist’s attention!
- Work from the top down. The first few sentences should include the most important bits of your story – Who, What, Why, Where and How!
- Use quotes. A story is much more ‘human’ if it includes real people. You could quote from yourself, a centre manager, or one of your star learners talking about how fab the internet and your centre are! Just make sure you get them to approve their quotes first!
- Include your contact number so the journalist can get hold of you with any questions – and make sure you’re around to answer their call!
- Copy and paste your press release into the body of an email rather than sending it as an attachment. Always spell check before pressing Send!
5. Take a picture
Always get a picture to send off with your press release.
- Make it personal. Avoid boring PR line-ups of VIPs in suits! Journalists are interested in people, so get a shot of people’s faces – smiling at the camera or deep in conversation.
- Make sure you get head and shoulder shots rather than distance shots. Try and keep your background as clear as possible, and the people as big as possible!
- Always include a caption about what’s going on – but check you’ve spelt everyone’s name right.
- Call first to see if they want the picture attached to your email or if they’d rather you sent it to a picture desk.