Generally speaking, there are fewer stories competing for coverage in suburban, rural and regional areas so local media outlets often welcome people coming forward with a story or event. However, it is still important for you to be concise and persuasive as you need to convince journalists that your event is a worthwhile story.
Create two to three concise key messages that highlight the purpose of your event and a call to action. Keep your audience in mind and put your message into words they will understand and relate to. Try to bring a human element into your message and don’t forget to focus on the local aspect – local media will be interested in an event which benefits the local community.
Think about what may make your event interesting to the media:
The best way to attain media coverage is to either contact your local media direct and/or send an event alert.
Familiarise yourself with the style of your local newspapers and radio stations and the type of stories they publish or broadcast. This information is invaluable as you develop your story and approach the journalist to sell your story to them. What is the hook that will make the journalist want to tell your story?
Draw up a list of the media outlets you want to target and find the most relevant contact. For example, journalists who focus on community news are more likely to cover your event especially if it involves a large part of the community. You can often find journalist email addresses and phone numbers in the ‘contact us’ section on a newspaper website or at the end of an article.
Keep in mind their editorial deadlines. For example, weekly local newspapers usually work one to two weeks ahead of publication so you will need to provide your information within this timeframe. If you want the media to attend your event, it is a good idea to issue your media alert a week before the event.
Newsrooms are busy, so you may want to follow up your media alert by contacting the journalist within a day or two of sending it. But don’t constantly ring asking if and when they are going to publish your story, as this can become frustrating to the journalist.
Before you contact the media, make sure you have newsworthy information and are well-versed on the topic or issue.
Responding to media enquiries
If you receive a call from the media, it is important to utilise the opportunity to get your key messages across in a short space of time.
Quick tips for responding to the media:
For more information and advice on working with the media please email the APS media team at email@example.com.
The APS media team will be running a campaign across mainstream and social media, including releasing the annual APS Stress and Wellbeing Survey results to the national media during Psychology Week. This generates many media stories for the APS in print, online, radio and TV outlets.