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Communications and campaigns

Top tips for working with local media

12 tips to help you work with local media.

1. Know what you want to achieve

Understand your audience – decide the best communication route. This is likely to be your local paper or local radio.

2. Making the first call.

Your first contact is likely to be calling a journalist to introduce yourself. Be prepared, you should know the purpose of your call, what you want to achieve and your key messages. Don’t forget statistics if they are relevant.

3. Build relationships

Find out what your local journalists are interested in. Keep in touch on a regular basis. Be Imaginative – offer them a new take on an old subject. Really sell your event and the impact it will have locally. Be loyal – don’t spoil a relationship by going to another rival newspaper with an exclusive.

4. Target all outlets

Phone your local news desk and tell them about your event. Target different outlets such as free community newspapers, residents’ newsletters, hospital or students’ campus radio and TV stations.

5. Recognise success

Recognise your own success or realise that the action you are taking will provide reassurance to your local community. Explain this to your media contacts.

6. Let real people do the talking

Case studies and first person accounts are the most meaningful way to communicate what you are doing. Whenever possible back up your story with real life accounts.

7. Manage and sell your story

For example pick out the key points from a new piece of research. Write a press release around those key points to keep the story focused and accurate. Always follow up a press release with a phone call to the journalist you have sent it to.

8. Use the right language

Be clear and direct when you speak and write. Don’t use jargon or abbreviations. Keep messages short and simple.

9. Use images

Use an image to make your story visual and grab people’s attention.

10. Be persistent

If your positive messages do not get through first time round, don’t be put off – try again.

11. Respect journalist’s deadlines

Journalists are driven by clocks and calendars so find out and don’t miss their deadlines.

12. Make your story interesting

A good story often includes

  • new or unusual information
  • an event that has had an impact
  • a response to a current event
  • presence/statement of a celebrity
  • human interest

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