Journalists are always on the lookout for inspiring stories so getting the attention of the local press can be a great way to raise awareness of why you’re competing in your event for Breathing Matters and to get more people to donate to your JustGiving page.
How to approach your local press in three easy steps:
Step 1: Identify the media outlets and journalists that are most likely to write about your story.
Before contacting the media, you have to make sure that the message is relevant to the area or issues they write about. Here are some questions that you may want to answer to come up with some news angles that will get the interest of journalists:
○ Is there a local angle to your story?
○ Which journalists have previously written about similar types of stories in the area?
Step 2: Finding the human interest part of the story.
If you read a story in a local newspaper or listen to a news broadcast, you will notice that people are at the centre of every local news story. Journalists love to inspire or motivate their readers with a human interest story that is about people, their concerns or their achievements. Ask yourselves the following questions:
○ Can other local people get involved? Perhaps they can cheer you on at your event or help you with your fundraising by coming along to your event.
○ What is it about your story that stands out?
Tip: include a photo of yourself and your contact details to accompany the release.
Step 3: How to write a press release for local journalists.
Once you have identified your target media and considered your news angle, you are ready to write a press release. Journalists are busy people so a good press release should be concise, be no more than 400 words and contain the following:
○ Headline – a great headline to grab the attention of the journalist is key.
○ First paragraph – journalists will read the first couple of lines of a release to determine whether it’s of interest, so your opening paragraph should contain a concise summary of why you’re running for Breathing Matters.The golden rule of journalism is to include the 5Ws: who, what, where, why and when. Try to imagine you have 5 or 6 seconds to explain your story to a stranger – what would you say and how would you describe it?
○ Subsequent paragraphs – this is where you include the supporting information for the story, but remember to keep it clear and concise and try not to use any unnecessary words – you should aim for one or two paragraphs at most.
○ Quotes – include one or two quotes that provide insight into your motivation for supporting us through your event.
○ Final paragraph – wrap the release up with a brief summary of the details about your JustGiving page – how much are you hoping to raise, etc. and remember to provide your page link so that people know where to make a donation!
○ Contact information – include your contact details so that journalists can get in touch with you.
○ Further information – provide any further information that is relevant to the story here.
Tip: Use powerful and exciting verbs to add energy to your story.
Lastly, have a look at this Justgiving Blog which gives you more tips in writing the article: