The media can be a really effective way to get more support for your campaign because it spreads the word to people outside your normal circles!

This guide will help you get your campaign in the press in a way you’re happy with.

It’s also a really effective way to get more support for your campaign because it spreads the word to people outside your normal circles!

This guide will help you get your campaign in the press in a way you’re happy with.

What’s your story?

Before talking to a journalist get your “story” straight — here are some of the important parts of a great story.

Step 1 – Timing is everything
It makes a big difference to show that your petition is important right now. That’s why it’s called “news” – it’s new!

Ideas:

  1. Link your story to something that is being covered on the news right now or an event (for example an anniversary);
  2. Talk about an upcoming deadline or decision in your campaign;
  3. Talk about your success so far: “This petition is taking off! It has been signed 250 times in the last 24 hours.”

Step 2 – Make it local
Explain how your petition is relevant to the local area the reporter covers.

For example, showing the reporter the impact of the problem on the local area and local people or by showing the decision-maker’s ties to the local area.

Step 3 – Tell the campaign story
Reporters are people too — so similar to writing an email, or a fundraiser, explain the problem, and why it’s important to you.

Start by writing out your answers to each of these three steps. Then combine them into a single email you could send to a journalist to talk about your campaign and why they should write about it!

Finding and talking to journalists

Find out who’s writing about the story
Use Google to find out if a local or national newspaper, blog, radio station or TV channel is regularly writing about the issue you’re campaigning on.

If there is — find the name of the journalist who wrote the story. Often the same journalist will write on the same topics — and that’s really important to know!

If there are no obvious articles or journalists talking about your story, find the name and the contact details for the editor or news desk – they’re the front door for any stories that aren’t already published.

Send a quick email
Send a short email to introduce yourself and bring your petition to the attention of the journalist or the editors.

Use the story you’ve written above to create a quick 2-3 paragraph explanation of the campaign, and then include a link to your online petition, Facebook page or website (if you’ve got one).

Keep it informal and friendly – journalists are people too!

Follow-up & be persistent
Journalists are also very busy and have a huge amount of articles to write — you’ve probably heard stories about how many journalists are losing their jobs these days — so just because they don’t respond immediately doesn’t mean anything.

If you haven’t heard back in a few hours, try giving the journalist or the news desk a call — or tweet at them! — to get their attention.

Keep it up until you get a response!

Give a great interview

Journalists often asks for interviews because they help a story ‘come alive’ by explaining the main characters — in this case: you!

The idea of an interview can make people very nervous — but it’s just a conversation where you explain your campaign.

With all the preparation you’ve already done to get your campaign launched, the interview will be easy.

Here’s some advice on how to prepare:

Have no more than three key points
The journalist will only include a few of the things you say in your interview, so it’s important to be clear with yourself about what is really important to tell the world.

Start by writing down your three most important points. Often this is:

  1. The problem you’re trying to fix
  2. What the decision maker can do to fix it
  3. How people can support you to put pressure on the decision maker.

Practice
It sounds silly but you’ll be much more confident talking to a journalist if you’ve run through the conversation before!

Ask a friend to practice interviewing you by pretending to be a journalist. They don’t need to do anything special – just ask about the campaign, why you’re running it, and then whatever they think of.

Mention your petition or website
Even though you’ll be talking to a journalist, your message is actually for the people reading the article — and many of them will want to find out more or support you.

So mention your online petition or website (if you have one) — and you could get a whole lot more support!

OK that’s it! You’ll do great! We’re constantly updating this guide, so please do send us feedback, or stories that work well!

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