Have you ever wondered how certain groups or events are always featured in your local newspaper, but others that you know are great causes never are? If you have an event that you want to have featured in your community newspaper to help generate publicity, check out these tips and tricks from professional journalists that will help get your even featured- and possibly on the front page!
Pitch Your Event the Right Way
Pitch your event with a well-written press release that is sent at least six weeks before the even is to happen. This will give any reporter interested time to write the story. When you write a news release for your local paper, remember to make it concise, make sure it is written free of errors, and include a pitch that will get the reader’s attention. If you can get the attention of a reporter or editor with your story, they will know they can take it and make it a compelling story for their readers.
Pitch It to the Right Person
When you pitch your story to someone at the paper, choose wisely. The main editor of a paper may be too busy to read your story, but the Community Page editor is always looking for good community content. You can also pitch it to a young reporter, or a new reporter at the paper. Any new by-lines popping up? Send that person the story. Chances are, they are looking for more connections in the community and stories to sink their teeth into.
Email a Follow-Up
After you have pitched the story, email a follow-up to the person to whom you’ve sent the story. Ask them if they need further information, more photos, or more people to contact for information and quotes. Follow-ups will keep you on their radar and remind them of a great story they can have ready to impress an editor.
Be Inviting to a Reporter
Many reporters want to be out of the office- it’s one reason they love the job! Invite them to show up at the event, or to show up for event preparations, to take pictures, interview people, and get a good angle for the story. Invite them as early as possible and send out friendly reminders. When they arrive at your event, make it easy for them to find you and help them in any way you can to get a good story. The easier you make it on the reporter, the longer they will stay and the more they can focus on writing a compelling story.
Put a Face to Your Story
You need to have a human interest angle to really make this story worthwhile to readers. Is there a local family that has been helped by your fund raising efforts? Have you placed animals with loving families? Show those faces in your story and make people want to read about your event. When you have these human stories, people will remember your event more than just a description on a calendar with a date and time.