Local media: golden rules
Have a clear message – and keep it simple
Every press story should have one clear message. If you are preparing a press release, this is what should be in your headline and should be prominent in your text and your quotes.
A press release should rarely be more than a few hundred words with around 3-5 sentences of quotes from a named spokesperson.
If you have further detail or background information you feel is important for the journalist to understand, this can often be included as a footnote.
An example of what a press release should look like is available here.
Timing is everything
If you have a local weekly paper that publishes on a Friday, there’s very little point in sending a press release on a Thursday afternoon.
Pay attention to your newspapers publication schedule – and ask the journalist when their print deadline or editorial meetings happen!
The more notice you give a journalist of your story, the more likely it can be presented prominently. If you are running an event don’t wait until the last minute before telling people.
A picture tells a thousand words
Always aim to provide a high quality and visually interesting photo to go with your story.
Sometimes a newspaper will be able to send a photographer to your event – if not, find a staff member or volunteer with a good camera and take your own. Phone cameras are often good enough.
Investing some time in this is worthwhile – good photos can be used again and again.